Thursday, September 11, 2014

Community

I was looking up a counselor's phone number and noticed that the agency is dedicated to serving the LGBTQA community.  I wondered "Is it a community?" Up in this neck of the woods, gays and lesbians have set events they interact in, but don't generally hang out much.  I don't know about the other subgroups. Maybe at colleges it's a thing.

Racial, ethnic, and religious communities have varying degrees of solidarity, depending on location, and the term clearly has meaning in some places.  There is an adoption community, I suppose, though most who are eligible don't belong. Various illnesses and conditions describe having communities, but I get the impression those are also not so cohesive. Hobbyists have a certain camaraderie that might qualify them for the Civil War re-enactment community, or extreme skiing community.

I think it is sometimes used in exaggeration, to pad the numbers or influence, or to reassure members that they are not alone, but part of a caring group. That seems sensible enough, but anything that is not strictly accurate can have its downsides.

8 comments:

james said...

Community is a much more pleasant term than "demographic" or cohort. And it so easily insinuates that "we're all in this together, with me as our representative."

Jim Cambias said...

Saying "community" is a lot more convenient than keeping up with whatever the alphabet-soup acronym is supposed to be this week. Seriously, "QUILTBAG"? I can't figure out what half those letters are supposed to stand for.

It's also a useful way to keep the members locked into their tidy little tribal identity. If they start thinking of themselves as individuals they might start straying away from victimhood politics. And that is simply unacceptable.

bs king said...

Interesting, immediately after reading this, I clicked to another page and the first reference I saw was to "the gamer community".

It seems like the essential meaning would be "people who have a strong commonality that falls outside traditional census-style demographics".

I'm thinking online communities may also influence this term. The folks referencing the "gamer community" above seemed to mostly be thinking of online spaces they frequent, not real life friends they were talking to.



Christopher B said...

Seeing the word "community" in this sense leaves me a little cold. It seems like an attempt to bootstrap into what being a real (i.e. physical) community means while at the same time downplaying the association as merely "you all happen to live in the same place".

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I agree with you all, of course. That's why you come here. But I have to admit that I am closer to many communities over that of my immediate neighbors. (Though that has changed since I started walking into the woods with neighbors noticing and chatting with me.)

Texan99 said...

If it's not a community, it's a ghetto. It's important to keep up the neighborhood.

Dubbahdee said...

I would say that I belong to the "people who avoid associating with other people community" but I would be lying.

panjoomby said...

will you be attending the heterosexual community event next week? :)