All of us here at Twitchy have pretty good memories, so when we saw ABC News reporting on the racial makeup of National Park visitors, we knew we’d heard it all before. And we had, back in 2016, when a new study found “disparities in who has access to parks and natural areas.” Of course that headline, from ThinkProgress, was totally bogus; anyone from any race had equal access to parks and natural areas — but did all races feel “welcome” in those areas?
Not only did “communities of color and low-income communities in the West have disproportionately less open space and natural areas nearby”; there was also the park rangers themselves. According to a coalition called the Centennial Initiative (named for the 100-year anniversary of the National Park Service), “The Park Service law-enforcement vehicles look like those used by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and uniforms have law enforcement connotations, both of which present a significant impediment to engaging all Americans.”
That’s right: Park ranger uniforms looked kind of like law enforcement uniforms and were scaring away minorities.
So fast-forward past the Obamas’ several trips as a family to national parks to drum up business to 2020, when again we’re hearing that attendance at national parks is mostly white.
We've been through stay at home orders with everyone itching to get outside.
But outdoors spaces and our national parks are not free from the systemic racism and inequity that exist in other parts of our society. 77% of national park visitors are white.https://t.co/ppiqcMJeBE
— Stephanie Ebbs (@stephebbs) July 1, 2020
“America’s national parks face existential crisis over race” is an actual ABC News headline. Existential crisis.
New @NatlParkService data, seen first by @ABCNewsLive, shows parks have remained stubbornly white spaces over the last 10 years, despite efforts to raise awareness and improve access.@devindwyer spoke with Acting NPS Director David Vela about why. https://t.co/ppiqcMJeBE
— Stephanie Ebbs (@stephebbs) July 1, 2020
So what’s the excuse this time?
Still, racial profiling and stereotyping remain a big concern for [Indian-American Ambreen] Tariq and many people of color in the outdoors.
“When I was a child, I felt like an outsider trying to gain entrance, except now I am American and this is my country,” she said.
However, when she camps or hikes as an adult, Tariq said she still faces assumptions that she doesn’t belong and a sense of “imposter syndrome” and fear — even facing questions from rangers about whether she has followed park rules when she doesn’t see white visitors asked the same questions.
Advocates like [Danielle] Williams and Tariq say they hope the moment since George Floyd’s death in police custody brings attention to systemic racism in the outdoors as well as other parts of society and translates into a long-term change in attitudes and behavior.
I'm only here for the ratio. pic.twitter.com/kGkejjzZ3k
— Kirk Wald (@KirkWald) July 2, 2020
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 62:0 ratio.
— JT Rona (@jaildprutnik) July 2, 2020
Get a grip.
— Ex-GOP Greg (@Flying59Vette) July 2, 2020
And yet 100% of people are allowed into the parks…maybe it's something else🤔
— blue (@blue_prop) July 2, 2020
Are they keeping black folks out of the parks? If not, what's the point of this?
— MetsMan7186 (@man7186) July 2, 2020
“Why can’t we make black people visit national parks!”
— Deplorable Dave (@jeffersonianguy) July 2, 2020
My misanthropy grows
Sometimes I wonder if these people actually take themselves seriously
— Josh the Misanthrope (@CorneliusGegan) July 2, 2020
So the Associate Director of @SierraClub can assert systemic racism in our national parks as well as the rest of society without any further elaboration. A real reporter would ask for specific examples of park service exclusionary policies that could be considered “systemic.”
— Buck Leahy (@BuckLeahy) July 2, 2020
White 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61%. US census info so what's the issue?
— Svetlana Wolf (@TSvetlanab) July 2, 2020
This is ridiculous.
— Boog Bear (@dandanorly) July 2, 2020
No man, it's an existential crisis. The news says so!
— Kenarchist ಠ_ಠ (@kenb503) July 2, 2020
All it takes for this number to change is for minorities to… Go. To. The. Parks.
It’s literally that simple.
Are you a minority?
Would you like this number to change?
Yes to both?
Go to a park.
— 🏴☠️nOt A rEaL liBeRtAriAn🃏 (@CampyJester) July 2, 2020
If President Obama couldn’t entice minorities into national parks, who can? And he and his family really tried.
Some non-white people are *freely choosing* to do something else in their spare time, and this is an "existential crisis"?
— Joe (@DangerProbe) July 2, 2020
— Zombie John Gotti, Warlord 🦥 (@ZombieJohnGotti) July 2, 2020
Why do they even track the racial mix of park visitors?
— Jarryd (@THEREALJARRYD) July 2, 2020
Jeez, I did not notice the "whites only" sign last time I went to the park.
— TSR (@thestoicreturns) July 2, 2020
I think they are open to the public-I am confused
— Jill (@Jillyterese) July 2, 2020
Force non-whites to visit.
— "Linsk Minyk” Sikorsky (@SikorskyFlights) July 2, 2020
This is so true, I wondered how come no one else is seeing this. Finally!!!
We should limit the # or white people that can enter parks in order to balance proportions.
— Stocks Daddy (@stocksdaddy) July 2, 2020
So to make sure visitation perfectly matches demographics, are you going to limit whites at the gate or bus blacks in against their will.
— Armour Opossum (@ArmourOpossum) July 2, 2020
Time to imprison minorities that refuse to visit the national parks
— David Austin (@DavidAu14952054) July 2, 2020
— Evets (@Evetsisnthappy) July 2, 2020
Congrats on doing a story on one of the dumbest damn things I’ve ever seen. National Parks are open to everyone. Up to each individual to decide whether he/she wants to go or not.
— Karl Corleone 🇺🇸 (@mickeysooner) July 2, 2020
Finally a piece that addresses the core issue behind George Floyd's death
— MrTate (@MrTate) July 2, 2020
We thought it was that statue of Christopher Columbus in Columbus, Ohio that was responsible and thus taken down. But it goes deeper than that.
This has got to be the stupidest dribble I have ever seen.
— Rude Boy (Redux) (@BoyRedux) July 2, 2020
OMG, shut the hell up.😖
— Carrie Legrin (@CLegrin) July 2, 2020
More scientific studies prove that national parks and natural areas are racist, deny equal access https://t.co/uvoAHAqa1I
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) August 23, 2016