Do you ever read an article from CNN (a.k.a. “Crappy News Network”) and feel like your IQ has been lowered several points afterward? That happened to me this morning.
CNN's Leah Asmelash went out of her way to analyze (a generous term) the history of outdoor activities and who participates in them. Citing the history of eugenics, poets like Walt Whitman and Henry David Thoreau, and President Theodore Roosevelt, she used muddled and inconclusive pieces of evidence to support her conclusion that the history of outdoor activities are steeped in institutional racism (sound familiar)?
While Asmelash does highlight that there was a period where parks were actually segregated between white and black people (which is racist), that time is long gone and there is absolutely nothing from preventing anyone from getting outside and enjoying the outdoors.
However, in the name of “diversity and inclusion,” people of color are insisting that someone make the outdoors a safe space for them to enjoy.
The ironic thing is that their solution to the perceived “racism” in the outdoors is by continuing to separate themselves from the rest of society.
Groups like Black Girls Hike RVA, Outdoor Afro, and Indigenous Women Hike have all formed in an attempt to “change the idea that outdoor recreation is only for White people." Furthermore, there will be a group of climbers that will attempt to summit Mount Everest - who are all black (calling themselves the "Full Circle Everest Expedition").
There has to be a greater goal from groups like these that is more than simply just proving that black people can hike and fish too.
Why not ask a friend to go on a walk in the woods, regardless of their skin color? Why not go birdwatching and talk with those on the trail, whether their skin color is black, white, or somewhere in between?
These seem like strategies that would promote unity, which is more of what our country needs and not groups that make up nonsensical narratives to gain attention.