Re: Cohousing's Diversity Problem - CityLab
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2017 17:42:58 -0700 (PDT)
> On Aug 14, 2017, at 6:19 PM, Tom Smyth <tom [at]> wrote:
>> 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. 

The preference is for Asian American, Native American, etc. “Black” is 
preferred by some but not usually in writing — newspapers, etc. When you fill 
out forms, etc., the only “color” choice is "white.” There have been law suits 
against the Washington Redskins for discriminatory language. The NYTimes would 
never use red, yellow, or black to describe people but I think they do use 

So the analogous name for “white” would be European American or 
Caucasian--originating in the Caucasus. Unless we go way back and consider 
everyone African.

> 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”,

It isn’t an argument about whether it is a thing, but it isn’t the only thing. 
Diversity doesn’t equal skin color. And skin color doesn’t equal diversity.

People of all shades of skin color vary widely in cultural characteristics, 
within skin color groups as well as between.

It is an assumption that everyone from a supposedly white ethnic group is 
diverse from everyone from a black ethnic group in some way that provides some 
magical quality to cohousing that we are missing. The magicalness of it also 
means it can't be logically addressed. 

To measure it is even more difficult. How white is white? How black is black?

So discussing it does become strange. Not because anyone needs to be educated. 
Another assumption.

I’m not trying to be difficult or negative or racist or non-racist. Just 
raising the other side of the question. 

Sharon Villines, Washington DC
“It’s not writing that is so hard; it’s all the thinking it requires."

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