Thursday, November 04, 2004

creative class questions

Richard Florida did not include a "Whitey" Index, so I have taken the liberty of doing so for him (although I wouldn't make any claims of statistical significance for it). Being a library geek and a census junkie, I went to the 2000 census and looked up some race/ethnicity statistics for about 20 of the cities at the top and the bottom. Now, about 75% of Americans reporting in the census are white, while 12.3% are African-American. Of the 9 cities that I looked at, ranking highest in the Creativity Index, 8 of them had a population that was less than 10% African-American, and 6 were over 70% white. Of the 12 cities ranking lowest in the Creativity Index, 10 of them had a population that was over 33% African-American, and 3 were over 50% African-American.

There were definitely some outliers - Atlanta, for example. I'd be curious to know about the role of Atlanta's large African-American population in the creative class there.

On that note:

1. Could we talk about the undercurrent of white upper middle class privilege in the idea of the creative class? How does this relate to the digital divide and the information have's and have-not's? How could this be changed? Also, Greg, could you suggest some good readings on race and ethnicity and information labor?

2. I was surprised to see in the Appendix that Florida considers librarians to be part of, not only the creative class, but of the "super-creative core." Throughout the book, I really thought that librarians fit more into the service class, according to his definitions. How do librarians fit into this core? How do they not fit?

3. When Florida describes the working patterns and habits of the creative class, I wondered, 'Are these people being valued for their talents, creativity, and ability, or are they being taken advantage of?' What kind of toll is the creative class taking on itself? Similarly, what kind of toll are the service demands of the creative class taking on the lower and lower-middle class?

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