Every so often it becomes a national crisis for a little while that black people don’t like national parks. For example, six years ago, Ken Burns (a resident of Walpole, New Hampshire) directed a lengthy PBS documentary on National Parks around the not quite plausible theme that the history of the National Parks was all about Diversity. Thus, Burns’ series was centered around an obscure park ranger named Shelton Johnson who tries to talk blacks into visiting National Parks. For some unexpected reason, however, not enough African-Americans watched the Ken Burns documentary on PBS. So now an NYT op-ed asks:
… I also live in one of the Rainier neighborhoods, close to where I grew up, the son of a Japanese mother. I met my oldest friend in the Boy Scouts, an African-American from a family that, like mine, frequented the parks. In college, he and I led outings for minority student groups.
There was always nervous banter as we cruised through small rural towns on our way to a park. And there were jokes about finding a “Whites Only” sign at the entrance to our destination or the perils of being lynched or attacked while collecting firewood after the sun went down. Our cultural history taught us what to expect.
Not surprisingly, the solution is
… We need to demolish the notion that the national parks and the rest of nature are an exclusive club where minorities are unwelcome.
The place to start is the National Park Service. About 80 percent of park service employees in 2014 were white.
Affirmative action jobs.
But do blacks really want to be forest rangers?
Seriously, if you want more blacks to visit National Parks, ease up on the camping-only restrictions and put in more motels.