Oct 232016

Funnily enough these diversity panels tend to happen at festivals, and conferences in cities where diversity is all but forced out: New York, Washington DC, London, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle. Portland, Oregon, for example is the whitest city in America with a 75 percent white population and a 3 percent black population that’s getting smaller. San Francisco is at 5.4 percent and Los Angeles’ population is getting smaller too. These are cities, and by extension people who would be horrified at the idea of being called racist, and yet they seem to be active segregationists. Because one of the hallmarks of these cities is a total failure at housing affordability, something these cities still don’t recognize as failures because 1.) They are a result of environmental policies that meant well, but drove prices up and put huge burdens on low-income households, 2.) So much money is being made and 3.) It’s only colored people who are being kicked out anyway. Last year when a friend lamented to me that he was being kicked out of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, I suggested he track down the Puerto Ricans his arrival helped drive out, and see where they went. Better yet, try this experiment on Air BnB: Book a few places using a photo of a black person.

Diversity can’t accomplish anything because diversity shouldn’t have been a goal in the first place. The other problem is the continued insistence on having the writer of color talk about these things, as if by getting Claudia Rankine to talk about diversity, one has accomplished it. Rankine would be the first to point out the hypocrisy in the assumption itself…

Source: Marlon James: Why I’m Done Talking About Diversity

  One Response to “Check This Out: Marlon James: Why I’m Done Talking About Diversity @LitHub”

  1. On April 27, 2015, I attended an evening event where Claudia Rankine read from, and talked about, her book, “Citizen: An American Lyric.” The event, titled “The Making of Citizen,” was held in the Edison Newman Room of the Houghton Library at Harvard University.

    The Edison Newman Room is a large room, with painted portraits of prominent people hung on the walls, and room-length display cases of rare books and manuscripts on either side of the deep, rectangular room.

    At one point, a member of the mostly white, mostly privileged audience asked Ms. Rankine for what audience was her book intended. Ms. Rankine said that her book was intended for people like you (meaning us in the audience). I thought that was an interesting answer.

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