Black burners on race and Burning Man

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There’s another 11.7% unaccounted for, then. But hey, they don’t matter…


The 1.3% says a hell’va lot about Burning Man.


I still think this article nails some key issues more cogently:


That’s funny because House music began in black gay clubs of Chicago.

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Yep, and rock and roll began as a variant of R&B, which was what race records became in the 40s and 50s.


Here’s a pretty interesting little doc from 2011. A couple of “admittedly ignorant” white guys from Oakland interview their black neighbors about their perceptions around Burning Man:

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Chicago House and dance came first. Techno evolved from that in Detroit and Chicago before the UK embraced it, raved till dawn, cleaned it up, shipped it back to the US, and later it’s influence can be seen in Hip Hop and rap.

Funny how Kraftwerk influenced both early rap and dance.

Good overview of dance music history.


Funny to me that it took a UK-based news outlet to actually take the step of answering “Why aren’t there more black people at Burning Man” by interviewing black people.


it’s like the people in that article keep saying over and over: this is only an issue to people who aren’t at burning man. at the burn, people don’t give a shit what race you are. everyone is just people, and it’s cool. why isn’t there more black people? hard to say. but maybe like the one person says, “I think we need to acknowledge that white people have culture too. And I don’t feel like it’s segregationist. I just think there’s certain things that white culture gravitates to.”


Even if that’s the case, does it hurt to ask why this is so? We’ve lived (and continue) to live in a white supremacist society. If we want to have a fully inclusive society that doesn’t discriminate (even in very passive ways, by coding things “white”), then we need to do some active digging and figure out why things attract a particular audience.

You underestimate the obstinance of whiteness in America, I think! :wink:

I think your right that this was really interesting with some interesting explanatory ideas about this issue. Thanks for posting!

@papasan, this gif will never not be funny.

Also, tangentially related, I was at an anime convention this weekend, and it seemed fairly inclusive - there was a large number of African Americans there. I attempted to go to a panel on black people in video games and anime, and the thing was packed! I wasn’t able to get in (I got to the door and let some young men go ahead of me) as it was standing room only by the time I got to the door… So, fandom, at least, seems to be getting more inclusive, in terms of who is showing up at fan conventions.


What do you mean by this? Who is unaccounted for?

Not really surprised. More like once again disappointed. Ah well, at least someone asked.

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“87% white and 1.3% black.”

87 + 1.3 = 88.3, not 100%.

I would guess the rest is latino and asian, in that order.


Sure, but that wasn’t @jonbly s joke.

So, it’s simply black people aren’t that interested in it, but those who do go are welcomed and have fun.

Okay. Problem solved.


Wow, that is some Grade A horseshit:

White people in America have a working assumption that they can go anywhere and be reasonably safe.

It’s like they don’t know the first thing about racism. For starters, ask white suburbanites if they’d let their kids go to a school where their kids are a minority. Then, ask a St. Louisan if they’d drive through north St. Louis, and ask them if they’ve ever crossed the street when a black person has come down the sidewalk toward them.

Also, I figured the surest sign that someone at Burning Man was in the 1%, is that they’re at Burning Man…

White people have a lot of original wealth. They have a lot of support. They can be adventurous, they can make mistakes. So it frees them to experiment and to do thing like Burning Man, right? Whereas black people, we don’t have that luxury. We are working so hard to stay middle class, to stay on point, to fight societal norms that are against who we are. It’s just harder for us to have the luxury to do something so decadent as Burning Man. And that’s just what it is: decadent. You and I are probably privileged, and that’s why we’re here.
I thought that was a pretty smart observation.

I also appreciated this one, because it’s optimistic but without the breathless utopian colorblindness that seems to infect so many burners:

If you’re African American and you walk around in this country, there’s a certain tension that is always there: “Am I being scrutinized? Are the police looking at me?” Here, everything gets turned on its head. Because, who’s going to care? There’s a guy walking naked, and no one’s saying anything to him.

I used to say everyone at Burning Man is the same color – grey – but I was a bit naive back then. But there is that release from that constant stress of being black in America. I maybe got called “nigger” here once. But, hey, if I’m going to start remembering every time someone said “nigger” to me in 14 years, then that’s a whole other level of psychic tension that I don’t even need.