The Snuggle Diaries has typically always been a way for me to share my thoughts and experiences in the outdoors. With recent events, I find myself seeking out the peace and tranquility of the outdoors. A trail run or hike allows me to think, muddle around an idea or problem, and find clarity.
I however have come to realize that I have been exercising a privilege I was not aware I had. Stepping out the door into the wilderness for my enjoyment is not as easy for everyone to do. Of course, I have always been thankful for the ability to physically enjoy the outdoors. Even though I run and hike slow, I physically can do both while others cannot. Besides a few precautions I take being a solo female going out on an early morning run or late evening hike, that my male companion would probably never need to consider, I still can overall enjoy activities outside by myself as a woman with no problems.
My bubble of ignorance has broken. I have honestly never thought about being attacked or harassed while on a run or hike (regardless of my location) due to the color of my skin. I can only say that the color of my skin has allowed the privilege of ignorance.
After becoming aware of so many unnecessary deaths and attacks on the black community I am no longer ignorant, I am very aware. Now when going out on a trail run, racist attacks and murders are a constant thought in mind; the thought that not everyone can enjoy the same things I do because they are not white. It makes me feel sad and disgusted that the human species who claim to be so intelligent can treat their own so inhumanly.
As I hike, ride, or run passed squirrels, deer, birds, and lizards I can’t help but ponder the thought that wild animals treat each other with more respect than humans do. And we grant ourselves the honor of being at the top of the food chain? Why are we treating each other like this? Why have I been so oblivious that my fellow friends, hikers, and humans are experiencing such treatment?
Know having acknowledged my ignorance I am trying to address my thoughts and actions towards reversing this privilege and ensuring that it is a right for everyone.
I researched and donated to Outdoor Afro a nonprofit organization that supports and inspires black participation in the outdoors. I have committed to following their organization and supporting their efforts along with participating in the ways that I can.
I have also been listening to those that I follow on social media; reading posts, following links, and watching what others are doing and not doing to recognize and assist in changing ideas and actions being carried out towards the black community. Listening and watching creators within the hiking community specifically, have been helping me to decide who I want to continue to follow and support.
I’ve also been trying to start educating myself via books like Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors by Carolyn Finney, and How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi.
Pointing a finger at myself and identifying that my own actions, beliefs, and ignorance have been harming others is hard and uncomfortable but nothing in comparison to the harm and discomfort the black community has been experiencing. I can’t ignore the fact that hiking, running, riding, etc. these outdoor activities that are so much a part of who I am, cannot be enjoyed by others simply because they are a different color than me and that’s not okay.
What organizations are you donating to and becoming involved in to support the black community?
What are your reading to help change your ideology?
Who are you following that are assisting in change and speaking out?
Let me know in the comments below to help share resources!
Other Stuff You May Enjoy:
My Book: Mini Misadventures
See all my blogs via the main Snuggle Diary Page