Due to the ways past and present racial climates influence culture and economics, NVC events in the U.S. are mostly attended by white people and are “white spaces” by default. While we’re proud of the level of diversity that’s achieved at NLSJ, it has continued to be a majority white space. We recognize that this has had impacts for our participants who identify as People of Color (POC) or as multiracial and for how the Intensive tends to unfold.
Over time we’ve found that as much as any majority group within a community may attempt to make space for the voices of a minority group, whether the majority is made of cis people, white-identified people, middle class people, etc., the baseline of implicit norms within the community will tend to default towards those of the majority. Because of the extent of the disparity that still exists between the lived experiences of different racial groups in the U.S., the simple fact of being in the minority often means that the sense that it is safe to rest into trust in shared reality is fleeting, in question, or non-existent, adding mental and emotional strain as those in the minority navigate social worlds.
We’ve seen that POC majority spaces tend to facilitate trust in shared-reality that has strong positive impacts for learning, healing, and growth for POC participants. And, at the same time, we believe that having a mix of different life experiences and backgrounds at NLSJ contributes to the richness of the learning for everyone
In the context of a majority white country, where POC centered spaces for learning, healing and growth can be scarce and/or siloed away from white-identified people, we want to see if we can create a space that supports the implicit sense of shared reality for POC, while at the same time including white-identified people. The strategy we have come up with for this year’s intensive is to experiment with aiming for a ratio of 60% POC/40% white-identified.
We anticipate that this ratio may facilitate implicit support for POC participants, provide new experiences and perspectives for our white-identified participants, and bring learning to a deeper level for the Intensive as a whole.
On a practical level, this means that up until June 30th we will be accepting registrations for white-identified people up to the point they make up 40% of the total cohort. Any white-identified person whose registration/attendance would take the white presence above 40% will be asked to join a waiting list until a sufficient number of POC register for that person to attend without bringing white-identified participation above 40%. After June 30th we may accept a limited number of white-identified people above the 40% line on a first-come, first-served basis.