Sunday, May 25, 2008

Healing the Racial Divide: The Fight Against Segregated Camping

While most of you enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, rest assured the media is feverishly toiling, looking to keep us as up-to-date as possible as we all enjoy ourselves.

Selfless, they are.

Now what better time to bring to our attention to one of the deep dark secrets that stains America's collective soul: the stark, grim racial divide that exists at campgrounds across the fruited plain.
The throngs filling campgrounds across America this weekend will include hardy outdoors types and those who prefer creature comforts, but they'll have at least one important thing in common: Nearly all of them are white.

A small but committed group of campers is trying to change that by growing a generation of black campers, one person at a time.
If you think this is an Onion parody, trust me, it's not.
Getting more blacks into the woods would mean breaking decades of stereotypes and overcoming a long-standing leeriness that members say many have about camping. Bad things happen to black people in the woods, the story goes, and they can't afford recreational vehicles.
Good grief.

It never occurred to me when I was camping with black friends they were breaking racial stereotypes. I'll let them know next time we're toasting to what a mean, racist country this is.

In another earth-shattering discovery, AP notes that blacks and whites (gasp!) often have varying tastes in music.
Gladys Curtis of Houston is active in both NAARVA and mostly white camping groups, and she has noticed at least one difference between the way the races camp.

"When we go to the (white) rallies we hear a lot of country and western," said Curtis, president of a black camping group from Texas. "We've had a Motown review, big band, blues. Not a lot of country."
Who knew?

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