Honolulu, HI — In a rare press conference while on vacation in Hawaii, Obama raised concerns about the lack of diversity at Burning Man. Mr. Obama, who has been vacationing with his family on Oahu, made the unexpected comments outside a shaved ice stand in Honolulu. He was responding to a question from the Associated Press about rumors that he might attend the annual gathering in Nevada’s Black Rock desert later this month.
“You know Beth,” answering the AP’s Beth Middleford while slurping a rainbow shaved ice, “I don’t have plans to attend, although I think it would be fun. Malia [President Obama’s 20-year-old daughter] has been bugging me to go, but I’d be concerned about throwing my support behind an event that has some serious diversity and income inequality issues.”
The popular art festival was founded in San Francisco in 1986 and then moved to the Nevada desert in the 1990s. It runs from the end of August through Labor Day and draws participants from all over the world. From organizers own admission, the event lacks racial diversity, and more recently there has been a significant influx of wealthy elite who some say is skewing the nature of the “radically inclusive” festival. A recent census found that 87% of “burners” identified as white; 6% identified as Hispanic, 6% as Asian, 2% as Native Americans less than 1% Black and as many as 32% Silicon Valley douchery.
In a 2015 interview, Burning Man founder Larry Harvey told the Guardian that the lack of “black” people’s participation was due to slavery.
“I don’t think black folks like to camp as much as white folks,” Mr. Harvey said in the 2015 interview. “Remember a group that was enslaved and made to work. Slavishly, you know in the fields. This goes all the way back to the Caribbean scene, when the average life of a slave in the fields was very short. And, so, there’s that background, that agrarian poverty associated with things. Maybe your first move isn’t to go camping. Seriously.”
In more recent years, the influx of the hyper-wealthy have all but taken over the event. They have brought their own attaches, private aircraft including helicopters, full chef staffs and more concerning to long time burners, their own Hollywood-style luxury porta-potties.
“Yeah man,” said long time San Rafael, CA burner “Dirty Lips” in a Gish Gallop telephone interview. “I don’t blame Obama for not wanting to come. It used to be we were all equalized in the porta-potties, you know? Now these rich assholes are screwing it all up with their climate-controlled shitters and cushioned toilet seats. So much for decommodification , right?”
When asked a follow-up question regarding diversity at Burning Man, Obama said he had a date with golf clubs, waved and drove off in his caravan.