Re: How Diverse is Co-Housing, Really?
Date: Mon, 3 May 93 14:10 CDT
  Because the members of the group can select who will be allowed in, and
  because in a group that runs by concensus anyone can veto, that guarantees
  that a cohousing community will be diverse only if the people who start it
  value diversity.

My impression of cohousing was not that you can select who will be allowed in,
but more like you can state what values/* you are want in your community, and
it was up to the individual applicants to decide whther this was something that
they were interested in or not.  So maybe I was a bit more worried that about
new people coming in and changing everything around then you are.

Explictly selecting selecting who to include and who to exclude strikes me as
being prone to favoritism, and selfselecting against diversity.

  In fact, someone was asking recently on a local electronic bulletin board
  about David Koresh's compound and whether that didn't qualify as cohousing of
  a sort.  I posted a reply admitting there were certain similarities and
  pointing out the differences (a single person in charge, the collection of
  automatic weapons, etc).

Do weapons make it not qualify as co-housing?  It's interesting to me that you
bring that up.  That was one of the things we were wondering whether we wanted
to ban.  One person has a couple of firearms.  Me being a liberatarian, I
believe in the right to bear arms, even though I've never felt the need to have
one (with a brain, anything can be a weapon).  

But I was definitely uncomfortable with the idea of actually having guns
around.  After wrestling with it for a while, I decided that it's been too long
since I've dealt with guns, and what I have is mostly a fear of the unknown. 
So, I going to reaquaint myself with my friend at a firing range sometime.

The other issue was about safety.  Having the guns displayed in a glass trophy
case, bothered me too.  I think of a gun as a tool, and I don't display my
tools, such as my framing chisels, eveen though they are beautiful.  I'm also
worried about a kid or someone else getting ahold of the weapon.  I decided I'd
feel better if the weapons were locked away out of sight and out of mind, and
that it was not common knowledge were they were, or how they were locked up.
Of course that makes using them in self-defense in an emergency a problem, but
I don't think it will be a real problem.

  Kathryn McCamant gave a talk here a while back in which a question was posed,
  regarding the number of non-white residents of cohousing in the United States
  -- seems there aren't many. McCamant's theory was that (first) cohousing was
  a mainly upper middle class phenomenon and so there were (as yet) relatively
  fewer people of other races in a position to look into it, and (second) that
  cohousing is a way of replacing a feeling of community that other ethnic
  groups in the U.S. don't feel a need to replace, because they never lost it.

Yes, 'lower' class people haven't lost that sense of community as much as the
middle class has.  Also, for the poor and lower class people, the dream and
goal has always been to own your *own* home, your *own* business, have your
*own* family.  Co-Housing comes along and says 'it's nice to share', and
frankly I don't expect people who have not figuratively 'had it all' like the
middle class, to understand, or value the concept of so-housing.  I certainly
don't think low income co-housing will go over big here in the US.


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