Conservatives decided to try “dragging” Black people’s genuine concern of racial harassment in outdoor activities. After NBC News released an article featuring Black outdoorsy groups that aimed to make nature activities fun and safe for everyone, conservatives went to Twitter to express their disbelief.
“There is trauma related to being outdoors,” the founder of an organization working to provide safe spaces for Black people to enjoy outdoor activities says.
“There’s a lot of healing that we as a Black community must do.” https://t.co/pGFNa6gJQO
The claim that healing was needed in the historical dynamic of minorities and the woods was unfathomable to commenters. One undermined or out(alt)right ignored the experiences of Black nature-lovers who encountered racial harassment by sarcastically stating the outdoors is “racist.” However, Black people are basing these feelings on their experiences ranging from Trump flags at public campgrounds or unnecessary police presence whenever a large group of Black people does an outdoor activity. Naysayers flocked to joking about the matter, which could lead to escalated situations over a pastime as simple as bird-watching.
The outdoors is racist. https://t.co/VlhMVqJYnD
Contrary to their belief system, the outdoors has not always been for everyone. Historically, Black people are the smallest percentage of travelers to national parks, making up only 6% of visitors, according to data shared by CNN. Not only is this due to typical accessibility factors, but also segregation. Even outdoor facilities that were nationally funded were subjected to the laws of Jim Crow. Just as the “colored” areas of indoor establishments were separate yet never equal, so were the rundown, unappealing sections of national parks dedicated to Black people. The “nature gap” does indeed exists, and not fodder for “parody” news sites.
While the article itself sought to provide healing and support for people of color that, due to traumas experienced or heard far too often, feel uncomfortable embarking into the world the same way as a white nature enthusiast. Stereotypes surrounding Black people and certain outdoor endeavors, such as skiing and camping, are still present. However, so long as stigma persists, so will the need for nature groups dedicated to outdoor safety for people of color.
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Source: Black Enterprise