This is not my culture!
This is not my culture! E+/Getty

People are sleeping in the streets of Seattle during winter. They did same during summer. They did so in one of the richest counties in the US. But the biggest story out this week, and probably the whole year, is that a conference for All Home King County featured a performance from a transgender "stripper." The performance included inappropriate movements and contact. The right can't get enough of this scandal. This is how low the left has gone. It has lost all contact with common sense in the name of political correctness, identity politics, and wokeness.


Hear is a concentration of the outrage gathered and directed by none other than Jason Rantz:

Transgender performer Beyoncé Black St. James stripped at the All Home conference in South Seattle for a group of homeless advocates. All Home is the King County agency that coordinates services for the homeless. The conference theme was “Decolonizing our Collective Work,” a seemingly meaningless concoction of buzzwords that does little except signal wokeness. It wasn’t clear to attendees that the organization had planned a strip show for the conference. According to the Seattle Times, the agenda simply explained participants would attend a “Lunch with Cultural Presentation.”
A cultural presentation.

This designation (the cultural) is of great importance because it explains the source of the problem in all of this. The word "culture" has been on the right's shitlist since it stopped meaning "dead white men" (Plato, Shakespeare, Milton, what have you) and was relativised. But there is something else—confusion between a cultural diversity that is full and one that is empty. It has been the habit of a large number of white Americans who see themselves as progressive to confuse the two. And it is in making sense of this confusion that we can better understand what the stripper controversy at the homeless conference is really about.

The problem is that the homeless problem is not really an actual problem. There is not a real problem with housing, nor is there a scarcity of resources to meet all basic human needs. But we have homeless organizations and activists that have to operate as if scarcity—in the form housing and capital—are an actual thing. The moment you enter the crisis on these terms, you've lost before you even started. According to the logic of capital and housing scarcity, the problem is not about the society but about personal choices.

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The right, as we all know, commands the discourse on individuality. They claim, again and again and again, that an individual is autonomous and comprised wholly of their decisions. Now housing activists and social workers are forced to operate on these crude terms, and as a consequence, have to resort to strategies that have as their goal the humanization of life experiences that are not in the mainstream (the narratives of immigrants, the homeless, POCs). These activists and their organizations (which are predominantly run by white people) are not given nearly enough money and resources to actually solve the homeless crisis, and yet they have to keep going (and keep their jobs) as if their form of activism will eventually produce meaningful results.

The only tool professional advocates have in the absence of any real-world options is empty cosmopolitanism, which often takes the form of the mere celebration of diversity. Contentless cosmopolitanism only addresses—and usually via performance or cultural activities—the underrepresentation of members of our community in the mainstream. But it does not have the resources to address the economics of underrepresentation, homelessness, and poverty. In this confinement of praxis (actions that can produce real results, in the terms of a fabricated scarcity), they resort to an overemphasis of a cosmopolitanism ("everyone deserves a voice!") that has no content. It's the cosmopolitanism of HR departments in Microsoft and Amazon and Google.

You will not find a "cultural" performance at a conference for our waste collectors. Our society actually pays them to do their job. But we do not pay anyone the money it takes to prevent people from living on the streets. They are less than garbage.

Washington Ensemble Theatre presents amber, a sensory installation set in the disco era
In this 30-minute multimedia experience, lights & sounds guide groups as they explore a series of immersive spaces.