Mickey Fearn, the National Park Service Deputy Director for Communications and Community Assistance, made headlines when he claimed that black people don’t visit national parks because they associate them with slaves being lynched by their masters.
Yellowstone, the first national park, was created in 1872 in Wyoming. Slavery was over by then and no one had ever been lynching slaves around Old Faithful anyway. But false claims die very hard.
Now Alcee Hastings, an impeached judge, and a coalition of minority groups is demanding increased “inclusiveness” at national parks. High on their list is the claim that, “African-Americans have felt unwelcome and even fearful in federal parklands during our nation’s history because of the horrors of lynching.” What do national parks have to do with lynchings? Many national parks have trees. People were hung from trees. It’s guilt by arboreal association.
The origin of the bizarre racist lynching theory of national parks appears to be Carolyn Finney. Finney was an actress noted for, apparently, little more than an appearance in The Nutt House. Then she became a cause célèbre for race activists when she was denied tenure by Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management because her work didn’t meet academic standards.
Her supporters blamed racism, rather than her academic shortcomings, and protested vocally.
These days she’s a diversity advisor to the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board. What wasn’t good enough for UC Berkeley is good enough for national parks. She is also the author of Black Faces, White Spaces. In it she claims that “oppression and violence against black people in forests and other green spaces can translate into contemporary understandings that constrain African-American environmental understandings.”
Finney cites the work of Joy DeGruy Leary who invented a Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome that she claims black people suffer from. Affected by PTSS, black people experience “fear and mistrust of forests and other green spaces.” According to Finney, the tree is a racist symbol to black people.
“Black people also wanted to go out in the woods and eat apples from the trees,” Finney explains.” But black people were lynched on the trees. The tree became a big symbol.” Black people are triggered by trees and suffer Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome flashbacks. You can’t expect them to go to on a hike.
What shall we do about the racist trees? Finney is front and center at the new “inclusion” initiative, “You’re sitting here making up a rule and assuming that everybody is going to feel comfortable to come to the woods and go on a hike,” she whined. “Maybe they’re not interested in doing that, that’s not how they like to come to the woods.”
In addition to complaining about the racist trees, the inclusion initiative also claimed that national parks alienate Latinos because of the “color of the uniforms that rangers wear.”
What’s wrong with the color of park ranger uniforms? According to the Hispanic Access Foundation, they look too much like the border patrol. Even though the uniforms are actually completely different. But much like the lack of lynchings at Yellowstone National Park, the truth doesn’t matter here.
None of this is really about the nonsensical pseudoscientific ravings you just read. National parks don’t care what race you are. Trees are as blind to color as they are to everything else. Forests don’t need to be made more inclusive. This campaign is led by people who hate and reject natural spaces.
Finney claims that Theodore Roosevelt’s vision of preserving beautiful natural landscapes was rooted in “privilege”. Or as Fearn put it, “Preserving wild places is a white concept, going back to Rome.”
Influential figures in the National Park Service reject the fundamental idea of preserving natural beauty. They view a forest as a “white concept” full of scary racist trees. Or at least that’s what they claim.
That is what this is really about. The Obama era has rotted the Federal government with radical figures who are at war with fundamental American concepts and values. They intend to use their power to destroy those concepts and values. This is another example of that same ugly phenomenon.
Alcee Hastings complains of a “green ceiling” for hiring minorities. Aside from the usual diversity hiring push and buying from minority businesses in the “inclusiveness” proposals, not to mention nonsense about racist trees and scary uniforms, is a move to divert the focus to urban development. Then there’s the flow of money to “community organizations” to engage “culturally diverse communities”.
All that is code for robbing parks and moving the money into the same network of corrupt organizations that already swallows all the money that the Federal government can throw at its local projects. This isn’t inclusiveness. It’s blackmail. Advertise in our publications. Give us grants. Or your trees are racist.
For all the safe space rhetoric, the arguments ultimately come down to money. It’s not about racist tree symbolism or uniform colors. It’s about creating positions for people like Carolyn Finney or Mickey Fearn so they can lecture us on how parks are privilege and nature is racist. It’s about finding yet another unlikely target for baseless claims of racism to be milked for money, grants, ads and contracts.
The accusations are absurd. And yet the payoffs keep coming. And there’s little doubt that this latest “inclusiveness” initiative will also pay off. Our parks will suffer. Our slimiest politicians will prosper.
Finney says that national parks should represent where we want to go collectively as a people. But the beauty of a walk through the woods is that you don’t have to “collectively” go anywhere. A hike is not a national mission. It’s a place for individuality. And the left never fails to remind us how it loathes the individual and worships the collective impulse of totalitarian movements. This is paired with a hatred for beauty.
Forests and lakes are not about where we want to go collectively. They are where we once were. They represent spaces of imagination and reflection that have nothing in common with Finney’s compulsion. They don’t have to represent Finney’s demands for “demographic and ethnic diversity”. They allow us a freedom from the confining urban spaces of leftist identity politics that deny our humanity. They show us that life is pure and simple in ways that defy the convoluted nonsense of political correctness.
It’s not hard to see why the left, despite its hollow environmental posturing, hates them.
Thanks, very insightful.ReplyDelete
You can't make this up. I think that I shall never see, a racist posing as a tree. Weren't three Jewish boys also lynched on trees? Are we going to have to consider Smokey the Bear a racist symbol? and give up Tu Bishvat? Is this America or never never land?ReplyDelete
The perennial endgame of all this nonsense is that black people are not responsible for their choices in the modern age. It's the equivalent of saying Irish-Americans don't go into forests because there might be Druids, banshees and pixies about.ReplyDelete
Everything for the Left is ceaseless complaint masquerading for absolution of responsibility. It's all a ruse: "Here's the reason why we can't..." with all the usual people to blame.
If black people don't go to National Parks, it must be someone else's fault. Good grief.
I love forests. They are great places to get away from nuts like the ones described in this article.ReplyDelete
If Ethnic Minorities are not visiting National Parks in sufficient numbers, they must be bussed in, whether they like it or not!ReplyDelete
It is the same here in GB. Our fine countryside is almost exclusively enjoyed by us white British. The same with nearly all historical places. It is our fault of course that our ethnic minorities dont ever go into the countryside.ReplyDelete
Apparantly it is intimidating. All those white people in their well kept cottages and houses and neat villages.
The reality is that these minorities just have no interest in the things we like and that is the end of it.
Rochel, with the left it's always never-never landReplyDelete
There are trees in Central Park in New York City - therefore New York City under Marxist Mayor de Blasio is a racist and should resign.ReplyDelete
Also, NY Police wear blue uniforms. Blue is the color of water and many Darkies can't swim, so that is racist also.
I live 17 miles from Glacier National Park's West Entrance. On Mother's Day roughly 75% of the visitors at the Many Glacier area were Native American - Blackfeet Indians - whose reservation abuts the Eastern side of the park. They mostly went to the picnic area at the Grinnell Glacier Trailhead. I know because I saw them there all day long having a good time. If Native Americans can go to the park and enjoy themselves, so can blacks from Georgia.ReplyDelete
Theater of the absurd. When will this nonsense end?ReplyDelete
This is satire, isn't it?ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, not satire. Just another shakedown by the Sharpton/Jackson Gimme Brigade.ReplyDelete
Who knew that the racist shakedown notion of "white privilege" would be extended to...trees? I suppose that now Johnny Appleseed and Smoky the Bear are also symbols of lynching and slavery and white oppression. The madness will begin to recede, first, when Obama is out office and he takes all his well-paid or well-subsidized racists with him; and two, when Trump is in office. Then you'll a lot of the racist "tree averse" running for the woods. Madness begets madness if reality is not allowed to check it.ReplyDelete
Shortcomings, envy and anger go hand in hand with leftists. No matter where you place them they will spoil it: forests, education, the military, economy...you name it. They truly are some kind of demonic entities.ReplyDelete
The tree hugging/hating leftist schizos unmasked!! Thank you, Daniel!ReplyDelete
Leads me to recall my reaction to the Avatar movie. All of humanity was condemned in favor of ponytailed Greenies.
The notion that I should feel guilty about any of this crap makes me laugh.
Well let's use the problem solving approach: If the trees bother you then hike above timberline. Then, you'll only have the rocks to bother you. If you don't like the ranger uniforms then don't look at them... See? simple...........ReplyDelete
I would think African American would be more fearful just leaving their house or driving around their neighborhood in many major urban areas like Chicago, Baltimore, St louis with the homicide rate skyrocketing in these cities.ReplyDelete
Leftist, anti-white racists with the ear of POTUS sure know how to play the system, but after O's gone, am hoping that will change.ReplyDelete
These people are actually saying that black people should confine themselves to concrete and asphalt, and never go any place where the racist trees might get them. Psychiatrists would have a field day with that.ReplyDelete
As always another great post Daniel. Let me add my 2 cents, and it is cheap, as a cheap shot, but nonetheless, not an untruth. It seems that pretty much wherever American africans are, pretty much EVERYTHING "can translate into contemporary understandings that constrain african-American environmental understandings.” As well as understandings about everything else besides environmental understandings. As a result, I cannot get up the tiniest bit of concern about American africans and their problems, which are almost exclusively of their own making, and their failure to assimilate. I just do not care. At all.ReplyDelete
Is there a prize for the weirdest "victimization" claim? Why, yes, yes there is. Federal money. And every claimant gets a participation trophy. Gotta be inclusive, y'know.ReplyDelete
As far as cinema is concerned,ReplyDelete
I would put the "death of beauty"
between the era of ESTHER WILLIAMS films
and Marilyn Monroe films.
Having grown up in a 90% or so black city, the comments reminded me that in previous decades the movement was the other way, to encourage black children to get out of the concrete and asphalt ghetto, and into nature.ReplyDelete
you MF-ers are shitting me, right? we just got rid of our eucalyptus trees because they came from Australia, and was originally a penal colony and we didn't want to have anytime to do with bad people.ReplyDelete
Please don't let on what color snow is. That'll really throw these idiots for a loop.ReplyDelete
So what's their attitude to the ghetto-based community gardens enterprising black people have established to give kids a taste of nature?ReplyDelete
Rush Limbaugh just read the first paragraph of this article...ReplyDelete
thank you, that's good to knowReplyDelete
Somehow this nonsense reminds me of the apple orchard scene in the Wizard of Oz. Maybe that's why they did not include that scene in the WizReplyDelete
These people have got to run out of the crazies soon.ReplyDelete
City dwellers, are afraid of whats in those woods, and what might emerge from them. To them, Central Park is a forest.ReplyDelete
"...Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome flashbacks."ReplyDelete
Wouldn't you have to have been a slave to have this and NO feeling like one doe not count. That is a completely different mental illness not a syndrome.
Damn those racist trees! I say cut them all down! It's a matter of social justice or something.ReplyDelete
Weren't cattle rustlers lynched from trees?ReplyDelete
I may be wrong but weren't a majority of them of 'white' extraction?
Hmmm, I think I'm going to be traumatized towards beef from this point on.
I also expect all people from other ethnic groups to share in my trauma and abstain from their daily burger fix!
Well, when I was a kid growing up in Cleveland, Oh -- lots of industrial crap and a dinstinct lack of green, the parks were the oasis of green and we went to them.ReplyDelete
What is wrong with people these days?
PS Trees are good for city environments as they create oxygen, so shut up and enjoy your trees.ReplyDelete