Make sure to follow GLOBAL LOCAL for examples of grassrooted-community activations from the Sol/Soul!!!!!!! Never forget, Local is global! Photo by Jay Worldpeace.
Last year, I had such a complex, yet “magical” first-time at Burning Man.
With so many dynamics going on, I haven’t been able to quite articulate the experience still, a year later. I won’t try to now either, but I saw very ugly things – like the egos of Artists in full $wing under the drug of tokenism/acceptance and worse, I saw the delusion that the Playa doesn’t actually directly reflect the “default world” in which many at BM aim to e$cape thru this very organized ritual.
On the flip, I also met people I still build things with to this day – some have generously helped me move just because or have shown up to events on the ISLA to support because of their sense of adventure – I have truly been amazed by the individuals I encounter and continue to through BM. Imagination everywhere. Access to all that mind blowing art in a desert. It truly is a mind fuck.
But can’t it be done anywhere? What if we evoked this spirit in our locals beyond the mon$trosity that has become Burning Man. Could this energy be channeled into something…else?
Why The Rich Love Burning Man – READ
I tended to flock with the #DIASPORADICAL at Burning Man – the Russian graphic designer who migrated from Siberia to LA, or the 2nd generation Sri-Lankan American from Portland, or the Spaniard living in China or my Pinoy/Jewish educator/photographer or Shadow from the Paiute tribe of Black Rock City who loved coming to BM every year or shouts to Maria from Arizona who gave me my first gift…
Did aggressions – both micro & macro and harmless – based on being brown, attractive (to some) and a woman happen on the Playa? Yes. But, important conversations happened too which may not have happened off the playa and since, I’ve thought a lot about why that is the case – because it’s related to my experience as a #DIASPORADICAL in America…
In laymen’s term: ***Why couldn’t these White folks always be this inclusive and open in their actual lives?*** I wondered.
Is it that BM is a safe space for that sort of learning to happen for the dominant class? Isn’t it progress that this slice of 70,000 people is trying to force themselves to be “radically inclusive” and try another way? Is that pure bullshit? Could the circus – with such an imbalanced ratio of attendees – even be taken seriously by us, the “minority” class. And fuck, the shit is only a week long, SO THEN WHAT THE FUCK IS BM’S POINT THEN, ACTUALLY? And did I also fall into the Tokenism by working so hard to even MAKE it to Nevada – on very lean funds? FOR THIS?????
Burning Man founder’s bizarre explanation for diversity problem: “Black folks don’t like to camp as much as white folks” – READ
My rough thesis is this: Immigrants, Black & Brown people and the #DIASPORADICAL already understand very intimately most of the 10 Principles of Burning Man because A) That is how they survive the actual world that is America or any new place where one is not necessarily “welcome” and B) These “principles” are Indigenous-derived anyway!!!!!!
SO: We have to build our own spaces. We have to build them in communities that don’t get to imagine so freely and it must must must be accessible. We have to build spaces for each other too. Just to be. We *could build them at BM and invite others in too for dialogue – but only if BM shows they are serious about getting their numbers to 40 – 50% POC to Black Rock City and at a steep discount – since THAT would be what radical inclusivity actually looks like. YOU CAN DO IT BURNING MAN! #BecauseColonialism