The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
    Danny Cardwell's picture

    Blacks Only?

    The only space we can truly make Black-only is the space between our ears and that’s much more difficult than segregating an auditorium for a few hours.

    The absence of White bodies doesn’t make a space Black-only. People of color have been consciously and unconsciously conditioned to see themselves as less than. Physically separating oneself from White bodies does nothing to deal with the psychological damage that comes from being inculcated with the myth of white supremacy. In every Black-only setting lives the remnants of an ideology that formed the desire to meet outside of the White gaze.

    This paradox is often overlooked. I’m not going to attempt to solve a problem this complex in a few short paragraphs, but we need to look at this issue from multiple angles. Black people seeking to create spaces where our thoughts and feelings are a priority harms no one, yet this enrages White conservatives, isolates White liberals and progressives, and hurts Black integrationists irrespective of their political leanings.

    Many conservatives see Black-only spaces as a sign of racial hostility, but de facto Black-only spaces have existed since slavery. Slaves would steal away in the night to fellowship without scrutiny or violence. Today Black-only spaces are the result of choices rather than a historical necessity. The desire to decenter whiteness from discussions affecting people of color isn’t the same as government policies designed to limit access to opportunity...


    Good morning, afternoon, or night. I'm sharing this article I wrote for Faithfully Magazine with my Dagblog family. I understand how spammy this is, but we are trying to make the first year of Faithfully Magazine successful. Dagblog has no advertising revenue based on generating clicks, so I've posted portions of my articles here in an attempt to steer more clicks there. If this is too much I have no problem ending the practice. If you want to follow the link and finish the article and comment here I wil respond. 

    Continue reading at:

    Have a great day!



    Thanks for posting this provocative piece. The black pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention who wanted a clear statement about being against white supremacy and the black women who sent a letter to the DNC criticizing the lack of black people in leadership positions had inner circle meetings before challenging the mostly white leadership of both organizations.

    The matter of separate spaces makes me wonder about the differences between groups forming to preserve an "identity" and those who come together to struggle against an identity that has been forced upon them. Betsy DeVos substituted one kind for the other when she praised all-black colleges as sterling examples of freedom in private education. While her astonishing display of historical ignorance is what systemic racism looks like, the opposite is not as clearly delineated. When you speak of assimilation, is that tactic to be avoided in view of the present environment or contrary to what you hope for in the future?

    Such as great question, moat!

    I'd love to see Danny address it on the specific topic of his posting.

    But even without that, your first sentence is so fantastic, I've never this addressed so succinctly, what I consider to be a major issue worldwide for this globalized 21st century. There are no easy answers for "progressives". You've got the kumbaya contingent that says we should all be one humankind  At the same time, there is passion to keep indigenous cultures and identity alive, to keep them separate and non-assimilated. Or at least carried down to the next generation. Got me thinking of all the ethnic festivals that are held every summer in my hometown of Milwaukee, the purpose of those is between the two views, to keep generations-old immigrant identity alive while inviting "the other" in to share. Tribalism vs. globalism is a main question of the age. And like you say, there is a major difference between practicing the former to heal old pains (let me remove it from the topic of the thread by doing an: i.e.: Jews, Armenians, Native American tribes) as a route on the way to assimilation and a whole 'nother thing when the goal is to return to ancient tribalism and perhaps tribal domination (i.e., ISIS, white racial dominance).

    There's nothing inherently wrong with anyone assimilating to a culture if they are a recent arrival in a land, but there's a unique African American heritage that too often blacks are asked to sacrifice for acceptance in predominantly White Institutions. This is where the kowtowing comes in. I've had to exist in black skin in majority white spaces. I know first-hand that there have been times when it would have benefited me to distance myself from the  masses of black people. Some people seek to separate you as the exception, but they don't realize the violence in that statement or worldview.

    African Americans would be wise to start building Institutions and wealth. It's easier to move through America with power than with a hand out. 

    I'm not a segregationist, but I'm convinced people of color would be better served by building for themselves instead of asking white people for reparations or inclusion into predominantly white spaces.

    Isn't the vast majority of America a predominately white space? Shouldn't non whites automatically be included in all of them? The goal of feminism wasn't to create a separate but equal women's society. It was to force the male dominated or exclusive society to open up and accept women as equals. Why should it be any different for African Americans? I guess I'm not getting your point.

    The separation of race continued in the women's movement. Note that black women had to force their way into the Women's March. Occupy Wall Street never really sought out black people. Van Jones became pa prominent figure in the environmental movement because blacks were left out. There is always a battle for inclusion even in Progressive movements. Even Bernie Sanders continues to hide from communities of color.

    For all of the advancements made be the Civil Rights movement women are still underrepresented in corridors of power. In many respects white women benefited from Affirmative Action more than African-Americans. You make a salient point: non whites should be included in predominately white spaces, but too often that's not the reality. I live in the heart of the Confederacy. We have four banks in our area: one of them has stood continuous for over 200 years. None of these banks have ever hired a black person. Blacks in the Blue Ridge Mountains have often been forced to leave home to have their value appreciated. This isn't just a tale about Virginia; this happens all over.

    I'm not a segregationist. I believe in an inclusive society, but not if it means I have to accept second class status to be included.

    Black people would be wise to create their own opportunities and wealth. I've been in job interviews where it was obvious I wouldn't get the job. There's still de facto segregation going on in America. Women have a certain walk through corporate America, but so do people of color. I'm not dismissing the struggles women have faced, but my wife and sisters have those same struggles. America has treated women horribly, but how many white parents would voluntarily choose to have their white daughters treated like America treats black men?  

    "African Americans would be wise to start building Institutions and wealth." - besides the huge discrimination factor, there's a lot of personal lifestyle and money/career-related issues that go into such a statement - family savings rates, choosing say duller (for some) jobs likecomputers/engineering over more difficult-to-make-money-find-work media, sports, healthcare (when not a doctor or insurance VP), or construction, home planning (had a buddy/partner have 4 kids by 4 girls that he barely saw again, but quite a monthly payment he could have put back into his fairly successful business instead), etc.

    And businesses are hugely about connections, to customers who can pay enough for profitable services - like personal poverty, it's slow moving out of poor services sector, especially where 1st world expenses but 3rd world income and infrastructure and training.

    There was a horrid meme a decade ago almost encouraging single mothers. Which is fine to get out of a relationship that's not working, but as a >50% trend, it's a bad model financially and teaching a variety of life skills.

    As I noted elsewhere, the few blacks I talked to my last few times in the states seem to have a whole new serious 2.0 vibe when talking business ideas - I'm hoping it really is something going on, and that despite the bastards continually trying to keep blacks down, there's a new generation or 2 more equipped to break through that business/wealth barrier (outside entertainment) on a large scale. We'll see - home ownership was once aa good thing too for stability, if not a perfect investment, but we let the banks and realtors turn it into an anchor weight for the poor instead.

    And my career path has been stymied by not looking, acting, speaking like those around under so many settings. After a failed interview with a German company, the HR person rather told me I'd never get a job in German industry - I'd guess me being too American, informal and folksy and friendly, too much multidisciple holistic viewpoint rather than a dry focus on the business tasks, subtleties in appearance that weren't even subtle not long ago, etc. - I'm possibly innately a poor fit for corporate culture despite my long-term interactions. A black person in my position might be tempted to write it off to race, but business is cliqueish beyond just 1 factor. I never fit with the suburban old rich families I hung out with 1 year as well, on so many levels, though I never really wanted to fit in. It's hard to do business and make money if you don't really want to be part of that group. I remember this one salesman going regularly to church because that's where his prospects were - he couldn't care less, but he played his industry.

    The NFL instituted the Rooney Rule because most teams did not have black coaches in their Rolodex. Once black coaches were actually interviewed, they were hired the result has been teams with winning records and Super Bowl championships. Gender has its own limitations to promotion.

    We've discussed discrimination a million times - I prefaced my response with it, but looked at other factors that will be important in the black community(es) trying to gain more parity in wealth. Even if all the police abuse stops, etc. blacks are not going to be wealthy on the whole anytime soon. Just like women are overall worse at negotiating salaries and have some structural reasons why even if they are good at it, they can't push it as far as men. This is changing a little bit, but partly through men helping, official laws kicking into effect, etc., but that's not the same as general awareness correcting it on its own.

    Latest Comments