Why dont' black people go camping?

Black people don’t go camping. Before you even start to debate that assertion, it’s true, end of discussion. I started wondering why, though - why don’t black people go camping?

I think the obvious answer is “because they don’t go camping when they’re kids, so they don’t pass it on, so therefore it’s not a pastime among African Americans.” But why?

I have a few ideas:

  1. Camping is a bourgeois activity - the novelty of “roughing it” for people that never, in fact, have to actually rough it. Blacks tend to be of lower socioeconomic class, and therefore “roughing it” is more likely to be a fact of daily life and not a fun thing to play at.

  2. There’s a subtext in camping that it’s a regression to the past, the days of the wild frontier and colonialism and so on…except wait a second, that’s when black people were slaves. :smack: Therefore, they’re probably not that interested in reliving the, err, “good old days.”


Your “it’s true” cite offers statistics for Washington State, with 4 percent black people. It also cites a black trail coordinator. The rest of the evidence, such as “[Black focus group members] also characterized as unfriendly to blacks the small towns they’d need to drive through en route to places like Mount Rainier” is specific to Washington.

End of discussion???

“And there’s anecdotal evidence, too.”

I wonder if there is any hard data? I don’t doubt that blacks in America go camping a lot less, though.

My parents both grew up in the woods of east Texas in impoverished conditions. My dad’s parents had both died by the time he was 6, leaving him and his twin sister to take up with older brothers and aunts. My mom grew up as one of ten kids as tenant farmers (sharecroppers). Although they’re both white, I think the same attitude might be present. When I was growing up, we never, not once, went camping. The first time I ever camped I was an adult. For both my parents, “roughing it” is a fact of life that they knew well and would rather avoid, thank you very much.

I have been camping with black people.

End of discussion.

Heh. And did you look at the photograph? It’s the photograph of the black dude who can’t convince his (presumably) black mother to go camping… Not really a good link if you want to convince me “Black people don’t go camping”.

While I haven’t seen many camping it’s definately not a dislike of being outdoors.
I see tons of black folks picnicing, cooking, playing outdoors in many state parks during the summer.
Maybe they just don’t care to spend the night.
Who can blame them? To me camping = over rated.

Not just blacks. I don’t really know many minorities that go camping. Indian adults don’t; the kids that grew up in my generation might, but they’re practically American at this point. Neither do any Asians I know. They might go to the country and stay in a cabin for a few days but not camping.

I have my thoughts but I’ve tried to put them into words three times now and can’t come up the right way to put it. So I’ll leave it to other people to come up with why.

Yeah, I don’t like to camp, and I’m a nature-lovin white guy. I’ll stay overnight in a shelter in the middle of nowhere, mind you, even though it’s a bit boring, but lugging around 4+ extra lbs just for the privilege of getting rained on is not my idea of getting back to basics.

I’d say the first hypothesis sounds about right, while the second is out in left field. What white people go camping to relive Little House on the Prairie? And what about people in other countries that don’t have a history of Manifest Destinity? They don’t go camping?

My guesses:

  1. Many black people are urban dwellers. City slickers in general do not enjoy the wild outdoors because they don’t see the wild outdoors. I also think city slickers tend to be wary of rural, undeveloped areas out of fear of “crazy hicks and hillbillies”. I think black people are especially senstive to this because crazy hicks and hillibillies often equates to the KKK.

I don’t think this fear is limited to blacks. I recall going camping with white kids in college and one of the guys noticed that we were all “fair game” if we ran into the KKK during our adventure, since all of us belonged to some hated group (Catholic, Italian, Jewish, etc.)

  1. Many of the black people I know are into cleanliness and sharpness, especially in regards to clothing and hair. It is hard keeping “presentable” when living outdoors. When I go camping, I wear a headscarf the whole time. Some people would rather not do this.

  2. This is a wild-ass guess (bound to meet with disagreement, especially since it’s an old stereotype), but from experiences, a lot of black people are scared of animals. Especially wild animals. Black people even tend to relate differently with their pets than white people do. So this may keep folks from venturing out into the woody unknown.
    Given these things, I would expect black people who live out in rural areas to be more likely to be into camping in a proportion closer to their white counterparts.

Perhaps they don’t go because there are no other blacks there. People tend to self isolate themselves within their own groups.

Same reason they seldom ride motorcycles: they’re smarter than the rest of us.

I think it may be helpful to make a list of recreational activities in the US that are white-dominated and see if there are any common threads.

nude beaches?

As a black motorcyclist, I’m…not smart enough to formulate a response to this. :wink:

I’ve been camping once, which took some convincing from my non-black wife. I’d just never been interested in camping and the Great Outdoors before. It had never occurred to me previously that there was any racial element to my lack of desire.

I’m still not convinced there is one.

Is the point of the OP to get a rise out of people? I can’t see any other reason to make such a foolish statement, well, other than willful ignorance. Black people DO go camping. I’d have more respect for your query if you’d written “The number of Black people who go camping seems to be significantly lower than the number of White people who do. Why is that?” …but I guess that wouldn’t have struck the desired incendiary note. Sigh.

They’re all so busy not drinking coffee, they don’t have time for camping.

Doesn’t your first link answer your question and disprove your “blacks don’t camp” premise? I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that, in what’s become sort of a trademark style, you’re overstating your premise to get a rise. Still there’s probably a lot of pretty obvious reasons blacks are less likely to be campers (if that’s true, who knows? Blacks make up what, 14% of the population nationally; even if they were proportionally represented vis-a-vis whites, they would be wildly outnumbered) that are all hit on the article. Why not ask why blacks don’t surf, race dirt-track, bow hunt, play hockey, or sail. For each of these actvivites there’s surely a black person who’s an enthusiasts. Why not ask why whites don’t have family reunions in city parks or put hot sauce on fried chicken? I’ve done both.

It’s a bit misleading the way you ostensibly have two separate cites, yet the second one is just a page which hosts a link to the first one.

Here’s a cite that’s a little better: Nation’s Parks Take Steps to Attract Minority Visitors

I realize that visiting national parks != camping, but I can imagine some correlation.

If it’s true that fewer black people go camping than white people (and that’s yet to be established) then I’d guess one of the following:

(1) Blacks, overall, are poorer than whites, and therefore can’t afford to go camping.
(2) Blacks are more prevalent in urban areas, esp. inner cities, so camping would require much longer travel time (which also applies to #1).
(3) Black people are smarter than white people. After all…who the fark would wanna go CAMPING??? :smiley: