I really enjoyed your article. The amount of scolding in the comments section is saddening, albeit typical. So much of what we do or don’t do as BIPOC revolves around perceived or actual threat! Yes, I could die in the city, but at least in the city another person would likely find my body. If I am murdered in the woods, who will find me? A bear? A hunter? Their dog?
Black people can’t even barbecue in a public park or have a party in their own backyards without white people calling the police on them, or showing up with guns, or enforcing some other form of racial intimidation.
Will I be murdered by white men If I go camping? Probably not. Does the fact that I have to ask this question impede my desire to go camping? Definitely.
I wanted to buy a small farm in southern Ohio. Having a piece of land with its own water rights has been a long time dream of mine. The older I got, the more I began to think of this dream as silly and idealistic. I’m going to live in southern Ohio, by myself, in the country? Yeah, right. What if my neighbors take umbrage to my brown body? What if I have kids? Where are they going to go to school? Do I want my kids going to a predominantly white school full of rural youth? Or will I get my hair done? Where will I even find products for people who look like me?
The worst thing about racism is it’s ubiquity. Where can I go to escape it? Nowhere. The best I can do is try to minimize harm. For me, this mean keeping my Black ass out of overwhelmingly white spaces like campgrounds, country cottages, and Vermont. I really enjoyed how you explained the long-standing history that has led to the development of ‘the great outdoors' as white space. I’m sorry that so many of these comments are either disparaging or tone police-y. Know that you are not alone, you are not misunderstood, and you are not crazy.
Looking forward to reading more from you.