With our bodies and clothes covered in a layer of dust, my five campmates and I shuffle exhaustedly into a Reno hotel at 11 p.m. After spending the entire day in a car, we crave only showers and sleep. The heavy overnight bags we carry are nothing compared to the bags under our eyes. “You all went to that Burning Man thing, huh?” an older black man, standing in the lobby, says with a cheeky grin. “I don’t get you kids.” Then, eyebrows raised, he looks directly at me. “And you went, too? But you’re black!” The look on his face is one that’s familiar to me: I’m a conundrum—a young black woman who willingly attended the annual Burning Man festival on her own volition. “Yes, I am black,” I respond with a nod and polite smile. “Thank you. Have a great day.” I dodge the man’s question because the answer to why I proudly call Black Rock City “home” is more complex than most are prepared to hear. It’s difficult to describe Burning Man, a temporary community erected in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, to someone who’s never been. Beyond being transformational, I can best describe it as a planet… Read full this story
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