dude, where's the color?

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Why is Burning Man so darn full of white people? Considering it's held next to the most diverse state in the country, I was surprised by the lack of color. I'd be interested to know people's opinions/experiences regarding this, whatever your color.

-- anonymous (hairhopper04@yahoo.com), March 25, 2004


man, i think (i've only been the last two years) that one reason (not the only) that its a mostly white thing is well, not that i'd know but it seems that the west(more specifially white people in the west) sorta had like a falling out with well nature and existance.  with all the technology and all, cell phones and shit.  older cultures (third world ones i guess) had like community and we'rent so separated, i mean they WERE separated, but not the way we are. you often find examples of this, karl marx talked about "alientation from work", with respect to "communism," christians and the bible seem to talk about "alienation from god", Richard Wagner was big on "alientation from Nature, (in his huge ass work der ring des nibelungen,) and some bizzare book by a feminist and some dude i saw on a shelf(the book not the dude) talkede about well, MALE alientation from, well, emotion, i guess. they implied that when we're REALLY young, males suffer some kind of wound, a metaphor for which (and all of these) is separation, as if something whole is BROKEN, and from the act of breaking, we gain power, yet we had to lose something to get it, (wotan, a mjor character in THE RING (wagner) forfeits one of his eyes to gain knowledge, yet hew loses some of his sight in the process,).

well what the fuck does this have to do with white people at burningman?!! i think "white people" or westerners, (andi know that there are many races in the west,) white people have really lost this essential connection (i.e, non-separation) to well, to each other, to community, got alot of eh "dis-compassion" goin on? take pornography, t'sall a lot a humpin, no romance, no love. is that REALLY whats supposed to happen? no connection? i think that this "wound" of separation (most prevalent in los angeles, everyones got THEIR OWN CAR, their own EVERYTHING. all alone.  yeah this wound has happened to white people more than a lot of other people. in "western" music, (classical), the audience has been "SEPARATED" fromthe musicians. that aint the case in the so-called "undeveloped nations." in west african music, when refering to how successful their musical performance was, they weill also be reffering just as much to "the social occasion of which it was a part."

African music(and franky jazz and r&b(renamed rock and roll), hip hop, rap, funk, etc all come from african music to varying degrees. in these musics, the audience loves to dance, the music MAKES you move.  enough ranting. dig it? i forgot the point- that since white people have LOST this, we have like a NEED to regain it somehow.  like lost innocence. even if its simulated and temporary or even lame(i love burningman, it aint at all lame,) we have to substitute something for it.  i love the feeling after burningman, it lasts many weeks. perhaps i'm being a romantic racisrt ignorant fuckhead here, but i dont think nearly as many black people have lost this connection to well, their ancestral cultures.  they aint been brainwashed by the system nearly as effectivley and completely as us.  i mean yeah, they been brainwashed, yet many of them seem to continue their "traditions(musically speaking."   i think who ever perpetraed this brainwashing on europeans and european americans just had better success with it blah blah. could be fulla shit though, could indeed. see you at the playa.

-- Mike Robbins (Robbins_in_California@hotmail.com), January 19, 2005.

I don't know who you have talked to but, In 2003 I saw red, blue, green, yellow and purple people.

D-Jay Baker Canada

-- D-Jay Baker (d_jay_baker@hotmail.com), June 23, 2004.

Ah, for chrissake, I'm not big on responding to posts but this is something I've thought a little about.

I think your friend should definitely take a chance and go, if she's so inclined. Once you're out there on the playa, race/ethnicity/skin color become completely irrelevant. When you've gotten used to conversing with a purple fairy princesses on stilts and guys in a kangaroo costumes, drawing lines between races seems silly. The relative lack of people of color at Burning Man is just temporary, probably a combination of the cost and preconceptions like those listed here. Most people of color I have talked to at Burning Man about this find it incredibly liberating (and sort of bizarre) to no longer be a "minority". In the BRC culture, diversity takes on a whole new dimension, and nobody bats an eye at variations in skin color. It's only a matter of time before the racial makeup of the community expands; until then, we need people of color to go out on a limb and go to Burning Man, despite preconceptions that BRC is a racially homogeneous crowd.

-- Ray Smith (theav8tar@hotmail.com), June 16, 2004.

So, Larry is saying that people of color and white people need to have separate communities? Again, I'm surprised that an event that originated in SF, renown for its diversity, is not more inclusive, and views its "community" as being mainly composed of white people, because people of color have their "own", separate, community. That smacks of racism.

I loved the premise of BM, the sense that you can create your own world to some extent, but while there I felt that the world created was missing a big piece that no one was talking about. I have had a friend of color state that she would like to go to BM but would not feel comfortable being at an event composed mainly of white folks. You can argue that that is her own trip, but she should not have to feel that way. I don't think it's just the expense (which can be considerable) that is keeping people of color away.

-- anonymous (hairhopper04@yahoo.com), March 30, 2004.

Larry Harvey (the event's founder) had something interesting to say on this topic. I'm paraphrasing from memory, and I don't remember where i read it:

One of the primary goals of Burningman, he argued, it to provide community. Blacks in America lack for many important things, but community isn't one of them. Whites, on the other hand, are starved for it. We've lost a sense of community, and we don't know how to get it back. Burningman's success is heavily attributable to its ability to scratch that itch.

The argument can be made for the other non-white groups in America as well.

-- Sebbo (sebbo@sebbo.org), March 29, 2004.

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