Re: Sorry if you were offended, here is the point reworded
From: melanie griffin (
Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2010 15:54:33 -0800 (PST)
Thanks for all the personal notes of support. They give me hope for the
future of community, as do most of my interactions with cohousers.  Lyle,
please don't take this as a critical comment on your original post. I was
responding to the string, which went off in a weird direction. I think we
agree that there are extra challenges with housing for people with
disabilities and folks with no or low incomes, and it is a shame when they
are magnified in cohousing insteadof ameliorated by community. It would be
good to spend some energy solving those problems and making cohousing more
available to a diverse population. My point was that we it's not helpful to
equate groups that have some statistical coincidence and assign cause and
effect relationships that categorically exclude them from cohousing as a
principle just because their exclusion is an unfortunate current reality.

On Mon, Jan 25, 2010 at 1:29 PM, Lyle Scheer <wonko [at]> wrote:

> Melanie's message again show's the reverse of the point I've been trying
> to make.  It's an unfortunate mis-representation of what I'm attempting
> to discuss here.
> On 1/23/10 12:41 PM, melanie griffin wrote:
> > poor people are also disproportionately represented in the
> > prisons, but nobody would say that they are less moral than rich people.
> True, but this is again a reversal... one might want to ask the
> question, "for what reasons do poor people end up in prison more
> often."  Endeavoring to ask those questions might find new methods to
> reduce the number of poor people in prison... make things better.
> I agree that minimizing this to "poor people are less moral than rich
> people," doesn't help anything.
> > It's probably more accurate and helpful to name the behaviors that make
> > someone unable to function in community, and inaccurate to say that poor
> > people have more of those behaviors.
> I don't know if I agree with the second half of your sentence.  I think
> that question is still open.  The whole statement that lead up to this
> thread involved someone's assertion of the opposite based upon
> experience.  In the field of science, it is usually observation of
> something that raises a question that science tries to quantify and
> validate or invalidate.  Once that is done, a theory can be created and
> then experimentally validated or invalidated.  This usually leads to new
> discoveries and improvements in how we live.
> I find it somewhat unfortunate that the whole question appears to raise
> up a number of very emotional reactions containing mis-representations
> that seem to have served to shut down the conversation completely.  I
> think that is a dis-service to the conversation and our overall
> understanding of ourselves.
> > The original point, that those who are poor do not
> > have whatever it takes to survive in community
> That was not the point I was trying to make.  I'm sorry you read it that
> way.
> > Finally, i think the real issue is that people who are
> > poor or even middle class can't afford to live in many communities,
> > including many cohousing communities, and that's just a fact. It's not
> > because they have character flaws or mental or physical disabilities.
> You might also say that those who are poor may well be spending more of
> their time trying to survive and thus don't have time to create
> community.  What can a developing community do about that?
> You might also say that those who are poor are less likely to be highly
> educated (NO... I am NOT saying that poor people are dumb), and how do
> you bring the concept and the message of co-housing differently to a
> low-income co-housing group?
> I find these questions much more interesting, but if people keep boiling
> them down to, "he said poor people are dumb.... what an elitist... I'm
> not going to converse with him," you lose the chance to actually start
> distinguishing things that might need be done differently to make
> low-income co-housing more of a reality.  I'm pretty much done with this
> thread, but the previous sentence is a good summary of how I felt about
> what I read initially that made me speak up and attempt to clarify and
> engage.
> - Lyle
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