The organizer suggests that black people don’t like camping as much as white folks.
Black Rock city census brought into light numbers that determine the ethnic breakdown of the attendees at Burning Man. The team of demographics and anthropologists claim that 87% of burners identified as white; 6% identified as Hispanic, 6% as Asian, and 2% as Native Americans (figures rounded). The smallest demographic of burners – 1.3% – identified as black.
Based on this, it was hypothesized that considering the counterculture festival’s principles of ‘radical inclusion’, does the festival’s idea of a Utopian society includes 90% white individuals? When this question was presented to festival founder Larry Harvey, here’s what he said:
“This has never been, imagined by us, as a utopian society. I’ll believe in utopia when I meet my first perfect person, and this community is made up of 70,000 imperfect persons. That being the case,” he continued, “I think it’s a little much to expect the organization to solve the problem of racial parity. We do see a fast-increasing influx of Asians, black folks. I actually see black folks out here, unlike some of our liberal critics.”
Harvey’s comments so far sound pretty reasonable. The festival wasn’t built on a foundation that targeted solely white audience, at the same time, didn’t consider racial gap. Make of that what you must. However, Harvey went on to say:
“I don’t think black folks like to camp as much as white folks.”
When his comment was deemed strange, inappropriate and outrage-inducing, the organizer told Guardian, “Remember a group that was enslaved and made to work. Slavishly, you know in the fields. This goes all the way back to the Caribbean scene, when the average life of a slave in the fields was very short. And, so, there’s that background, that agrarian poverty associated with things. Maybe your first move isn’t to go camping. Seriously.”
Well, we leave Larry Harvey’s online rep to the internet, whether the festival founder is being realistic or simply ignorant is up to you. Either way, follow Festival Sherpa to be updated with more news.