challenge encourages black people to ‘hold their space’ & not move out of white people’s way
By Erin White
July 19, 2018
Chances are if you’re a black or brown person who regularly crosses paths with white people in white-dominated spaces you’re familiar with the phenomenon of feeling like you’re the one in the way when sharing sidewalks and grocery store aisles with them. Maybe this sounds paranoid to some. Sure, every white person is consciously calculating how they can assert their dominance over other groups by “manspreading” whiteness. No, it’s more so the unconscious entitlement to space that white people feel that allows them to brazenly and inconsiderately dominate public spaces with their bodies because why shouldn’t they?! The Hold Your Space challenge, however, is empowering POC to stand their ground and hold their space by not moving out of white people’s way! A concept that many POC already acknowledges, writer Hannah Drake recently wrote a powerful blog entry challenging others to follow her lead and reclaim the public space black and brown bodies are entitled to.
“I made a conscious decision as a Black woman to hold my space. I was not going to cede my space to a White person because that is what was expected of me[…] I am talking about Black people, particularly Black women and People of Color being cognizant of how they navigate throughout spaces making accommodations for White people and White people having an expectation that Black people or People of Color must navigate their bodies to allow White people access in spaces. This is more than someone being rude; this is about White people feeling as if Black bodies should accommodate them in spaces and if we do not, it is seen as the Black person being rude, unpleasant and intimidating.”
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