Re: Cohousing's Diversity Problem - CityLab
From: Tom Smyth (
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2017 15:20:12 -0700 (PDT)
> If brown, black, yellow, and red, are derogatory, why isn’t white?

I'm not sure what you mean here. None of these words are considered
derogatory as far as I know. Acknowledging the concept of race and the
tremendous amount of oppression that is carried out in its name is not
derogatory. In fact, denying the concept of race (post-racial,
colorblindness, etc.) is the problematic act. Even if that's not what you
meant here I've seen it expressed on this list time and time again.

There is broad consensus on this in the social justice movement, and there
is plenty to read online about this. Here are some examples:

I would *love it* if we could move past this debate on this list.

Coming back to the original topic here, I can only imagine that if I were a
person of color interested in cohousing and came to this list to find
people seriously debating whether race is a "thing", I would probably walk
the other way. Not that I can speak for people of color or put myself in
their shoes but based on everything I know about race politics, this kind
of conversation does not look good on us.

Likewise, there are plenty of threads in the list archives at Touchstone
that I imagine might be off-putting for potential POC buyers. So I think a
big part of the answer to cohousing's diversity problem is that we need to
do a bunch of work to educate ourselves about these kinds of things so that
we can move into a more productive discussion about race in our communities
and in our society. Until then I can't say that I blame people of color for
mostly steering clear.

Tom Smyth

Worker-Owner, Sassafras Tech Collective
Specializing in innovative, usable tech for social change · @sassafrastech

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