Race & Occupy Wall Street

image credit: Ben Earwicker

The diversity of OWS is in question, and at the same time, in many cities throughout the country, there are Occupy movements that have been more inclusive. Let’s consider how to maintain diversity throughout all the Occupy movements so that we aren’t recreating a new divisiveness in seeking to make real change.

The incident is well-known now. When civil rights hero Representative John Lewis asked to address Occupy Atlanta, the activists’ consensus process produced a decision not to let him speak. For many, the denial was a damning answer to a question that had arisen since the earliest, overwhelmingly white occupiers first took over Zuccotti Park: Is Occupy Wall Street diverse enough?

“Diverse enough for what?” is the query that leaps to mind. Diversity alone will not ensure that OWS advances an economic change agenda that is racially equitable.

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Original article written by Rinku Sen & published in The Nation, November 1, 2011. 

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