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Racism in the Great Outdoors?

Having been raised in the Philadelphia PA area during the 1950’s & 1960’s, I attended public school among classmates of all races and economic backgrounds.

At no time do I recall any issues of racial inequality, affecting how we treated each other.

We were all the same, with the exception of which grade we were attending.

Together, we all attended classes, played at recess, participated in sports, musical, cultural, outdoor activities and socialized with each other as equals, without race ever being an issue.

As a young adult, I got married.

My Best Man was Black.

What happened to the Civil Rights Act of 1964? 

Why has it’s historical importance been minimized?

Has it been lost in the racist indoctrination of late, having been stoked by those of whom want to reshape our nation into another form of government, under the guise of social justice?

Are businesses caving to shake downs by special interest groups, in fear of publicly being called racist?

It appears to be true.

I have never witnessed any form of racism at REI, since becoming a member in 1984.

Did it exist, but I was unaware of it until recently?

REI in July 15, 2020, established racial equity policy?

Now it appears, Racism in America, as it exists today, prevents the BIPOC community from going outside and enjoy the benefits of “The Great Outdoors”.

At what point, do we call out this, for what it is?

Now is the time.

REI should continue to provide an opportunity for their Customers to acquire a vast selection of quality products and services for active outdoor activities, and leave the politics of social activism outside the door.


4 Replies

Not sure what your point is.  The article was interesting- I did not know that the national Parks were officially unsegregated in 1945.  I have never known any form of NP segregation in my experience - my first visit to a NP was in 1949 or so, followed by a NP career, beginning in 1962.  I am still a volunteer in my local NP.

During that time, visitors of color were notably scarce, though I think that was a reflection of society in general.  Th career employees in 1962 were overwhelming white and male.

That is no longer the case.  Gender equality is nearer the norm and employees of color are more in view, although probably not quite up to their representation in the general population.

In general, today is a much better experience for us all.  Growing up in Mississippi during WWII, it wasn't until high school that I attended an integrated school.  Later I had extensive contact with Native Americans, especially Dineh (Navajo) and had many rich, rewarding experiences.  My successor at my NP is female, brilliant and highly qualified, as were my last two supervisors, the two best I experienced in my entire career....

We as a society are not yet at a point where we can say true equality exists, but we are much better than we used to be.


Onward!  (and I welcome REI's statement)

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

You mean call it the racism it is?

If you treat everyone equal, then no one is special. In the sound bite selfie world we live in, that is unacceptable because everyone is special and you shall bend the knee to their whim so that they can be special.

Equal is not the goal and hasnt been for a while.




At the co-op, we’re a community of people who have come together around shared values. That’s at the very core of what we do. It is important to recognize that one person’s lived experience is not the same as another’s. Just because you haven’t personally witnessed any racism in the outdoors doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The co-op will continue to speak up about this issue and to listen to the many voices of BIPOC individuals who share their experiences of encountering inequality in the outdoors.

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Thank you John,

My daughter is of East Indian heritage, my wife is Aztec Mexican, and I am of Welsh-Irish great grandparents. 

Racism and evil do exist….worldwide.

We have direct first hand knowledge. 

We will handle any acts of racism we experience in the great outdoors ourselves, and will be sure to give REI a follow up report.