• Nicolas Bueno

The Problem With Hiking Having a Diversity Problem

A week ago LA Times published this article called "Hiking Has a Diversity Problem". You can read it here.

Just a couple of days ago a gunman walked into a Georgia massage parlour and shot and killed eight women.

The article on hiking is frustrating because I think it's a very surface-level analysis of outdoor activity. You know what? Hiking could be the most racist thing ever. It could be endorsed by the KKK and Neo-Nazis could just be infatuated with national parks. I'm open to the idea that it could be racist, because really, what the fuck do I know? Jack shit (and I continue to write an entire blog analyzing race relations, makes sense).

My first issue with the hiking article is there is no research whatsoever as to why "longterm oppression and historical barriers have kept many people of color from feeling comfortable in the American outdoors." Is that because they don't see enough representation on ESPN 17's coverage of lumberjack sports? Could that have anything to do with police brutality? Or are they afraid to go outside because they're afraid of the sun like they're fucking Howie from "The Benchwarmers"? This article provides no research to back that up and just expects you to get what the fuck they're talking about while making the connection between alleged fear of going outside with hiking.

Where is the data to back that up? Because if it's true, and it might, again I have no fucking clue what even goes on in hiking. You walk outside and shit in the woods, I think. That sounds awful. Maybe there are no minorities because they don't choose stupid outdoor activities? Or because it's not a part of their culture? Or they don't enjoy it? Or a million other reasons as to why it could be? If you're going to make baseless claims, you have to back it up.

Second issue: The entire article is one paragraph of an intro, and then they just list groups that prioritize minority groups who like hiking. One paragraph to set this up.

Third issue: this end of the paragraph:

"Their mission is to remove barriers and help people experience the connection, whether they are seeking fitness, healing, personal accomplishment or knowledge about all the outdoors has to offer. For many, the first step is going on a hike."

Not once have I been like "I'm in need of healing and fitness and the great outdoors, I need to go on a hike." Never in my fucking life. How about going for a walk? Or playing a sport outside? Or throwing a frisbee? Or going to the beach?

Again. It could very well have a crippling diversity problem, they just do an awful job of explaining that, and it doesn't do anything but mention diversity to score liberal brownie points. If it has a diversity problem that leads to serious race issues PLEASE TELL ME HOW BECAUSE I WANT TO KNOW IF IT ACTUALLY HAPPENS. I have my doubts, however, I could be wrong.

One of the things I appreciate about intersectionality is it looks at how multiple things are intertwined and how they affect each other. That's a good thing because how we view a certain race can add on top of how we view women, or people with disabilities, etc. and for the most part, I think intersectionality is born out of a place of compassion and kindness, making sure people don't get hurt or left out or discriminated against. I can get behind that 100%.

One of the downsides to that is sometimes people don't know where to draw the line and can attribute some trends unnecessarily to identity politics. Diversity in hiking is one of those things. It can get easy to go down the rabbit hole of how everything is related until we're ultimately grasping at straws. Notice how quickly Justin Trudeau changed the national anthem and some reserves STILL don't have clean drinking water? Or how drug use in Canada has been rising over the last decade? Or how Indigenous women and trans folk are still murdered, kidnapped, and abused at much higher levels than any other group of people in Canada? What do you think holds more weight when it comes to helping people?

Sometimes some trends exist because of many other tendencies other than racism and that's OK. Why are there more male construction workers? Why are there a lot of Asian doctors? Why is Brazil so good at soccer? There are plenty of variables: skillset, cultural practices, social conditioning, tradition, family pressure, physical build, current financial situation, etc. And hey, maybe racism/sexism IS a factor or even the biggest factor, and that's also entirely possible.

If that's your first line of thought for EVERY single problem, however, I'm curious as to why that is and what the potential downsides of that could be (and if you do your research and still think it's race, great! All the power to you, who am I to control how you think).

Don't get me wrong, if you want to see more female CEOs or more male nurses I don't care, do whatever the hell you want just know that you need to go to the root of why that is and assess all possible reasons for why that is. Don't just focus on results and make it look good from a numbers standpoint so you can win points on Twitter. Don't lower the barrier of entry to win identity politics brownie points. Women are capable of being successful CEOs, and men are capable of being great nurses. There's no reason to believe otherwise, even if there have been generations of bullshit that women are "too emotional" to handle such a position or nursing isn't "manly enough."

Some programs like affirmative action seem like good ideas, however, lowering the bar for people based on skin colour is like putting a Band-Aid on a broken arm. This leads to a higher dropout rate among those students, and this practice hurts Asians the most.

It hurts a historically marginalized group of people the most (see Japanese internment camps and increasing hate crimes against Asians), which is the opposite of what affirmative action is supposed to do in theory.

There are also plenty of industries where there are plenty of qualified people of colour (looking at you Hollywood), and with how complex race relations are in the west, getting to the root of the issue might not bring about immediate results that would bring a tear to Robin DiAngelo's eye.

Without it, there is no lasting change. There needs to be a way to bridge the gap between immediate results and generational change on a deeper level because of course there are people held back/discriminated against/not hired because of their identity and that is of course bullshit and unfair.

This is where I think the points of each example cross. I think understanding is more important than diversity. They're both important (there have been studies showing a bias to the mainstream culture and identity with a lack of exposure to other races/genders so diversity and exposure absolutely are important), however, having diversity without understanding is like having a bike without a chain. It's great that you have a bike, and now there's potential to do things, however, you won't get very far if that's all you have.

I think a lot of times we call for diversity and we miss the other part in dealing with social justice issues, which is understanding.

That's understanding the targeted groups, marginalized groups in general, the nature and context of the situation and the events leading up to it, and the perpetrators and what might've caused them to act the way they did.

Diversity makes a positive impact, I just don't think it's the most important factor in understanding race issues. There are other ways and messages we are told to combat racism by using surface-level tactics like sharing graphics on social media. That doesn't move the needle without an intentional understanding of the whole situation, not just the parts you think will make you feel good.

The man claimed he had a sex addiction and he lashed out. What the fuck leads someone to act like that?

The last time I had a build-up of sexual frustration was when the Brazzers account I got off my highschool bathroom stall was banned because everyone in school was using it (2015 was a rough year). Even then, all I did was beat off three times that day, I didn't go around murdering people.

His friends described him as the nicest guy in high school who was "super Christian, nice and brought a Bible to school every day."

I think we found the reason as to what happened.

There was a Facebook account that belonged to the offender that apparently had racist language against Asians (the account was deleted). I didn't get an opportunity to look at the account or the alleged racist language, the question remains though: how does one go from that to killing eight people at a massage parlour?

If we assume his account was posting racist rhetoric, there are plenty of people who are racist who don't kill people (that doesn't excuse racism of course), my point is at what point do people embrace racist behaviour/ideology, and then what happens for them to escalate that? Crimes of passion generally have low rates of reoffending, however, when a guy goes on a hooker killing brigade, I have a difficult time believing his "bad day" led to a crime of passion.

I think this is another reason as to why prostitution should be legal as well: we know what goes down at these massage parlours (ask Robert Kraft), making it illegal doesn't discourage people from seeing prostitutes, it just shuffles them away from the public eye, so more bad things can happen. Legalizing doesn't mean you can get prostitutes at Walmart, you fucks.

There are also rising hate crimes against Asians, and while it's easy to point to COVID's origin in Wuhan (that is absolutely the biggest factor, like violence against Middle-Eastern people after 9/11), I think we need to dig deeper. Why are people so quick to go from "COVID originated in Wuhan" to "let's beat up Asian people." And yes I know if you do that you're racist, however, we need to go deeper than that. It's easy to simplify the problem by saying "racism" and "we need to stop racism."

OK, how though? And how do we get to the root of the issue so that people understand what they're doing is wrong, why it's wrong and how to prevent it from going further? Nobody acts thinking (or at least very few people) "My morals are wrong and harmful and I'm a piece of shit," so what needs to happen to shift that line of thinking so instead of just acting without thought we create a more conscious society?

It's easy to share graphics on social media and still not understand. It's harder to ask questions, get uncomfortable and do things to make a difference on a deeper level, and a fundamental problem is as humans we want the quickest way, and the shortcut to what we think is morally sound/correct/just.

Have a great weekend. Thanks.

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