As a white person that identifies as male, I didn’t see this as my fight to have.
I wasn’t sure whether to write a post and, if I did, what tone to strike; if I did post, might it in fact cause further harm? I’m still not sure, but I feel it is too important not to use this space to say something.
I usually use this space to talk about adventures and mountain-related activities, but I recognise that me doing these things in the manner I have is largely a product of the privileges that I have grown up with as a white man, in terms of access, role models, and the way I fit into the narrative of white men conquering nature. I therefore now see it as incumbent on me to unlearn and re-educate myself about the privileges I have taken for granted, and to find ways of proactively addressing them. This post marks the start of a journey of coming to terms with my own privilege and beginning of a long-term strategy to affect change. I acknowledge that I will make mistakes along the way, but I want to be open and honest from the off.
Outdoors for All?
A recent UKC article has highlighted: “In the online 2019 BMC equality survey, 0% of respondents identified as Black, Black British, Mixed: White and Black or Black: any other. “ In the UK, around 14% of the population is from the Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic (BAME) Background, yet only 1% of Mountain Training qualification-holders to lead those in mountain activities are BAME (note that the article also has an excellent list of BAME athletes and organisations to follow, books and articles to read, films to watch, charities to support and petitions to sign).
“The outdoors community, being mostly white, has had the privilege of being able to avoid openly discussing social issues for a long time. The work of fighting racism in the world and within ourselves is deeply uncomfortable, but if there’s one other universal characteristic of people who love the outdoors, it’s that we voluntarily wade into discomfort with enthusiasm and resolve. It’s time for us to channel that energy into something far more important. “ (full article here: https://www.outsideonline.com/2414362/black-lives-matters-protests-social-media-posts)