No Whites Allowed: ‘Healing Retreat' Offers Women of Color a Break From Caucasians

A piece on Vice News Tonight explored the growing industry of travel organizations owned by black people, aimed specifically at giving people of color in the U.S. a break from white people altogether.

The segment goes along with one of these trips — the Women of Color Healing Retreat in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. The retreat specifically bans white people, and is made for black women who need some time and space for themselves.

The retreat has a full itinerary of self-care activities, including yoga, meditation and political education seminars. All the meals consist of wholesome, healthy vegan food, and the women have a chance to relax in the idyllic tropical environment free of racial tension.

The retreat is run by Andrea X, who founded it shortly after losing her job as a healthcare facilitator in 2014. At the time, X left Brooklyn for a vacation in Costa Rica. While there, she decided to gamble her life savings on the idea. She says that, since the election of President Donald Trump, she's seen a noticeable rise in business.

"Every time I have a conversation with [white people], I just pick up on certain things that they say, I pick up on the micro-aggressions, the passive aggressiveness, I pick up on it," she told the reporter from Vice. "So, I decided one day to just eliminate white people from my personal life, and ever since then, my life has been way more breezy."

The interviewer asked X if she felt she'd somehow conceded to white culture by fleeing rather than fighting for space within her home country.

"They didn't push me out of the United States because if that's the case, they could push me out of any of these countries because they are here. They're everywhere, you know? I feel like white people shouldn't even have passports... Especially white Americans. Leave them in the United States, they do not need to come here," she said.

For X, the retreats have little or nothing to do with white people, which is exactly why they're banned. Instead, they're about healing from trauma imposed by systemic racism. When asked how she thought white people could reduce the harm they do to women of color, she had no answers.

"I have no tips for a white person. My tip for white people is to let us have our space, let us have our room, and go hang out with other white people. We're okay, you know? You've done enough damage," she added.

As for the accusation that her all-black retreat represents the same hatred and racism as organizations like the Ku Klux Klan, looking to create a "white nation," X says her program is completely different.

"I would say it doesn't have anything to do with them. This is about us healing our community."

The retreats cost about $2,200, and X is working to buy a facility of her own to expand the programs she can offer.