Diversity & Radical Inclusion: Black Lives Matter

My earliest memory of the police killing an unarmed black man is from February 1999. Amadou Diallo, a young, highly educated Liberian man living in the Bronx, was shot at 41 times and hit 19 times by four plainclothes NYPD officers. As a mixed-race kid born and raised in New York City, I’ll never forget watching the news and hearing that the cops claimed they were looking for a suspect in a crime, and that they opened fire after approaching Diallo and thinking he pulled out a gun. 

Of course, it turned out to be a wallet. I remember thinking, “Really?”

Of course, the officers were later acquitted. I remember thinking, “Really?”

This is the seventh entry in a long-form series designed to spark conversation about diversity, Radical Inclusion, and differences in the global Burning Man community.

When you’re still developing your perspectives on “how things work,” events like these can have profound impacts on your worldview. The public outcry, the news coverage, the change in venue for the officers’ trial (it was determined they couldn’t get a “fair” trial in NYC so it was moved upstate to Albany), combined with growing up in a city that already oozes skepticism, trained me at an early age, for better or worse, to expect things that seem straightforward to turn sideways and to take things with a Central Park-sized grain of salt. 

Fast forward to the 2010’s, and I spent a few years covering some of the killings many of us have heard of. I was in Ferguson, Missouri, in November 2014 waiting to hear if a grand jury was going to indict Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Michael Brown in August of the same year. It was amazing, but not surprising, how clear it was to the many black residents I spoke with that they did not expect it to happen. Of course, it didn’t. After Eric Garner was killed while telling the world “I can’t breathe,” three words too many known and unknown black people have had as some of their last, we waited in New York to see if Daniel Pantaleo would be indicted. Of course, in December 2014 he was not. I was in Minneapolis after Philando Castile was shot seven times during a traffic stop (while his girlfriend and daughter were in the vehicle) by Jeronimo Yanez. I’ll never forget Castile’s mother telling me “Don’t let them forget my baby.” Yanez was charged but in the end was, of course, acquitted. 

These are just a few examples. How’s it going to play out for Derek Chauvin, the officer who killed George Floyd, and the other three officers? For so many black people in this country, there are many levels to the pain and anger at play here. It is not just that black fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters are being killed by the police. That’s painful and angering enough. It is also that there continues to be little to no recourse nor justice. When you see the same pattern play out over and over again across the country, over the years, with the details different but the circumstances all too familiar, the depth of the pain, the anger, the skepticism continues to deepen. 

We’re in a national moment, yet again, that demands pushing forward in the face of injustice. As a Burner and a person of color, I’m feeling an increased need to use my skillset and align my many cultural principles in helpful ways. I know many of you are too. So how do we do it?

Burning Man and Race 

Some of the criticism of Burning Man culture I often see in the press and on social media is that we (the event, the global community, etc) are detached from reality, that we’re a bunch of bohemian-bourgeois hippies and techies running around in the middle of nowhere, ignoring or escaping from the truths of the other 51 weeks of the year. Part of my job on a daily basis is to constructively counter this conveniently superficial narrative. Luckily, I have countless examples to choose from. 

A lot of my personal focus over the last year and a half has been specifically on building a deeper dialogue around race in the global Burning Man community. What I’m hearing is that, if anything, Black Rock City is very much tied into and a reflection of reality, as the conversations in my series on diversity & Radical Inclusion have shown.   

Let’s start by not forgetting that Black Rock City is still a city in the United States, and that Burning Man is not separate from or immune to the world around us. In my interview with him last year, Marlon Williams said, “In my travels to Black Rock City, I am traveling through America, and…Black Rock City is a very American city. Even [through] the typical ways in which it tries to have a constitution and Principles and trying to have inclusion, without affirmatively trying to move forward on that ethos, [it] just replicate[s] all the things that already exist within the default world. Black Rock City is not on another planet. It’s very much on Earth, and specifically the United States, with all the challenges of our racial histories.”

Despite the ways in which some try to separate our experience from national conversations, we create contexts that reflect the realities of our culture. Burners have a city and culture rooted in the 10 Principles. We certainly have ideals, but we’re not a utopia and we are far from perfect. The ways in which we still have room to grow provide us with an opportunity.

The Black Burner Project group shot from 2019, photo by Erin Douglas.

What Does “Political” Even Mean Anymore?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen comments on social media and elsewhere that “Burning Man isn’t political,” or that we should all “Keep the politics out of Burning Man.” That perspective, at best, teeters on the edge of the “ignorance is bliss” perspective, and at worst it parallels the ways in which conversations around race and social justice get deflected. Ever heard someone bring up an issue around race or diversity and someone responds with “Well, what about all these other types of diversity? We should talk about all types of diversity.” It’s a modern version of a tool that has been used for centuries to diminish the realities people of color face, where (usually white) people say, “Well, what about all these other types of diversity?” and people of color find themselves needing to justify the singular focus and importance of race, while simultaneously bringing things that are not their concern into the conversation as if they are of equal standing. 

The “Burning Man isn’t political” perspective is based on the false narrative (highlighted above) that Burners find themselves or wish for their experiences to be separate from the world around them. We’re a year-round culture. We are a community of people from around the world, representing countless perspectives, caring about countless issues, with an endless list of reasons why we participate in Burning Man.

The word “political” in this context seems to be used to mean that activities or perspectives that tie together Burning Man with issues outside the physical or social media trash fences are not wanted or welcome. 

In fact, happenings from within the Burner-sphere have been deeply tied to the default world for years. We’re in a moment that calls for our community to actively embrace how we have the potential to have a real, positive impact.

NOTE: “Political” and “partisan” are different things, and it certainly is important that Burning Man spaces around the world are welcome to people from all sorts of political parties and perspectives. Burning Man Project does not act in any partisan manner and it doesn’t support specific candidates or ballot initiatives. It does however, encourage civic engagement, as reflected in its mission/vision, the 10 Principles, and its program areas.

What We Have to Offer

Writing about race and Burning Man, longtime Black Rock City Census volunteer Uncle Vern noted, “Burning Man can be a catalyst for positive change…both in our desert culture and in social relations outside Black Rock City.” How?

For me, it has to do with taking the lessons we all learn, the skills we share, and the love we give in Black Rock City out to the world. We’re in a moment when it’s needed more than ever, and I think there are a bunch of things we can all consider. Don’t forget:

We have unique skills and we know how to get things done.

I had never seen a more concentrated collection of so many talented and highly specialized people than when I started going to Black Rock City. We have people who know how to build complicated structures, operate heavy equipment, organize gatherings, coordinate complex logistics, build power grids, create temporary experiences and spaces that change people’s lives. Shit, we know how to leave no trace in an entire desert year after year. You do it for your theme camps, your mutant vehicles, your art pieces. With a year of no Black Rock City ahead of us, find a community organization fighting for racial and social justice, give them a call, tell them your skillset, see what they need. 

Burners are sometimes paralyzed by the feeling that we need to be the ones to “start” new things. New camps, new projects, new… Don’t be. Ask the people who are on the front lines and have devoted their lives to social justice how you can jump in. We have a lot to offer!

We’re empathetic, we’re good listeners.

Remember that conversation in deep playa that changed your life? The one that was unexpected. The one that made you realize the potential you had inside yourself all along. The one that made you feel heard for the first time. Those are some of the most powerful gifts we hear about year after year, and there are thousands of you with the ability to give the gifts of conversation and active listening. The impact you can have on someone’s life by giving them the platform to radically express themselves cannot be understated.

To be clear though… Engaging productively in a moment like this is not asking for black people to explain why what’s happening is troublesome to them. People of color in America are constantly having to do the double work of processing their feelings around traumatic events while also justifying and explaining the source of that trauma to white people. If a person of color expresses how they feel about racism (or a woman expresses how they feel about sexism, or a trans person expresses how they feel about transphobic behavior or language), believe them. Listen actively, show love.

We’re collaborative, and we know how to iterate.

Very few things, if anything, happen in the Burning Man world via solo missions. Getting your camp’s resources together, building art, seeing an idea through from concept to completion; we do this on teams, with friends, with volunteers. It’s important, as we move forward to address the issues we care about, that we recognize that we can accomplish more when we work collaboratively.

Part of the magic and beauty of our city in the desert is that we get to iterate every year. After we leave no trace and go home, we have 51 weeks to reimagine what we want our home to look like the next time we gather. We meet as camps, we tinker, we plan new events, we learn new skills, we build new art. We invest in ourselves and our community. We create a city that we want to live in, from the ground up every year. Something didn’t work this year? Scrap it, try again next August. It’s some of why for the last two years, a contingent from the US Conference of Mayors has visited Black Rock City to learn from us. 

Not every city has the ability to pivot as meaningfully or profoundly as we do. That malleability and willingness for people and things to change is so much of what makes us Burners. It’s also a tremendous privilege, and we can take this outside of the desert context. In a year without Black Rock City, what do we want to iterate on, build, contribute, and gift as a collective culture? How do we build the future we want to live in? 

We have some practical principles.

We’re always talking about the 10 Principles and how they can affect positive change in the world. But what are we actually doing with them? Theme camps like Que Viva are pushing the envelope on Radical Inclusion, organizations like Burners Without Borders take Civic Responsibility and Communal Effort to communities around the world, the Black Burner Project uses Immediacy and Participation to educate. As the coronavirus pandemic forces us to social distance and turn towards our smaller, tight-knit communities, how are we elevating these principles in our daily lives and the lives of those we care about?

Aerial shot of Black Rock City 2019, Photo by Duncan Rawlinson.

Parting Thought

It’s only in hindsight that we analyze and name periods of history. We look back and label something as Ancient, as the Middle Ages, as the Renaissance. These are all terms relative to where we sit now, though. What did people call the age they lived in then? “Ancient” times were modern for people breathing then.  

So, what age are we in now? Maybe the better question is: what age do we want to be in now? What do we want the history books to say about us? 

What role do we want Burning Man to play in this moment? It’ll be at least 14 months before we gather in the dust again. 

Burners, we have a chance to be part of this conversation.

 

Black Lives Matter.

 

Are you interested in writing something related to what’s going on? Please submit your story here.

 


Top photo – Que Viva Camp’s Black Lives Matter march on playa in 2019, petitioning for change and more diverse representation in Burning Man leadership. Photo provided by Favianna Rodriguez, taken by Ali Olshan.

About the author: Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley

Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley

Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley is Burning Man Project’s Senior Communications Manager. Dom manages press/media relations, external communications strategies, and social media, to name a few things. On playa, he helps run Media Mecca with a team of amazing volunteers. Burning since 2013, Dom’s playa name seems to change every year. Prior to joining the Burning Man staff, Dom spent almost six years on the breaking news desk at CNN in New York.

60 Comments on “Diversity & Radical Inclusion: Black Lives Matter

  • ladybee says:

    Well said, Dom. Thank you so very much for your considered perspective. It eases my grief a little bit….

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  • Jenn (aka Popsicle) says:

    Thank you this. I’ve honestly been hurt by the lack of involvement from some people I’ve met through the burning man community so I’m sharing this article to illustrate to them how the 10 principles can be used right now.

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  • Molly Rose says:

    Thanks so much @dom for sharing this with the burnersphere, it’s really beautifully written.

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  • Helix says:

    THANK YOU.

    This is important. It is heartwarming to see evidence of our culture and organization not just turning away from injustice, but instead staring it right in the face.

    We have work to do within our own city and also out in the world. The Burners of the future are watching us. Let’s get to it, folks.

    Black Lives Matter.

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  • Liz says:

    Thank you Don. An insightful article and a powerful call to action!

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  • Sage Bandicoot says:

    Really powerful Dom, thank you for writing. Particularly inspired by these quote:

    “With a year of no Black Rock City ahead of us, find a community organization fighting for racial and social justice, give them a call, tell them your skillset, see what they need. Burners are sometimes paralyzed by the feeling that we need to be the ones to “start” new things. New camps, new projects, new… Don’t be. Ask the people who are on the front lines and have devoted their lives to social justice how you can jump in.”

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  • Juno says:

    Deep bow of respect and gratitude for you sharing your experience and perspective. I agree we can and should use our Burner powers for good – thanks for the inspiration and concrete suggestions.

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  • Leslie says:

    Sharing! Thank you for so eloquently and generously sharing your experience. I don’t have any answers or solutions right now, but (guess what?!) it’s not my place to. Enormous gratitude that you took the time to share your point of view as both a Burner and person of color.

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  • kbot says:

    Thank you for telling your story, which shares so many layers of experience. I’m taking this to my Regional community as a playbook for how we can take action.

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  • Marty says:

    This is great. Well said.

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  • Sharifa says:

    Thank you Dom for sharing your personal experiences. Thank you also for describing how Black Rock City, as an American city is of course embedded in the racism that is woven into the fabric of American culture. I very much appreciate the call to action of our energy and creativity in service to social justice during this year when we are not coming together to the Playa.

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  • Buena Chica says:

    Let me say it straight up, when I met you at some function at headquarters and heard you were in the new communication team, my thought was, “WOW Burning Man hired a minority!” And I was so very happy for you. But right now I am feeling really sad that this was actually my first thought.

    For years I’ve been the only usual colored volunteered at headquarters events. The only other POC in the office is the guy in charge of RESTO and he kinda, no, he TOTALLY CREATED his own job way back in the 90’s…… legendary!

    So how many minorities are employed at headquarters now?

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  • Nexus (he/him/his) says:

    Thank you, Dom!

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  • Thank you so much for taking the time to write so thoughtfully about this and getting this conversation started.

    I’d been reflecting and thinking lots about what I, (and our community) can really do and contribute, and plan to write more and take actions.

    Your piece makes me feel both supported this is not in vein, and is inspiring on so many levels. We may not be perfect, however as a community we have so many valuable precepts we all treasure and know can make a difference.

    This is a crucial time in history and I so appreciate your voice. So thank you again.

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  • Kate Gonnella says:

    A great read, Dom. Thoughtful, insightful, encouraging, and fierce. You are awesome!

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  • Jennifer Raiser says:

    As ever, Dominique, your words are inspiring, thoughtful, and provocative in the very best sense. Thank you for leading. I am eager to follow.

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  • Joe Buchman says:

    Reading this I feel like I’m at Burning Man, in Black Rock City, challenged/accepted/loved. You write like a poet; changing the world with words.

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  • Dr.K says:

    Thank you Dom. I feel we are at a crucial moment where many liberal white folks (myself included) are trying to dig deeper into their psyches to understand how they participate in reenforcing institutional racism. And then looking to the future to help create the world we want to live in!

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  • Jill Broussard says:

    I hope that the Burner staff is as diverse as it should be– without staff reflecting the values, it can’t bleed out into the rest of the burnersphere. I have been troubled by the lack of visible inclusion and how basically burning man looks like a bunch of white people congratulating themselves. I want better, I want more. I hope Burning Man is the most inclusive ever, but am not sure if it is.

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    • Glendonnarosa says:

      There’s a POC on that truck, though. I think there’s another in that pimp outfit. BM should be more culturally enriched because Back Lives Matter. We need some Asians too. Not enough of them either.

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      • Sharifa says:

        Hi Glendonnarosa, could you please explain what you mean by what you mean by what you wrote here? It feels very cruel. Also, what is your intention by writing it? Thank you, Sharifa

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      • Glendonnarosa says:

        @ Sharifa
        Certainly. There is a POC on the truck, a black woman. If you enlarge the picture you can see her. But please let me know if you are visually impaired and I can assist in enlarging the picture.

        Burning Man should be culturally enriched, do you disagree? What is your reason for disagreeing? Do POC make you uncomfortable? Black Lives Matter.

        Burning Man has almost no Asian representation. There are fewer Asians than black people. It’s about representation. Do you have a problem with this?

        I’m a black woman, are you calling me racist? You feel that I’m cruel… I’m not responsible for your feelings, snowflake. My intentions in writing my post is evident in the post. If reading comprehension is difficult for you, you should consider asking an adult to read what you write before posting anything on the Internet in response to words that someone else has written. There are also online tutorials available to assist you if no adult is available to you.

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      • Sharifa says:

        Hi Glendonnarosa, I’m very sorry. I clearly misunderstood your post. I read it as being mocking. On that Black Lives Matter truck there are many POC, and only POC. It was a beautiful and heart-swelling sight out there on the playa and on this page. When I read you saying there was only one person, and one other as a pimp, I had understood it as belittling. Again, sorry for any pain my post may have caused.

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      • Glendonnarosa says:

        @Sharifa
        No worries. I’m not really a black woman.

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      • Java says:

        I encourage you to check out the census project’s data. While neither represent a particularly large chunk of the population on playa, Asians clearly outnumber Blacks. I don’t mean for it to appear as some sort of competition, but I do believe that accuracy is important.

        http://brccensus.2018.popanalysis.s3-website-us-west-1.amazonaws.com/sociodemo.html#ethnicity

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  • some seeing eye says:

    Thank you for writing this. Burning Man is a do-ocracy. So we can each take action. This movement is international, and Burning Man is international with about 10% of BRC from outside North America, and many international regionals too. We can make changes in the world, and right in our own families, and in our neighborhoods, each.

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  • Thank you for sharing your story, Dom. It’s powerful and it’s a step in the right direction. This work also need white allies and white leadership in the organization to both speak out against racism and to implement real policies to address it. We need white burners to talk to other burners and engage in anti-racism training. The comments on the Facebook post is truly disheartening. It’s not acceptable that historically Black folks have only made up 1% of the participants at the event. It’s been time for Burning Man, as an organization, to address the fact that it’s mostly white leadership and a mostly white board has not done enough to implement some real policies and commitments. Little will change until the organization names racial diversity as a real commitment and adopts a real plan. That includes how racism in communications is addressed (like on social media). So far, I am seeing a ton of racist and micro-aggressive commenting on the Burning Man channels. I also want to remind folks too that there is a petition to the Burning Man board that lays out clear demands around accountability. It’s here: bit.ly/burningmanpetition

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  • goumba says:

    note sure your Brown Supremacist comment will help heal the world

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  • goumba says:

    If you want to help the world, start by by loving white people.
    Too much hate in your article, so it removes any credibility.
    Second, tell your black friends to start loving white people.
    Hate in America is in the heart of blacks, not in the hearts of whites.

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    • Sharifa says:

      I didn’t experience any hate in his article. What felt hateful to you?
      I’m curious that you are having such a different response.

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    • Daniel says:

      Loving Black people means saying something and taking action when they’re getting killed in the streets. Why are you spending so much energy opposing the idea that Black Lives Matter?

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    • zoe Fry says:

      This comment is shocking to me! I don’t understand how you can read this article and come to the conclusion you did, unless you already held that belief.

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    • Mayor says:

      goumba, You can’t honestly have read the journal with an open heart and come away with hatred. Only you can heal the poison that is within you.

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  • Michelle 'Connectress' Muri says:

    The lack of involvement in dialogues about social and racial justice by the BurningMan org, has been hurtful to our community. I have been personally astounded by shocked and dismissive reactions from many -many- white Burners, when hearing about some of the racist shit that happens at the Burn. I continue to be mystified that the org does not set an example by doing their own work and understanding how influential they can be in setting a tone via principles.
    As sharifa said, thank you for describing how Black Rock City, as an American city is of course embedded in the racism that is woven into the fabric of American culture.

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  • Markle says:

    Thank you for all of this, especially the clear distinction between political and partisan. Everything in life is political, whether some ignorantly blissful Burners like it or not.

    I’m ready to do the work, and I know a lot of the BMan community is.

    And, yes, Black Lives Matter

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  • Thank you Dom. Thank you bringing our attention here, #inthesetimes, during a national uprising. When it matters. Burning Man has been such a profoundly meaningful space for me. I am forever grateful to the people of color who have held ¡Que Viva! together over the years.

    How can we even pretend to imagine utopia absent the experience, the vision, the hard earned embodied wisdom of people of color?

    We can turn towards this with care and courage. And it is time that we do.

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    • Igor says:

      I think black people have had the opportunity to join the white version of utopia, Burning Man, and they have collectively shrugged. It’s not that they can’t go or no one has invited them, it’s that they really don’t want to go. Same with Asian people… just not interested in hanging out doing utopian white people stuff in city of whiteness.

      If you really want POC at Burning Man in representational numbers then you’re going to have to pay them to hang out. That means free tickets, room & board and at least a few hundred dollars cash at the end of the week.

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  • Daniel says:

    I appreciate hearing this Dom, so often it feels like Burning Man is a space that is designed exclusively for white people. It is beautiful to see so many invested in realized the dream of “Radical Inclusion.”

    Spaces of joy and liberation that do not put in any effort into including POC actively contribute to the division within the United States. They encourage the imagining of segregated futures. The Burning Man organization can do so much more to acknowledge the shortcomings of the event and to radically include POC and especially Black people.

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  • zoe Fry says:

    Thank you Dom for sharing this. The first time I went to Burning Man my jaw hit the ground with awe at the level of creativity. The capacity that exists within this community is astounding. I love your call out to use that energy for social change. I have never been much of an activist but the realities of this pandemic hitting communities of color harder than sheltered white communities really hit my heart like a rock. It activated me to get out of my bubble. Any burners that want to join in using art as a way to support organizations please contact me info@theintrovertscollective.com. I also wholeheartedly encourage the Org to accept the offers that have been made to lead them into a proactive example of civic leadership regarding issues of race and radical Inclusivity.

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  • Tommy says:

    Borg should send out an email to its entire mailing list stating these principles. BlackLivesMatter

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  • Rich Ghost Wolf says:

    What a beautiful non-answer! The org knows it’s had a race problem for years, and all you’ve got for us is a non-address of the systemic racism? AKA light beer?
    Carl Cox playing your music festival DOES NOT count as radical inclusivity!

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  • grossepieuvre says:

    I want Radical Inclusion but I exclude non-black from “lives matter”

    — typical 2020 burner

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  • Nathan Aaron Heller says:

    Dominique,

    I very much appreciate this. It has led me to reflect on a lot. Thank you!

    I’m just not sure I am in 187% agreement with everything you have said above? I don’t really see a 1:1 correlation between Civic Engagement (Responsibility) + Communal Effort and “political.” In my view, many relationships we all enjoy, collaborate and work in (or should) have at-root nothing political about them (e.g. love, family, friends, ourselves etc), both on or beyond the playa. It horribly STILL remains the case that many in this country and across the globe do not fully enjoy these bonds, let alone all of their rights and liberties and the benefits of life and society, and people are suffering and are understandably way upset and rightfully way angry and WAY beyond fed up because of persistent and entrenched discrimination, injustice, and oppression, particularly because of racism. It’s just, it is also the case that we all do – or should – return to and hold to and work at those very relationships beyond politics at both the beginning and at the end of the day, if not throughout, do we not? Although one form of power or another may be involved toward necessary radical societal progress, Civic Engagement and Communal Effort (et al) seem better able to bridge as principles across all contexts, as they more clearly reflect, in my endless experience, the deeper relationships we forge and the transformations we experience and work for.

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  • Shirin Bina says:

    Hi There,

    I want to bring your attention to an insensitive comment that an admin for a burning man Facebook group made on a post I made.

    If you really are about doing the work, and creating safe spaces for diversity, then you need to do more. Promote conversations of diversity. And please, reach out to Cindy Smith and reprimand her for her highly inappropriate comment. She is out of line, and trying to intimidate a thoughtful and honest conversation.

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  • Mrs Fishkin says:

    So glad you’re here Dom, and thank you for the Inclusion posts, our community needs this content and your voice.

    You’re in an amazing and challenging position to shift the conversation. Hopefully it can turn to a less comfortable direction so that our community and the org can make real change. I’m here for it.

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  • The Giver says:

    Thank you for this very thoughtful post.

    Your words and those of many of the commenters renew my own belief in the transformational experience that is Burning Man—the power to transform my own self and the power to transform the Default.

    It’s a great party and all but if we don’t come back from our experience changed and return so that we can go back to change the world, then I fear we are missing something.

    The principles of Burning Man are exactly what I’d hope are the aspirations of any good church or community of people organized to be about transformation. [Side note: the church was founded to actually be a counter-cultural, transformational movement! HMU if you wanna digress further into this with me!]

    I have seen how Burning Man allows people to express their full selves and return to the world taking those very principles and use them to say, DISMANTLE WHITE SUPREMACY or SMASH THE PATRIARCHY or just be a better HUMAN in the world.

    As a faith leader, I know my own presence in the Default is every day informed by the dust that is in my very spirit, the beat of music on the desert floor, the sunrising over joyous bodies—reminding me of just what the world could be if we leaned into the full nature of ourselves. 
Rather, when I lean into the full nature of Myself, for that’s where it starts, with me.

    How much richer would this experience be, indeed, if this experience were made accessible to PoC, if we as burners committed to making this experience accessible for someone different from us—yes, more Black folks, more Trans folx, more Queer AF PoC folx, and on and on … and committed ourselves to co-creating safe spaces for them. How would we then all be transformed by such expansion.

    Excerpting from my experience of BLM at the Temple in 2016, my first time, “Gentle reader, please know I do not tell this story to say “hey look at me!” Rather, I do so to point out the work that all of us who are privileged with whiteness can and must do. Our actions do not have to consist of huge gestures or dramatic pleas–although those certainly help. But the actions of our every day lives of countering racism with love, of putting a BLM sticker on our cars in our window, or on our backpacks, or showing up with our bodies with people of color–these actions will change life here in the default and make it just a little bit more like life in the desert where people gather to dance and find the spirit and become radically one with each other.”

(https://thetoddwhitley.com/2016/09/04/blacklivesmatter-at-the-burningman-temple/

) Thank you for your post and calling us toward the very political, very spiritual work The Playa makes possible.

 —Love, The Giver
 #BlackLivesMatter

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  • Marnee says:

    Dom, this is beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your experiences and perspectives. I was especially struck by this passage:

    “Find a community organization fighting for racial and social justice, give them a call, tell them your skillset, see what they need. Burners are sometimes paralyzed by the feeling that we need to be the ones to “start” new things. New camps, new projects, new… Don’t be. Ask the people who are on the front lines and have devoted their lives to social justice how you can jump in.”

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  • Hiwa says:

    thanks. well said and amazing article.

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  • tony says:

    Nothing is going to change….. Promise will be made, people will be appeased, short term changes, as history has proven, will revert back.

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  • I love this post, it is so amazing and helpful. Thank you so much for sharing it, this is the post that I have looked for all over the website and the internet. Looking forward to your next post.minecraft mods pc

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  • Okpulot Taha says:

    Researching around the net I come across a list of rules for Burning Man events. Top of list of forbidden items to wear is “feathers”. Not of the fault of Burning Man I read quite a few disparaging remarks about people who wear feathers as if we American Indians do not exist.

    Our family is “chahta okla hannali” – Choctaw Sixtowns tribe. We wear some feathers which we consider to be sacred. We do not lose nor misplace our sacred feathers. This is discouraging to learn Burning Man does not acknowledge existence of the true owners of the playa – American Indians.

    This is quite ironic we Indians are not allowed to walk our stolen ancestral lands because we wear a few sacred feathers.

    Okpulot Taha – Choctaw Nation

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