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Old 10-06-2013, 09:13 PM
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Default Polyamory and Racial Minorities

I have a somewhat sensitive subject to talk about, and I don't know if it's been talked about before. If it has, let me know and I'll try to search for it, or post a link here and I'd be eternally grateful.

My question is, why does most of the poly population seem to be drawn from Caucasian (read: white and of European descent), and even especially well-educated and well-off Caucasian peoples? For example, why do African Americans seem to be largely "left out" of the poly movement? Can anyone suggest some ideas that would make such minorities feel more welcome, interested, and able to try out some poly practices, and even, mingle more with the "usual poly demographic?"

The local poly group I belong to is doing a potluck and discussion hour near the end of this month and they are going to try to discuss and address this problem (I assume I should consider it a problem). Whenever we meet together, it's always a bunch of standardized white folks meeting together. I'd love to see more diversity in our meetings. What are the chances something can be done to encourage that? I suppose we're partly out of luck, since New Mexico doesn't seem to have a large black population. (Does that represent part of the problem?) We do have a large Latino (and Native American) population though, so maybe there's a way we could reach out to those peoples?

I am rather stumped which is why I thought I should try tapping into Polyamory.com for persepctive, insight, etc.

Having mulled over it, I had an "oh shit" moment where I realized the same kind of disparity shows up almost every time one turns on the TV or visits the theater. What's the ratio of black-to-white actors, especially actors who play the main character? What about newscasters, aren't most of them white? It seems to me like African Americans are left out culturally in a number of areas. Sure official segregation is a thing of the past and progress has been made (e.g. an African American President for the first time ever), but I almost feel like we're pointing at them, and saying, "You don't belong." You see black folks in sports and music, but not in Hollywood. What's the reason?

I guess, then, that it isn't what you'd call a "polyamory problem" per se, it's more like a widespread cultural problem. I feel like there are large areas in the United States where most black folks don't feel safe or comfortable to live. In fact, doesn't the largest concentration of black population seem to be confined to the historic slave states? Gods, black people don't even feel like they can leave the geographic areas where they've always been oppressed the most. Maybe part of it is that all people tend to want to live near their relatives, and it's not like a whole family is going to simultaneously up and move across the country.

Is there a way white and black people can at least dialog with each other more? get to know each other better? I feel self-conscious about how little I know about what it's like to be an African American, what their hopes and fears and day-to-day lives entail. I feel like I have a vague, Hollywood-guided visual of all that. Is part of the problem a disparity in how much internet access people have? Would it help me to find or select some African American individual I've never met and see if we could become pen pals? How would I approach that; where would I start?

I kind of picture this wide, formidable chasm between white and black people, and nobody seems to know how to bridge that chasm. As I said I know we're making progress little by little, but what are some things I can do as an individual to be more helpful?

Maybe it's comparable to the problem of getting polyamory (and homosexuality, and kink) accepted by mainstream society. It takes a lot of struggle and it doesn't happen overnight. After all, one can also turn on the TV and see hardly any polyamorous characters depicted in almost any movie. Oh, polyamory is beginning to get some public attention, but slowly; very very slowly. And I'm sure we all remember what a big deal it was when Brokeback Mountain came out. So sometimes races are marginalized, and sometimes life choices are marginalized. Sooo ... is there a way all us marginalized folks can get together more? cling to each other for support? learn how to help each other better?

What are your thoughts in general on all these matters?
Sincerely,
Kevin T.
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