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Update 1:25pm CT, Feb. 21: Meetup has removed this group. According to a company spokesperson: “Meetup takes the integrity and safety of our community very seriously. We expect that every Meetup group follow our Community Guidelines. This group was removed when we determined it did not adhere to these policies.”
A woman who tried to start a yoga club exclusively for white women, to counter what she calls “racism” on the socializing app Meetup, is facing backlash.
Pat Brown, a criminal profiler and author, set up a fake “White Women Yoga Meetup” group on Meetup, which lets users create activity groups based on shared interests, to shed “light on racism and separatism”—but against white people.
“So, this is where we are in society today and why I formed the White Women Yoga group on Meetup to bring our societal dilemma into the open and hope that we can work to find a solution to the dangerous road our country is headed down,” Brown wrote in a blog post.
Brown doesn’t seem to like the fact that people of color are finally finding their safe spaces through community groups and activities and wrote that she was extremely troubled to see that “so many believe all-POC groups are not only acceptable but necessary in today’s world.”
She also picked up a fight on Twitter with Meetup to address her (very racist) concerns about people of color creating too many safe spaces for themselves through the platform.
This seems to be a way of keeping white people from joining. These are women’s groups, travel groups, photography groups, etc., which should have no need to attach race to joining requirements.— PAT BROWN (@ProfilerPatB) January 21, 2019
I’d like to know why Meetup is allowing this blatant racism which is against policy.
Meetup responded explaining, its purpose: “Meetup is a diverse community and group identities can be centered around gender, race, religion, political affiliations, or language, among many other things.” However, Meetup didn’t go so far to explain why this does not apply to non-marginalized groups like white people.
Meetup fosters communities of people centered on shared interests or common identities. Meetup is a diverse community and group identities can be centered around gender, race, religion, political affiliations, or language, among many other things.— Meetup Support (@meetup_support) January 21, 2019
I think you are totally ignoring the issue which is against your policy and is discrimination. I live in a majority black community and I am being refused admission to a great many meetups due to race.— PAT BROWN (@ProfilerPatB) January 21, 2019
People on Twitter are enraged because Brown keeps missing the point: White people—the majority population, the non-oppressed—do not need their own safe haven. White people groups are simply groups.
It was just a matter of time ... I guess naming things what they always have been is a decent practice ... there are consequences for this level of honesty #weseeyou #whitewomenyoga https://t.co/Dgzs20jzE8— Black Unicorn Magic (@BlkUnicorn70) February 16, 2019
Omfg why are white people like this we are literally the worst fucking people to exist #WhiteWomenYoga just say you’re racist and go— Brandie 🍒🖤 (@itsmegalaxybee) February 18, 2019
When I see a POC meetup I don’t get offended, maybe profile yourself a bit and see where that’s coming from, it’s anomalous. Also, I’m a white woman and I have a VERY hard time believing you can’t find a yoga group, that’s like saying there’s never any pumpkin spice 🤷🏻♀️— AerysLayne (@SatoOrganics) February 17, 2019
This #WhiteWomenYoga thing is... How do I put it.— ｌｅｓｌｅｙ (@lumi_1004) February 18, 2019
You have everything already. If someone is rejecting you from something, it's probably because you ALREADY HAVE a million things that others can't join.
Just saw that "white women yoga" article mess and hey, fellow white people? I have a suggestion. Let's all, collectively, stop being like this. Maybe take at least a 100-year break from telling people of color how to behave. Like, as a group.— Louisa 🌈👭 (@LouisatheLast) February 18, 2019
Brown’s blatant racism just adds salt to the wounds left by the appropriation of yoga by white women—you know, like when Gwyneth Paltrow claimed she “popularized” it.
Brown’s “fake” event was scheduled for March 2, for which seven people had RSVPed.
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque