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[…] A white, affluent image that reflects a troubling reality: A 2013 survey of polyamorous people from online groups, mailing lists and forums found that almost 90% of the participants identified as Caucasian. Some people try to explain black people’s underrepresentation on Wall Street by saying Wall Street is racist and intolerant.
People of color, especially black polyamorists, report feeling “othered” and excluded in poly environments such as meet-ups, with women feeling especially at risk of being objectified and fetishized as an exotic sexual plaything. But Unitarian Universalists are just about the most tolerant people in the world – nobody even knows what they do, just that they’re extremely tolerant when they do it – and black people are in Unitarianism at lower rates than they’re on Wall Street.
CAMBRIDGE, MA—A Harvard University study of more than 2,500 middle-income African-American families found that, when compared to other ethnic groups in the same income bracket, blacks were up to 23 percent more likely. Some people try to explain the underrepresentation of blacks in libertarianism and the Tea Party by arguing that these groups’ political beliefs are contrary to black people’s life experiences.
“Our data would seem to discredit the notion that black Americans are less likely,” said head researcher Russell Waterstone, noting the study also found that women of African descent were no more or less prone than Latinas. But blacks are also underrepresented in groups with precisely the opposite politics.
“I interviewed a black couple who went to a poly group, and they were definitely preyed upon, in a sense,” said Marla Renee Stewart, Atlanta-based founder of Velvet Lips, a sex education venue. And the article on polyamory suggested that maybe polyamorists’ high-flying lifestyle and expensive play parties price out black people.
The article constantly equivocates between “the problem is that polyamory is too white” and “the problem is that the media portrays polyamory as too white”, which is kind of a weird combination of problems to be discussing in a media portrayal. Occupy Wall Street protesters (unknown but low, one source says 1.6% but likely an underestimate). Forget for a moment that I’ve been poly for three years and had no idea this high-flying lifestyle existed and kind of feel like I am missing out.
Eighth, people of the same social class tend to cluster, and black people are disproportionately underrepresented among the upper middle class.
There has to be a strong education filter on polyamory to produce those kinds of numbers, and I think that alone is big enough to explain most of the black underrepresentation.
Second, Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs says you’re not going to do weird things to self-actualize until you feel materially safe and secure.
A lot of black people don’t feel like they’re in a position where they can start worrying about where the best bird-watching is at.
But it seems to eventually settle on a thesis that black people really are strongly underrepresented. Forget for a moment that as far as I can tell “play parties” are a BDSM term with no relationship to polyamory.
For the record, here is a small sample of other communities where black people are strongly underrepresented: Runners (3%). In my experience polyamory draws from the same sort of people as atheism, and atheism is very white even though not believing in God doesn’t cost a cent.
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Third, the thrive-survive dichotomy says materially insecure people are going to value community and conformity more.