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Burning Man Lacks Racial Diversity
Christian Eede , September 7th, 2015 12:23

Arts and music festival held annually in the Nevadan Black Rock Desert fails to live up to its policy on "racial inclusion"

With this year’s Burning Man having drawn to a close, talk has turned to its lack of racial diversity after a census revealed that 87 per cent of attendees are white, six per cent Asian, six per cent Hispanic, two per cent Native American and only 1.3 per cent black.

Burning Man operates on a set of ten principles and the first of which is “racial inclusion”. These figures suggest that principle is not quite delivering on its promise and having had the census findings put to him, Burning Man founder Larry Harvey told the Guardian: “I think it’s a little much to expect the organisation to solve the problem of racial parity. We do see a fast-increasing influx of Asians, black folks. I actually see black folks out here, unlike some of our liberal critics.”

Not content with just stopping there though, he went on to say: “I don’t think black people like to camp. Remember a group that was enslaved and made to work. Slavishly, you know in the fields. This goes all the way back to the Caribbean scene, when the average life of a slave in the fields was very short. And, so, there’s that background, that agrarian poverty associated with things. Maybe your first move isn’t to go camping. Seriously."

Finally, asked if he would be taking active steps to improve racial diversity at the festival, he said: "We’re not going to set up a Marxist state. We see culture as a self-organising thing. And we’re unwilling to impose and mandate behavior from the outside, we want to generate change from the inside."

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