A yoga event on Meetup recently sparked controversy on Twitter for welcoming only White women to participate in the group.
Created by criminal profiler Pat Brown, the event called “White Women Yoga Meetup” was scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C. on March 2.
“This MeetUp group is to allow space for White women to gather in the name of yoga, surrounded by the supportive community of White people, White yoga instructors, and all around safe White spaces,” the description for the event reads.
Netizens have called Brown’s event racist, with some questioning Meetup for letting the event be created in the first place, Insider reports.
I thought #yoga was for everyone. Criminal profiler @ProfilerPatB has a @Meetup “for white women to gather in the name of yoga, surrounded by the supportive community of White people, White yoga instructors, and all around safe White spaces.” @fox5dc #meetup @shaunking @NAACPMD pic.twitter.com/YZYMITsXRr
— Chris Chërn (@dcitty) February 13, 2019
— Jason Karstetter (@jkarstetter75) February 16, 2019
— @ (@DCHomos) February 16, 2019
— Amy (@crookedlilhouse) February 16, 2019
Following the controversy, Meetup decided to remove the event from its website for reportedly violating the platform’s policies.
“Meetup takes the integrity and safety of our community very seriously,” a representative from Meetup was quoted as saying. “We expect that every Meetup group follow our Community Guidelines. This group was removed when we determined it did not adhere to these policies.”
In the group organization platform, members are allowed to “create thriving communities” that are based on “shared interests.”
While many of the created groups are generally based on hobbies and activities, some are restricted to specific genders or even racial groups.
Before Brown created the event, she actually questioned Meetup on its policy, asking why she wasn’t welcomed to join groups created for women of color.
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.
I’d like to know why Meetup is allowing this blatant racism which is against policy.
— PAT BROWN (@ProfilerPatB) January 21, 2019
On Twitter, Brown asked Meetup why the site allows “this blatant racism which is against policy.”
In its response, Meetup pointed out that groups are allowed to be created based on connections such as race, noting that Brown find a group for her in the platform.
Brown then responded by asking if creating groups that welcomed only White women to join will be allowed.
According to Brown’s blog post titled “White Women Yoga: Meetup, Racism and the Growing Separatism in the United States of America,” she reached out to Meetup over email after the platform failed to respond to her follow-up tweets.
Brown then shared an email she allegedly received from Meetup informing her that she is indeed allowed to create groups only open to White women.
Meetup reportedly said: “There is nothing wrong with people wanting to meet with other people and create a private space with others who share the same culture or identity.”
“If you feel the need to have a private space to connect with other white folks, you are allowed to do so. Now bear in mind, and this applies to all groups regardless of their identities, within your description we recommend refraining from mentioning who you do not allow. Rather, we recommend focusing on who you do allow.”
The platform then allegedly instructed her not to speak with anyone who might criticize her group.
“Regarding members who complain against you, I highly recommend refraining from engaging them, and instead remove them from your group,” Brown quoted Meetup.
In her post, Brown called Meetup “both the disease and the symptom of what is happening to our country” for promoting “separatism and racism and has been doing so for over a decade.”
She further noted that, as a mother of two biracial children and one black son, she’s concerned about her children’s futures.
“I worry about my children and my grandchildren and my friends, Black and White and Asian and Hispanic, having to choose which group to belong to and who they dare not associate with,” Brown wrote.
“Ramping up racism, refusing to associate with people of a different color, and claiming to need ‘safe spaces’ because even being near a person of another race is emotionally destructive,” she added. “This should not be happening in America.”
In an interview with Insider, Brown revealed that she didn’t really intend to hold the “White Women Yoga Meetup” in the first place and merely wanted to prove a point.
“I never intended to have any events,” she was quoted as saying. “I don’t approve of the group I set up. I only did so to bring forth the racism and separatism promoted by Meetup and some members of our society.”
She further noted that she would “never refuse anyone of any race, religion, or sexual orientation in any real group” that she belonged to.
In criticisms of her being a racist, Brown responded with: “It is interesting how many people call me a racist and stirring up hate when my point is exactly the opposite. Few seem to be upset with Meetup for allowing one-race-only groups and discrimination.”
Featured Image Screenshots From Meetup