Preservationists: Racist, Ageist, and probably a lot of other Ists as well

Ever notice that all of the folks who want to lock up “wilderness” areas around the Western states are always white – and young? The ageist issue was briefly discussed here yesterday. But take a look at the photos and videos included in the linked article there, and you’ll notice something else: there’s nothing but white folks in them.

There’s a reason for that. Minorities in general don’t like hiking, camping, and stuff like that. It’s a white people thing.

“If you find yourself trapped in the middle of the woods without electricity, running water, or a car you would likely describe that situation as a ‘nightmare’ or ‘a worse case scenario like after plane crash or something.’ White people refer to it as ‘camping.'”

As a rule, black folks and brown folks don’t want a damn thing to do with marching up and down mountains, sleeping on the ground, eating freeze-dried tofu, or any of that other crazy shiat white folks do. Insect repellent? Naw, man…we’ll be out on the screened-in lanai, sucking down some suds and watching the flat-screen.

Minorities just aren’t into it, as the outdoor industries’ own statistics bear out:

The Outdoor Foundation shows underwhelming diversity. Its 2013 outdoor participation report notes that last year, 70 percent of participants were white.

This doesn’t bode well for Columbia Sportswear, The North Face, and similar outfitters over the long term, because whites are going to be in the minority within 25 years, here in the USA. Actually, it’s even worse for them than it seems, because their stuff isn’t cheap, and they don’t have the fashion cachet of, say, a pair of Nike Air Jordans. They’re going to need to find a new hook, and relatively fast.

As Stuff White People Like says, “In theory camping should be a very inexpensive activity since you are literally sleeping on the ground. But as with everything in white culture, the more simple it appears the more expensive it actually is.” You may need to fly to your destination; otherwise, you’ll need a car and a full tank of gas. A backpack, tent, and the necessary gear will run you at least $1,000.

Small wonder, then, that 40% of the white folks you’ll encounter while traipsing down that mountain trail take home at least $75,000 a year. The others are either college students, academics, (white) environmeddlists. If you seek the company of nothing but other young white folks, the wilderness experience is where it’s at.

The Times managed to find a nonwhite person who enjoys hiking. Carol Cain, a 42-year-old New Jersey resident of Dominican and Puerto Rican roots, was apparently day-hiking in Washington’s Olympic National Park when she told the paper, “We’ve been here for two days, walking around, and I can’t think of any brown person that I’ve seen.” The article later reports: “The idea of roughing it in a tent, however, can feel to some people like going backward, said Ms. Cain, a first-generation American who said the stories in her family about escaping the hard rural life still resonate.”

And there you have it: screw that whole hiking and camping thing; if you ain’t a white boy, you’ve had about enough of that whole damn “nature” thing. When you get some time off, you want to relax – preferably in a lounge chair on a fairly crowded beach, checking out the surf.

And in the meantime, young white guys continue to push to put more lands into the permanently-protected “wilderness” category.

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About maxredlines

experience: biology, zoology, psychology. authored/co-authored papers appearing in peer-reviewed scientific journals, as well as numerous professional proceedings. authored articles appearing in computer-oriented publications. featured in publications ranging from books to New Yorker magazine to television.
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2 Responses to Preservationists: Racist, Ageist, and probably a lot of other Ists as well

  1. maxredlines says:

    Amusing, isn’t it? Still no word from Al Not-so-Sharpton on this.

    We did the camping thing for many years; I generally took a week or so and went off flyfishing, though I eventually decided the whole tent thing was ridiculous and time-consuming, so I took to sleeping in the bed of my truck – had a couple of 2x4s supporting a piece of plywood, air mattress and bag on top, gear below. The family and I would still do the tenting thing for a few days, though, before we decided it was getting to be more hassle than it was worth. Still have a ton of gear to peddle at some point.

    We’re more into motel with hot tubs and pools – Bonneville Hot Springs is great for that, as is the little place called Belknap on the upper McKenzie River.

  2. lectorconstans says:

    Good grief. Is there nothing that will not fall under the beady eyes of the Them&Us movement?

    I’d be willing to bet that urban poor are also sadly unrepresented in our national parks and rec areas.

    My idea of going out into the wilderness is to find a nice forest, mountain or glade within driving distance of a good hotel.

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