September 15, 2016
I Hate "the Creative Class"
I hate "the Creative Class."
I don't hate creative people. I love them and find them very stimulating. I am always interested in new ideas, new ways of doing things. I am fascinated and delighted when people come up with really good solutions or show artistic talent.
What I hate is the term the Creative Class. Why?
It's elitist. It sounds like designers, artists, writers, media workers, researchers, consultants or whoever are trying to say, "Don't question me. I know what I'm doing, and you don't. Just let me do my work and pay me the money. You should be grateful for what I give you regardless of whether you or anyone else likes it or understands it. And especially don't talk to me about whether or not it will sell. How gauche!" Now I don't think most of these people are saying that, but it can feel like that's how we should interpret what the Creative Class means.
The key problem word here is class which makes us think some people are just better than others. Worse it gives the impression that some people are creative while others are not. But your profession or training do not make you creative or uncreative. Every one can be and should be creative--plumbers, receptionists, sales people, administrative assistants, parents, accountants (ok, not too much "creative" accounting, please), cooks, house painters, and so forth. No one person, group or profession has a corner on creativity.
I suppose we could take the time to come up with a different term that isn't nearly so offensive and problematic. And that would be a step in the right direction. So if any of you out there have suggestions, let me know. But I even wonder why we need a term for such people in any case.
Richard Florida coined the term for the purposes of his sociological research. He contends that this group really is a class with significant (oversized?) impact in society and business. But as soon as the term got out of the academy, the problems I mention above emerged. So I think we are just better off without it.
So creativity--yes! For everyone. But Creative Class? Never.