Re: do you really value diversity?
From: Chris Poch (
Date: Wed, 16 Nov 2016 06:59:23 -0800 (PST)
I think Eris hits on an important point that I have wanted to write
something about given the events of the past week, but she has said it
better than I could.

Many of the problems cohousing addresses are problems common to all people,
so the concept should translate across the political spectrum. If we can't
tell the cohousing story in a way that is appealing to most types of
people, we have failed to make our audience as broad as it could be and
miss out on making cohousing into something bigger than it currently is.
There are many aspects of cohousing that explained correctly should be
equally exciting to the most liberal and the most conservative members of
our society. Maybe different things about cohousing excite different
people, but that's already true - people choose cohousing for different
reasons. Maybe we won't all live in the same community, but even if one
particular community leans right or left, there should be room for other
communities leaning in the other direction.

Remember that any time someone tries to divide people with a wedge issue or
a black and white label, they're doing it for their benefit, not yours. The
reality is that we have more in common than we frequently realize and most
issues aren't black or white. The more we know people who are different
from us, whether it's politically, racially, or economically, the more we
can appreciate the unique challenges and perspective that they have. The
whole decision making process behind cohousing is about giving everyone in
the community a voice. Yes, it might be harder to come to consensus about
some things the more diverse our community is, but many of the big labels
don't even accurately describe the things that are most contentious on the
hyper local level of cohousing - things like pet policies or paint colors.

The most rewarding communities I've ever been part of had real diversity -
and they challenged me to think bigger, question my ideas, and understand
where the other side is coming from, even if you continue to disagree. Many
people's views are also more nuanced than we realize. We have too many echo
chambers already - what good does shouting into one accomplish? I'd rather
be stretched and challenged by a diversity of ideas!

I challenge us all to value diversity more in all of its different forms!

On Wed, Nov 16, 2016 at 9:04 AM Eris Weaver <eris [at]> wrote:

> In my seventeen years of cohousing - as a resident, facilitator,
> trainer,
> and consultant - one of the paradoxes I see over and over in CohoLand is
> the
> tension between desiring diversity yet wanting to live with like-minded
> folks. We kinda can't have it both ways...if you claim to value
> diversity, you need to include political and ideological diversity as
> well. (While cohousers do seem to skew
> left politically, I am quite sure there are not only some Republicans
> but
> possibly Trump supporters among us.)
> I am very aware of how frequently someone will say something along the
> lines of "I think we all agree that..."  and all I can think of is that
> if there IS
> someone in the room who does NOT share that belief, the message they
> receive
> is "you don't belong here" and someone less assertive than I might just
> keep
> their mouth shut and NOT share their diverse point of view. I try to
> eliminate that sort of phrase from my speech, ESPECIALLY when I am up in
> the
> front of the room with the resulting extra power & influence that gives
> me.
> I guess I'm asking for all of us to just be aware that not everyone in
> cohousing thinks the same...
> ********************************
> Eris Weaver
> Founding member, FrogSong Cohousing in Cotati, CA
> Graphic Facilitator & Group Process Consultant
> _________________________________________________________________
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