Minimalist Diversity (or Not): Are All Minimalists Rich and White?

Gravel and pine cone - minimalist diversity

“Minimalism…it’s not just for white people.”

– Tiffany Curtis

Awhile back, I wrote about whether minimalism is classist or sexist. Then last week, I read Minimalism Is Not Just For White People, written by Tiffany Curtis after she watched half of the Minimalism documentary.

Why only half? Because, she says, at that point “the only images of people of color, were seen in cutaway footage of Black Friday pandemonium, depicting people of color snatching doll babies out of the hands of tots and stampeding store aisles for limited edition Nikes.”

She goes on to say, “I could be being hyper sensitive or perhaps just hyper aware, but there must be people of the melanin-owning variety who also like to live simply and who want to cultivate more happiness than possessions in their lives.”

Curtis also notes some of the problems related to classism. For one thing, the media too often presents minimalism as a lifestyle for someone who can live in a luxury tiny house or travel the world.

What Minimalism failed to touch upon, however, is the fact that it is indeed a privilege to advocate for abandoning your desk job and packing only one suitcase to go spend your life as a nomad. As a working-class black woman, with $70,000 in student loan debt I can’t exactly tell my family that I’m selling my laptop and phone and moving into a room on wheels in pursuit of happiness.

I haven’t seen the documentary, so I have no idea if the second half is more inclusive racially or economically, but it’s certainly true that most of the well-known minimalists are white and middle class (or higher).

“[M]inimalism has all too often felt like a movement that has a hint of exclusivity sprinkled in it.”

– Tiffany Curtis

Curtis goes on to ask, “What does minimalism look like for those who live in the inner city? What does it look like for those who can’t vacate their nine to fives or who cannot afford the quality versus quantity mantra of capsule wardrobes?”

As a white person with enough money to simplify (though not to the point of quitting my job or traveling the world), I don’t know.

I’d love my readers to share their experiences so I can learn more about minimalist diversity. If you’d like to, please add a comment or email me via this form:

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