Re: RE Diversity
From: Buzz Burrell (72253.2101CompuServe.COM)
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 1996 09:08:58 -0500
Michael O wrote -

>So, Buzz, you want a community composed entirely of men your age who are 
>white (I assume you are not black or any other minority of color) and 
>went through the same expeiriences as you?  The women of your group, >must they
be three to five years younger?  Must the background of your >coho be from
abusive homes or parentally restrictive homes? Must the >religious background be
exclusively southern baptist or roman catholic >to ensure a common dialogue?

Sounds great.  Say guys, how 'bout those Bulls last night;  wasn't The Worm

But seriously, (one's sense of humor is often lost in ASCII communication), my
point was that cohousing groups, at least all that I've seen or heard of, are
stunningly monocultural, and that it is a fantasy mind game to think we should
entice somebody from a different culture into our own little nest.  I would be
more than happy to have that happen, but its largly a mental concept of white
liberals that somehow it "should".  Most of the non-WASP groups I'm aware of,
celebrate diversity by exhalting in their own culture, and not trying to blend
into some conglomeration.  

The question I asked was:  "Why would a black person *want* to join your
community?"  Since you clearly are sensitive to and aware of these issues, I'm
sure you know what I mean.  Your community may be different, and if so please
excuse me, but the joke around here is that "cohousing is a Yuppie retirement

We may think cohousing is open to all, but maybe the people who believe that are
the ones who have little experience of anything but their own culture;  they are
so locked into the mindset of thier own experience, they don't know that other
cultures do things really differently, and have no interest in our scenario.
The whole coho style is very Scandanavian:  Process, By-Laws, Rules, Timelines,
Development;  often resulting in neat little ticky tack houses that all looks
just the same.  When was the last meeting you went to where the Agenda was:
1.Sex, 2.Religion, 3.Ritual, 4.Despair, 5.Death;  the things that really drive
us, but remain lurking in our private minds?  In theory, cohousing can (and
hopefully will) take any form or style that it needs to, but in current
practice, it's Danish - which is a culture with particular characteristics (I
hope people can recognize this). 

Remember what happenned at the last national conference when chanting and
dancing (that was based on multicultural traditions) ended the weekend?  Some
people *really* flipped out.  It was called so many different things by so many
people, it was like 10 different events had somehow been simultaneously
witnessed.   Whatever people thought of it, it was DIVERSITY in action, and some
people really didn't like it.  Those that objected probably also are
pro-diversity in cohousing, so do you see the trap?  I think people's idea of
diversity consists of:  someone of a different race or age that thinks and acts
just like you do.

Regarding my group of "exclusive Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics", my wife
is the only women in our group who is not of Jewish background or current
practice, I've practiced Buddhism for over a decade (don't look on me as a good
example please) and we all enjoy the mix of neo-pagan practices that have come
our way.

<Buzz why don't you tie-dye that white sheet of yours and join us.

Regarding "that white sheet", I was the founder and director of a city wide
project to resettle Asian refugees in Boulder;  I worked almost full time at it
for 1 1/2 years - as a volunteer.  I spent winter before last in India, and and
an earlier summer in Tibet, where I still maintain close friends.  Ending just
last month, I spent 2 months again volunteering to organize a benefit concert
for our resettled immigrants who are raising money to bring their families to
the US.

Your comments to me have been taken to heart, and I very much appreciate and
support where you are coming from.  Sorry if my comments, which I took to be
realism with a bit of sarcasm, were offensive.  I certainly hope your wishes are
fullfilled.  Regarding "join us", I very much look forward to the time when I
might visit your community and enjoy what you have created.  Keep up the good

Buzz Burrell
Paonia, CO

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