Photographed by Erin Yamagata.
Yesterday, xoJane published an essay under its popular It Happened To Me column, titled "There Are No Black People In My Yoga Classes And I'm Suddenly Uncomfortable With It." If you've spent more than 10 minutes on the Internet today, you're probably well aware of this piece and the vitriolic response that ensued.
Believe us. We felt it, too.
In the last 18 hours, dozens of response pieces have been published, calling out the author, Jen Caron — who has done her best to vanish from the Internet, and the publication, which will apparently issue a statement from the assigning editor later today. [Update: managing editor Rebecca Carroll has responded on the site.] All have captured the natural anger that this essay incited, and some have done so with admirable grace and eloquence in a situation where an out-and-out rant would feel equally appropriate. One post we found exceptional was by CeCe Olisa, founder of The Big Girl Blog.
In Olisa's response, she details her own experience in a fitness class dominated by white women, which tells the other side of Caron's story. She concludes, "From where I sit, Jen’s sudden awareness of her whiteness was only a reflection of how hyper aware she was of the big black woman in such close, intimate proximity to her. I mean, it would be
racist weird to say, “OMG! You’re so big and black!” So, instead she says, “OMG! I’m so white and small.” CeCe, while naturally offended by Caron's essay realizes that it's not about her — it's about Caron's crippling ignorance.
Check out the rest of CeCe's excellent post, and let's let that be the beginning of a better conversation. (The Big Girl Blog)