Re: A very moving portrayal of the diversity element most difficult to include in cohousing
From: Crystal Farmer (
Date: Thu, 1 Dec 2016 10:10:45 -0800 (PST)
Hi David,

Though I represent Charlotte Cohousing, I live in Gaston County which was
used by Five Thirty Eight as a picture of the white working class. It is
certainly possible to connect and build relationships with them, and even
to understand their perspective! I do that just by listening. It may be
hard not to interject and argue about facts, but you even have to realize
they operate from a different set of facts. So you won't get very far if
you have the intention of having a discussion about politics or policy.
Where you will connect is learning about their family, where they work, and
how life has been for them. Do they like their kids' schools? Have they
been laid off again? (We have a local auto plant that goes through the

If you want to talk about cohousing, ask about their neighborhood. Do they
live in a particular part of town that your Realtors avoid showing? Have
you ever been there? But do they like their neighbors, do they feel a sense
of community, and are they happy? I think the answers to those questions
will make you think. For me it has inspired a lot of wondering about
"affordable" housing for people traditionally excluded from the real estate

Crystal Farmer
Charlotte Cohousing Community

Message: 5
Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2016 13:30:48 -0500
From: David Heimann <heimann [at]>
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: [C-L]_ A very moving portrayal of the diversity element most
difficult to include in cohousing
Message-ID: <Pine.SGI.4.61.1611301311310.4390983 [at]>
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed

Hello Everyone,

Recently we've been having a thread about diversity in cohousing
and understanding people not in our own culture. A lot of the discussion
has centered around diversities such as people of color, LGBT, immigrants,
disabled people, etc. However, there is one diversity we in cohousing
haven't mentioned much and whom we ignore at our peril -- white
"working-class" without a college education, especially those in the
Midwest, Appalachia, and the South, and especially men.

Nathaniel Rich has written a book reporting on an extensive study
he has conducted of this group of people. He has not only investigated
them but also has lived among them, gaining incredible understanding. I
read the following article about Rich's work in the New York Review of
and am floored by the haunting picture he draws. Haunting not just for
white rural working-class people (especially men), but also for the rest
of us, considering the way the election and its atmosphere has gone and
what that portends.

>From what Rich describes, it is possible (at least by my mind) to
really understand and connect with them, but gosh is it difficult! It
requires a totally different mind set than I have and that I assume most
on this list have! Do you, dear readers and fellow cohousers, have
thoughts on how best to do so? And especially those on this list who are
white working-class rural folks or have such among your family and close
friends, can you share your perspective? Not only cohousing depends on
bridging this diversity, but the health of country does as well!

Yours in *full* diversity,
David Heimann
Jamaica Plain Cohousing

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