The racial makeup of Burning Man attendees.

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

The racial makeup of Burning Man attendees.

Postby Packoderm » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:21 am

I was considering Burning Man as a social experiment:

The demographics of Sacramento: (from Wikipedia)
* White: 51.1% (Non-Hispanic Whites: 38.4%)
* Black or African American: 14.0%
* Native American: 1.2%
* Asian: 17.5%
* Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 1.2%
* Some other race: 10.0%
* Two or more races: 5.0%
* Hispanic or Latino (of any race): 24.6%

That's pretty diverse with whites under 39%. What would the percentages be for Burning Man attendees? Is it basically homogeneous? Would there be more problems if BM was more diverse? I was at Sequoia National Forest a few weeks ago, and the campers did a very effective job of self-segregation. Would that be the case at BM if it was more diverse? (It seems I'm already assuming things are a certain way.) There seems to be fewer problems that way until things boil to a head.
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Postby Packoderm » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:25 am

viewtopic.php?p=188901

It looks like I already have something to read about it.
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Postby ygmir » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:32 am

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ
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Postby Packoderm » Sun Aug 15, 2010 8:41 am

ygmir wrote:ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ


Does that mean it's been discussed before and there is to be no more said about it? I'm not being snarky. I've already considered how to keep my beer cold and to accept the dust. I just wanted more to think about. I do like reading the earlier thread on the link I posted.

For the record, I'm not trying to push an agenda of calling racism anywhere. One thing I found interesting in the SF Chronicle article is that as opposed to tight knit ethnic groups, whites tend to be isolated (I call it independent) from others that would otherwise be close in their lives. Perhaps this is the pull of Burning Man. I think that is part of the reason I'm going for the first time. Ah heck, perhaps this is too deep for a public forum. Let's get back to how to keep our beer cold.
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Postby Simon of the Playa » Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:25 am

I believe there is a Camp MaryKKK who will be gifting blackface makeup to any who want to participate a la Al Jolson and then proceed to cakewalk to the man.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cakewalk


it may temporarily but fraudulently raise the number of African-Americans on the playa to triple digits.


its a start.
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Postby Simon of the Playa » Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:28 am

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Postby theCryptofishist » Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:30 am

Well, I knew this one would come up again sooner or later.

The frustrating thing about this article is that in the print edition the interview subject suggests that african americans would start attending national parks and the like in much greater numbers if Oprah or Will Smith made a big deal out of camping. Once again, I would like to say that the relative absence of african americans at the event is more a function of self-selection than of any sort of plot to keep them from coming. In many ways, it is a word of mouth phenomena (although much less so than ten years ago) and it simply hasn't made enough inroads into african american communities to sell many tickets there.

Whoops. Wrong article.
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Postby Trishntek » Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:04 am

I always figured everyone was the same color after the first dust storm. Like I would give a shit what color of human bean I'm camping with,,,,,
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Postby C.f.M. » Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:21 am

Trishntek wrote:I always figured everyone was the same color after the first dust storm.


Right?!

The burner scene is notoriously "white."

Heck, one year we had TWO black men, and my BBC* challenged him to wrestle for it. It was hilarious.

Camp MaryKKK who will be gifting blackface makeup

Ha! I might steal that for the Georgia burn. Join forces with Disgraceland for make-overs.

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Postby ygmir » Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:27 am

C.f.M. wrote:
Trishntek wrote:I always figured everyone was the same color after the first dust storm.


Right?!

The burner scene is notoriously "white."

Heck, one year we had TWO black men, and my BBC* challenged him to wrestle for it. It was hilarious.

Camp MaryKKK who will be gifting blackface makeup

Ha! I might steal that for the Georgia burn. Join forces with Disgraceland for make-overs.

*Big Black Cock


isn't that where Ted Danson stays?
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Postby Simon of the Playa » Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:47 am

well, ted DID use to make Whoopee...
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Postby Isotopia » Sun Aug 15, 2010 12:41 pm

Would there be more problems if BM was more diverse? I was at Sequoia National Forest a few weeks ago, and the campers did a very effective job of self-segregation. Would that be the case at BM if it was more diverse?


Your biases are leaking all over the fucking floor in your initial statement. I mean what do you mean to suggest when you use the word 'problems?' Even though you don't say as much I'm getting a strong whiff of stereotyping along with a touch of profiling.

(It seems I'm already assuming things are a certain way.) There seems to be fewer problems that way until things boil to a head.


By what exactly do you mean when you say 'boil to a head?' Racial tension? Animosity? Predatory behavior by the non-white component?

Until you can phrase your questions more neutrally I'm calling bullshit.
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Postby Packoderm » Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:14 pm

Isotopia wrote:
Would there be more problems if BM was more diverse? I was at Sequoia National Forest a few weeks ago, and the campers did a very effective job of self-segregation. Would that be the case at BM if it was more diverse?


Your biases are leaking all over the fucking floor in your initial statement. I mean what do you mean to suggest when you use the word 'problems?' Even though you don't say as much I'm getting a strong whiff of stereotyping along with a touch of profiling.

(It seems I'm already assuming things are a certain way.) There seems to be fewer problems that way until things boil to a head.


By what exactly do you mean when you say 'boil to a head?' Racial tension? Animosity? Predatory behavior by the non-white component?

Until you can phrase your questions more neutrally I'm calling bullshit.


Just go ahead and call it what you want. Why do my questions need to be neutral? Even though I feel I'm quite neutral on the subject, is there a reason I have to project myself as perfect? Anyways, it's probably easier to dismiss something as bull---- than it it to give a meaningful response. That was a bit snarky. Let me rephrase: Just present your honest feelings on the subject (not on me) if that's what you want to do.
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Postby ygmir » Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:23 pm

ygmir wrote:C.f.M. wrote:
Trishntek wrote:
I always figured everyone was the same color after the first dust storm.


Right?!

The burner scene is notoriously "white."

Heck, one year we had TWO black men, and my BBC* challenged him to wrestle for it. It was hilarious.

Camp MaryKKK who will be gifting blackface makeup

Ha! I might steal that for the Georgia burn. Join forces with Disgraceland for make-overs.

*Big Black Cock


isn't that where Ted Danson stays?

Simon of the Playa wrote:well, ted DID use to make Whoopee...


see........that's what I been missin........right there.

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Postby geekster » Sun Aug 15, 2010 4:59 pm

Just gotta keep the "race industry" alive, I suppose. Who the hell cares what the race of people attending are? I mean really. Just exactly what fucking difference does it make and why would anyone care? Seriously.
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Postby Kinetik V » Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:10 pm

The event is on public land. It is advertised by word of mouth and references in the mainstream media. It offers tickets via outlets but mainly online that are open to all. Participation is open to anyone who can pay for the ticket and the gas to haul their stuff out and back. I see no bars to entry for anyone of any particular social class, just an economic hurdle to entry.

In short...I'm trying to figure out why there's any concern about the racial makeup of the event?
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Postby ygmir » Sun Aug 15, 2010 5:19 pm

*noting my first response on this thread*

I'd say, as much as anything, there is always a segment of society, or group of people that loves/needs/wants to feel guilty about something, and, equally to lay guilt on others.........
and, wants someone to feel sorry for............helps their own self image, as though they are "helping the less fortunate".........and thereby aggrandizing themselves.

They typically use "we should do something" or, "they should be helped" and such catch phrases.
And, point at others to solve their dilemma.

Again, I see it more about their egos than anything.
and, their self fulfilling guilt need.

no, no I'm not cynical or opinionated.........
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Postby unjonharley » Sun Aug 15, 2010 7:05 pm

I alway thought A Ms were just smart and didn't go out on the desert and get drunk..
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Postby curiousgnate » Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:48 pm

as a half italian half african america BURNER i find it interesting that there aren't more black people wrapped up in the whole scene. While in the desert i do enjoy it when i see a black person, we usually just look at each other and smile and nod our heads. like we know that this event is great and that we belong on the playa. I don't know why more black people don't go to bm. it would be cool to see more though. i like variety for it is the spice of life.
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Postby bluesbob » Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:23 pm

curiousgnate wrote:as a half italian half african america BURNER i find it interesting that there aren't more black people wrapped up in the whole scene. While in the desert i do enjoy it when i see a black person, we usually just look at each other and smile and nod our heads. like we know that this event is great and that we belong on the playa. I don't know why more black people don't go to bm. it would be cool to see more though. i like variety for it is the spice of life.


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Postby curiousgnate » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:26 am

i round up too. since society at large considers myself black, i'll go with black here, i am definatley not white. black people don't see me as one and neither do white people. so i just consider myself me. i always wanted an afro but one can want as much as they can and it aint gonna happen. eventually i got over it. Italy is cool though i love me some florence. some guy called me out while i was there and 17 years old as a fag, and he was right, and i went back to that spot later away from my school mates, and lets just say i got what i was looking for. anyway i digress. more black people go to bm. i wanna see you enjoying the desert like i do. more more more!
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Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:28 am

curiousngate
I've seen this debate crop up over the years, and I have to say "black people" (and i'll put "white people" in quotes, too, because as you noted, the catagories are sort of not clear) rarely chime in. Good to hear actual experience, rather than just speculation. (and yes, I speculate on the matter, too.)
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Postby Lassen Forge » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:19 am

I (honestly) giggle when this comes up, from a comment a close friend made back in 06 when I asked him why he didn't go to Burning Man... after he said it sounded like a lot of fun...

"Hon, I don't know a black man that's that crazy, to go out into a hundred degree desert dustbowl for a week".

Sorry, had to share that one.
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Postby Ugly Dougly » Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:24 am

Has there been a decent census? It seems to me that there are a lot more Asians attending than Blacks. :?
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Postby Lassen Forge » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:00 am

I really dig the number of people that come from other countries for the burn. We seem to attract a few to our camp... which reminds me, I gotta start boning up on my Russian.

Wish I had the € to do the Italian burn one of these days... and Kiwiburn is also on my "shit, bb, you really should do that" list, too.
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Postby Timezone LaFontaine » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:12 am

From what I can see, the official BRC census only began inquiring about race in very general terms in 2006.

In 2006, people were asked "Do you consider yourself to be a person of color?" with 76% responding no, 9% responding yes, and 8% responding sometimes. The census notes that 7% declined to respond.

In 2007, this was expanded to two questions. First, "Do you consider yourself to be a person of color?" 79% no, 11% yes, and 10% sometimes. Then, "Do you consider yourself to be white?" 72% yes, 16% no, and 12% sometimes.

In 2008, the same pair of questions were asked. "Do you consider yourself to be a person of color?" 79% no, 11% yes, and 10% sometimes. "Do you consider yourself to be white?" 73% yes, 12% no, and 15% sometimes.

The 2009 census hasn't been posted yet.

I'm not a statistician, but to me it looks like there's not much to derive trends from, and the questions are quite general and somewhat inconsistent, but there doesn't appear to be any major change from year to year, and the changes that have occurred would most likely be within the margin of error.

From who all I've seen in BRC, it is mostly white folks although it seems to me there are people of all races represented to some degree. It takes a special kind of crazy to be a burner and that craziness is universal. But there's also a whole spectrum of other factors for people deciding whether or not to attend, much less hearing about it in the first place.
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Postby ygmir » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:40 pm

Bay Bridge Sue wrote:which reminds me, I gotta start boning up on my Russian.

Wish I had the € to do the Italian burn one of these days... and Kiwiburn is also on my "shit, bb, you really should do that" list, too.[/b][/color]


*trying not to explode a joke, not knowing BBS well enough to make sure not to offend........*
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Postby Boijoy » Mon Aug 16, 2010 4:47 pm

Once were covered in playa dust were all the same color anyway.
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Postby bx1 » Thu Aug 19, 2010 6:39 pm

Boijoy wrote:Once were covered in playa dust were all the same color anyway.


I was gonna say... Is this thread about race or color? Cuz I'm usually a member of the human race and everytime I go to the burn I see a lot of sand colored people....

Hrmmm.... Sand people...
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Postby Clar-i-ty » Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:35 am

It's taken me a long time to reply to this. I had to get my head around it.

What it comes down to is that Burners are people I identify with. And it's not because their skin, hair and eyes are like mine, or because they grew up the same way I did. It's because we want to be together. I like to be with people who are creative, and funny, hard core and caring and snarky, and like working hard and doing things well. I like being in a community where half-ass is called out with much reproach. I like that Burning Man culture is a place I belong to because I want to, not because I'm born into it. How often does that happen?

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