In my previous post I discussed the blatant omission of race as an issue in several online articles claiming that the 99% comes from and looks like the 99%. This started me thinking about race within the Occupy Wall Street Movement and whether the study I cited in my last post was just a one -time sort of finding by a small-sample group survey or if the OWS is in fact a majority white movement.
In an article I read titled, “How Occupy Wall Street Co-Opted the Million Hoodie March,” the author discusses the manner in which OWS protestors co-opted a march planned to remember the Trayvon Martin tragedy. Present at the march himself, the author claims that OWS protestors turned the memorial gathering into an angry, violent protest for the OWS movement. At the very bottom of this article the author makes an extremely bold statement. He states, “With incidents like what occurred on Wednesday, I see a clear reason why people of color don’t flock to the movement.” At first I thought this to be a very daring statement, especially because he did not provide any sort of evidence behind it. But after reading the Cordero-Guzman study I wondered if this claim wasn’t so off the wall. Is the OWS movement in fact racially exclusive? In addition to Cordero-Guzman’s survey results showing that 81.3% of the respondents were white, I have found several other studies showing that the shocking majority of OWS protestors are in fact Caucasian. A series of interviews conducted in Zuccotti Park by Fordham University on the dates of October 14, 2011 through October 18, 2011 showed that once again most of the protestors were white. Of the 301 respondents, 68% where white, 10% African American, 10% Latino, 7% Asian, and 5% responded as “other”. At OWS camp one black man placed a sign stating, “Decolonize Wall Street- stand up for more black and brown leaders in this movement!” This man seems to be voicing the opinion that a lot of African Americans are holding concerning the OWS movement. Another African American woman attended an OWS protest in New York City and carried a sign declaring, “I’ve got 99 problems and Wall Street is #1”. While there is limited research on the actual demographics on OWS, the widespread sentiment concerning the lack of racial diversity is clear. I don’t go so far as to claim that Occupy Wall Street is racist or racially exclusive. However, it is clear that a strong majority of OWS protestors and supporters are Caucasian. I would like to explore in my next post the reasons behind people of color choosing to not support the movement.