Photo by Anna Shvets
While there are lesser instances of overt racism, this doesn’t mean Blacks suffer less from harmful stereotyping and biased behaviors. Black spaces are a safe space for these individuals to exist without prejudice.
When someone enters a room, they’re often met with questioning or curious gazes. People will be wondering who just entered the room, gauging if they’re someone they know.
Does the same situation happen with Blacks?
More often than not, people would be more judgmental toward these individuals. This isn’t to judge this crowd as much as they consciously or unconsciously approach blacks through a stereotypical gaze. However, this unjust treatment is evidenced by the numerous instances of the Blacks being questioned or doubted simply by entering a premise. One reason for this misjudgment typically revolves around individuals looking or acting suspicious when they aren’t doing anything.
Their Burden of Biased Perceptions
People’s perception of Blacks remains unjust. While evident cases of racism have been fortunately reduced, stereotypes and biases still exist. This may mean there are lesser aggressions. But people will continue to judge a Black person, especially in white spaces.
Unlike others, when Black people enter an establishment, they often become subjected to fault-finding gazes. People determine whether these individuals will cause concern or if they have any unusual businesses. When an unknown black person enters a space dominated by white people, stereotypes often precede logical judgment. Most refer to this as an innate reaction, belittling these individuals’ credibility and character.
This estrangement subconsciously creates a burden for the Blacks to overcompensate for something they’re not to blame. They’re forced to perform and win over this credibility. This performance includes looking and acting better, often outside their true identities. They may even produce identifications to shut down others’ unsympathetic judgments.
The Solution? An Increase in Black Spaces
Everyone needs their own space. These are where people can openly be themselves and do the things they love without fear of judgment or harm. People need these spaces to be authentic without their insecurities muzzling or their characters being questioned.
This is especially crucial for Blacks.
With white-dominant spaces putting them in unjust situations and forcing them to act outside their usual routines, this calls for them to have a space of their own. These spaces are referred to as black spaces, where they can gather and be without harmful stereotypes.
By establishing these spaces, black people are protected from possible instances of oppression. Whenever they’re together and feel safe in each other’s presence, they can be healed and reclaim their identities that have been repressed. Black spaces can help these individuals embrace their uniqueness and learn more about themselves. A safe space can foster people’s growth and development, nurturing them into becoming better versions of themselves.
For instance, there are growing numbers of black spaces in architectural projects accounted for in the book Untold Architectural Black History of Tampa Florida. These establishments provide these minorities with homes and cultural events specifically for their group. These buildings offer an excellent means of preserving and improving the Black culture, allowing them to embrace their cultural expressions.
The Need for Black Spaces
Minorities are called minorities for a reason. They’re most likely subjected to white dominance. These put them at risk of getting excluded or estranged, even in areas they’ve grown up in. This is what happens in white spaces, where white people are the ones establishing their privileges. They’re in control of what’s seen as right or wrong, of who can get the upper hand and benefits.
In white spaces, these white people are held as the standard. Their values measure who can speak, how they must speak, and what messages they can discuss. Unless societies proactively dismantle these values, Blacks will always be forced to abide by them and keep their nature hidden. They end up doing roles the white-dominated society tells them to, regardless if it’s in their interest. And as a means of surviving, they extend their means to fit in.
On the other hand, in black spaces, these individuals are free.
They won’t have to tiptoe around in navigation to their surroundings.
They don’t need to compromise and will be accepted as they are.