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Diversity among walkers

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timr

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Several and counting...
I am finding it hard to find the right place to post this, but I think it would be of interest to some people. It has wider implications I think than just in UK, and I would think is relevant to the Camino. I hope it is not in any way contentious but I am sure the mods will keep an eye out if necessary.

These are two recent articles from the Guardian. I don't think the articles are themselves in any way contentious - on the contrary they are cheerful and encouraging.

 
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Marbe2

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BAME? Really? As an Amercan, I had never heard the term before? When I read the definition of it, I was uncomfortable with it. So, I went to the internet and came across this article. Appears, I am not the only one who dislikes the term.

I know Timrs intention was to enlighten and not meant to offend, but the term, BAME itself is offensive IMO!😢


I am truly sorry if this creates, tension, but I do not think such an article should be post here!
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
BAME? Really? As an Amercan, I had never heard the term before? When I read the definition of it, I was uncomfortable with it. [...] but the term, BAME itself is offensive IMO!😢 I am truly sorry if this creates, tension, but I do not think such an article should be post here!
I did not read the two articles, I merely saw the headlines. I can only guess how they relate to the contemporary Camino de Santiago phenomenon. Namely to the fact, quite obvious to me, that it is far from being as global, far from being as diverse, far from being as all encompassing, as it is often described by us.

So. You can decide not to discuss this because it may become too controversial. Or you can object to semantics because you are not used to a term. Or ...

I am a non-native speaker of English from Europe. I read UK news. I am familiar with the term BAME and why and when it is used. I also follow US news from time to time. I am familiar with the term race and why and when it is used, I know for example that a category "race" is used in the official US Census and that Americans have no issue with assigning a "race" to themselves.

I find the term race in itself offensive, more so than BAME. Surprised? 😐
 

MichaelB10398

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
The Camino is, has been, and always will be for everyone. It does not matter from which nation, culture, religion, or any other number of things we use to categorize humanity.

I detest utterly and completely the perceived need to classify humans by color; particularly white. I value and treasure individuals from diverse cultures and skin color has nothing to do with it. May pilgrimage continue to grow around the world.

Like so many of this group, I have traveled and lived around the world including Europe, Scandinavia, Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, Central America, and many of the world's islands. I have fallen in love with so many different cultures other than my own. Never once did I limit myself to the color of my skin. It is my wish that the world's individuals can one day begin to see themselves as something more than skin color.
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
In the US, the equivalent is "Person/People of Color", which gets abbreviated as POC. I think this has become more widely used, displacing "minorities". Language will adapt to the needs and values of a culture, and culture is always changing. There are organizations here trying to expand the opportunities of outdoor experience to a wider and more diverse audience, too.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
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In the US, the equivalent is "Person/People of Color", which gets abbreviated as POC. I think this has become more widely used, displacing "minorities". Language will adapt to the needs and values of a culture, and culture is always changing. There are organizations here trying to expand the opportunities of outdoor experience to a wider and more diverse audience, too.
I did not read the two articles, I merely saw the headlines. I can only guess how they relate to the contemporary Camino de Santiago phenomenon. Namely to the fact, quite obvious to me, that it is far from being as global, far from being as diverse, far from being as all encompassing, as it is often described by us.

So. You can decide not to discuss this because it may become too controversial. Or you can object to semantics because you are not used to a term. Or ...

I am a non-native speaker of English from Europe. I read UK news. I am familiar with the term BAME and why and when it is used. I also follow US news from time to time. I am familiar with the term race and why and when it is used, I know for example that a category "race" is used in the official US Census and that Americans have no issue with assigning a "race" to themselves.

I find the term race in itself offensive, more so than BAME. Surprised? 😐

@Kitsambler Yes in the USA racial sensitive individuals would likely use the term “persons of color”...


@Kathar1na I am all for exploring the challenges that people of color may have in walking a camino! But I would not like to offend some in the process by lumping them into a category, which, in their own culture, they, clearly, themselves find offensive.
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Walked CF September/October 2015; Scheduled to walk April/May 2020
The Camino is, has been, and always will be for everyone. It does not matter from which nation, culture, religion, or any other number of things we use to categorize humanity.

I detest utterly and completely the perceived need to classify humans by color; particularly white. I value and treasure individuals from diverse cultures and skin color has nothing to do with it. May pilgrimage continue to grow around the world.

Like so many of this group, I have traveled and lived around the world including Europe, Scandinavia, Africa, the Middle East, East Asia, Central America, and many of the world's islands. I have fallen in love with so many different cultures other than my own. Never once did I limit myself to the color of my skin. It is my wish that the world's individuals can one day begin to see themselves as something more than skin color.
While the Camino, as well as all outdoor spaces, are technically available to everyone, historically and even today everyone has not been equally represented in most of these spaces. I agree with the OP that it is not a fact that we should ignore, but rather one that we should acknowledge and begin to ask “why”? If in fact the Camino is a welcoming and equitable space, it is incumbent upon us to ask ourselves whether and why inequities of access might exist. We know that there are disparities in some travel experiences, disparities that we are beginning to see addressed in groups like “Unlikely hikers”, (a wonderful social media group) in travel magazines like Condé Nast and Travel and Leisure-publications that have admitted that they frequently over represented white travelers and white travel perspectives, despite the fact that travelers of color spend billions every year, and organizations like Teens of Color Abroad, which seeks to open up language and cultural opportunities for students who are vastly underrepresented in programs of this sort. (This particular organization was started by a former student of Camino scholar and founder of the Institute for Pilgrim Research, George Greenia.) In a word still rife with inequalities, we need to ask ourselves why we are so uncomfortable with topics of this sort being addressed. Because until we are willing to acknowledge circumstances, we cannot address them.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
@Kathar1naI would not like to offend some in the process by lumping them into a category, which, in their own culture, they, clearly, themselves find offensive.
Neither you nor I live in the UK, and I guess we are both equally ill equipped to judge how offensive the term may be in the UK to anyone.

WE here on the forum are not used to seeing the term BAME.

I read through the long bbc.com article that you referenced. My impression is that the main objections to the use of the term is the fact that it is used when it is either too inclusive or not inclusive enough or used in a context when such a distinction between members or grouping together of members of society/population is superfluous or misleading.
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
I'm an Asian-American, and I grew up enjoying the outdoors and hiking on nearby trails. Since the area where I grew up is very diverse, I never thought twice about it.

So @timr I found the articles you posted very interesting, in terms of the barriers that minorities in the UK faced in regularly enjoying the trails. It *was* encouraging to see how their confidence grew and how they became an inspiration for others in their communities. I don't understand the barriers much because I never had to face them, but I can see that they were a part of their story and it was educational to read.

While I'm not a huge fan of the term BAME or even "people of color" (to me, it seems to set up white people as the "standard" and everyone else needs to be labeled) I didn't perceive the Guardian to be using the term in an offensive way at all. It's always food for thought, though, to think through how people of different backgrounds prefer to be called. (I prefer the specificity of "Asian-American" rather than being thrown together with every other minority group, for example.)

Thanks for sharing.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
Neither you nor I live in the UK, and I guess we are both equally ill equipped to judge how offensive the term may be in the UK to anyone.

WE are not used to the term.

I read through the long bbc.com article that you referenced. My impression is that the main objections to the use of the term is the fact that it is used when it is either too inclusive or not inclusive enough or used in a context when such a distinction between members of society/population is superfluous or misleading.
Neither you nor I live in the UK, and I guess we are both equally ill equipped to judge how offensive the term may be in the UK to anyone.

WE here on the forum are not used to seeing the term BAME.

I read through the long bbc.com article that you referenced. My impression is that the main objections to the use of the term is the fact that it is used when it is either too inclusive or not inclusive enough or used in a context when such a distinction between members or grouping together of members of society/population is superfluous or misleading.

Katherina, one does not have to be a member of that culture, to understand, that a term is offensive to a number of people in that culture and that we would be wise not to allow the term to be used.





I frequently vacation with two African-American sisters, They met us once in SdCfor the Triduum (2017) and then the following year met us in Sarria and walked with us to ScD. They also hiked with us in Switzerland on two ocassions and both are life long friends of ours. We do lots of socializing here in the USA. They have related that they feel more comfortable and secure in Europe traveling with us for many reasons, one being that they are less likely to be rejected somewhere or turned away because of their color. When we walked from Sarria, they only saw one other Black person on that 100 km, heavily traveled route and spoke freely about their feelings. In fact, we have spoken about racial/cultural differences often.

Why do we need start with an offensive term to some, that may alienate some readers who may be interested in walking the camino?
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I have read the two Guardian articles now that are linked in the first post of this thread. Both were written by Nazia Parveen, described as one of the North of England correspondents for the Guardian. Worth reading, imho. She published a link to the most recent article on Twitter with the comment "The BAME women making the outdoors more inclusive".

She has received a few comments so far: one asks her to stop calling us Black women BAME. I see Black women in the picture that speak to me but the words BAME push me away. To which the journalist replies that they have interviewed a number of women for this article, from different backgrounds and race. The article is not solely about black women hence the use of BAME. A second comment also claims that the article is undermined by the term BAME. I appreciate you are following the house style but you need to have a word about its continued use. It's so general as to be utterly meaningless.

As I remarked before: the main objection from UK readers seems to be that it is either too inclusive or not inclusive enough. 😇

Oh, a third comment in Nazia Parveen's Twitter feed: I wonder what they say across the world wen ppl from a range of ethnicities are described collectively? Drop BAME.

Not a lot of discussion of the contents of the two articles which I found indeed uplifting. For anyone. ☺️
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
I grew up enjoying the outdoors and hiking on nearby trails. Since the area where I grew up is very diverse, I never thought twice about it.

All this reminds me of the 70s when my cultural family background and growing-up environment (tiny agricultural village somewhere in the middle of the European continent) had already opened up to the idea of leisure travelling and in particular of travelling to the Alps, donning lycra knickerbockers and seriously heavy hiking boots and a backpack to go mountain walking for a week-long holiday while my English in-laws in urban London, who had lived in the country probably since the Norman invasion of 1066, were still turning up their noses and sniggering at "ramblers" 🤣.

"Ramblers" was a (for me) new English word that I learnt there and then, including its slightly offensive connotation (at least in my ears). But the times they changed and so did my in-laws ...☺️
 
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David Tallan

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
The term I've heard most often here in Canada is BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People Of Colour) which has, in many circles, replaced the previously used "visible minorities". It, also, has its proponents and opponents. Some, like Nate above, are concerned that it sets whites up as the standard or normal. Others find it useful to have a broad term for people who would benefit from the removal of certain types of barriers that create inequities. It certainly lumps people of different circumstances and cultures together. You could also say that the phrase "people with disabilities" also lumps together people who have very different experiences but who often benefit from shared efforts towards equity.

Personally, I respect however someone wants to identify.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
To Santiago and back (roads & paths; Tours; Francés; sea; roads & paths)
Why do we need start with an offensive term to some, that may alienate some readers who may be interested in walking the camino?
@Marbe2, I am not sure what you want to achieve by focussing on the term BAME? We can agree to not use this term in future posts in this thread. We won't make it go away in the one Guardian article where it is used rarely in the text but in the headline. A headline that we can immediately see in the unfurled link and without having read the whole article.

The OP expressed his opinion that he didn't think the articles are themselves in any way contentious - on the contrary they are cheerful and encouraging. I share this view. Perhaps we can divert our attention to the core of the articles instead of one single word? It would be a shame if the thread were to be deleted or closed.
 
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Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
@Marbe2, I am not sure what you want to achieve by focussing on the term BAME? We can agree to not use this term in future posts in this thread. We won't make it go away in the one Guardian article where it is used rarely in the text but in the headline. A headline that we can immediately see in the unfurled link and without having read the whole article.

The OP expressed his opinion that he didn't think the articles are themselves in any way contentious - on the contrary they are cheerful and encouraging. I share this view. Perhaps we can divert our attention to the core of the articles instead of one single word? It would be a shame if the thread were to be deleted or closed.
If you ask that question, then you can not walk in the shoes of someone who would be very offended in seeing that title? Yes, I would be satisfied if we NEVER allowed another article to be posted that uses a word in its title that is racially insensitive! Better yet, my preference would be to delete the whole thread so no person of color would be offended by it! With awareness comes responsbility....
 
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C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I would be satisfied if we NEVER allowed another article to be posted that uses a word in its title that is racially insensitive!
In the USA racial sensitive individuals would likely use the term “persons of color”...
You can equally find articles on people who object to the term "person of color" and to virtually any other descriptors of various aspects of our identities. There is NO term that is endorsed by everyone. We all know words that are acceptable in one place or context and not in another, and we need to be tolerant of others' use when no offense is intended.

I think that @Marbe2 and others have made a valid point that that classifying people by race is fraught with problems, and we need to be careful with the terms we use.

However, we do need to use words to communicate and to learn. It would be unfortunate if we could not read or discuss articles about how people face and handle the barriers (to walking outdoors) that they encounter due to the fact of racial stereotyping. If the article were offensive in its tone or concept, it would be deleted. The terminology is arguable, but it seems that there is no other universally acceptable description (although I hate acronyms). We are not going to resolve the issue here! We can watch how word usage evolves in society and try to be sensitive to the changes in acceptability.

In this case, we've encountered an unfamiliar and regional term colliding with a universally sensitive topic. Now that we have discussed it a bit, can we leave the semantic debate, and learn something about the important underlying issues?
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances. September 2017
BAME? Really? As an Amercan, I had never heard the term before? When I read the definition of it, I was uncomfortable with it. So, I went to the internet and came across this article. Appears, I am not the only one who dislikes the term.

I know Timrs intention was to enlighten and not meant to offend, but the term, BAME itself is offensive IMO!😢


I am truly sorry if this creates, tension, but I do not think such an article should be post here!
In Canada and US, the acronym BIPOC is used. It is Black, Indigenous and People of Colour. The BIPOC community has dedicated websites with resources, information about their founders, etc., for their community. At Black Lives Matter rallies earlier this year many people of colour wore t-shirts or had posters with the acronym.
 

Paul J W

Paul J
Year of past OR future Camino
Miscellaneous camino routes since 2000.
What this discussion is highlighting is not only the issue of ethnic diversity (and whether some groups are represented more than others on the Camino) but the diversity in an acceptance of common terminology when addressing ethnicity. Terms accepted in the USA, for instance, are considered offensive in the UK, and vice versa!
While this pertinent debate can run and run, I query its relevance on this social platform. The point has been well reiterated above that the Camino is open to all regardless . . . and while we all may have met those few individuals whom we considered objectionable it probably says more about us than them!
The abiding spirit of the Camino has to remain one of tolerance and compassion.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances. September 2017
I am finding it hard to find the right place to post this, but I think it would be of interest to some people. It has wider implications I think than just in UK, and I would think is relevant to the Camino. I hope it is not in any way contentious but I am sure the mods will keep an eye out if necessary.

These are two recent articles from the Guardian. I don't think the articles are themselves in any way contentious - on the contrary they are cheerful and encouraging.

Glad you posted this. I hike in the Canadian Rockies. This year there is a large increase in number of non-white ppl hiking. An unexpected impact of Covid? Thru conversation with some hikers I learned they would normally travel to another city for summer holidays, or on weekends go to movies, shopping etc. With travel restrictions and everything closed more people are venturing into the outdoors and exploring the local trails. Some of them might even catch the walking bug and end up on the Camino.. which would be fantastic.
 
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Camino Frances TBD
I'm an Asian-American, and I grew up enjoying the outdoors and hiking on nearby trails. Since the area where I grew up is very diverse, I never thought twice about it.

So @timr I found the articles you posted very interesting, in terms of the barriers that minorities in the UK faced in regularly enjoying the trails. It *was* encouraging to see how their confidence grew and how they became an inspiration for others in their communities. I don't understand the barriers much because I never had to face them, but I can see that they were a part of their story and it was educational to read.

While I'm not a huge fan of the term BAME or even "people of color" (to me, it seems to set up white people as the "standard" and everyone else needs to be labeled) I didn't perceive the Guardian to be using the term in an offensive way at all. It's always food for thought, though, to think through how people of different backgrounds prefer to be called. (I prefer the specificity of "Asian-American" rather than being thrown together with every other minority group, for example.)

Thanks for sharing.
I completely agree with Natefaith's posting. As an Asian-American woman, I detest the term "people of color" as it defaults the state of personhood to being white, and everyone else to an offshoot of a white humanity. I feel similarly about the term BIPOC which has become popular in the US and seems to be the British equivalent of BAME.

That being said, I always try to look at intentions. I understand the use of these terms is an attempt to address very difficult and complex issues and that their very creation comes from an acknowledgement that these issues exist. The intention is a step in the right direction. I appreciate the effort to create language that can assist in acknowledging or learning more about inequalities to minority groups, especially if it can bring to light systemic racism or other discrepancies in access/opportunities that we may not be aware of.

I am glad the journalist even thought to write pieces about underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in outdoor activities--and how wonderful that these groups are getting people involved in the outdoors that historically have not been. Many thanks to Timr for sharing with the forum. 🙏
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
That being said, I always try to look at intentions. I understand the use of these terms is an attempt to address very difficult and complex issues and that their very creation comes from an acknowledgement that these issues exist. The intention is a step in the right direction. I appreciate the effort to create language that can assist in acknowledging or learning more about inequalities to minority groups, especially if it can bring to light systemic racism or other discrepancies in access/opportunities that we may not be aware of.
This resonates with my thoughts on this subject.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I live in the US and when I hear the word "minorities" used in the media, I personally only see it as a reference to being fewer in numbers relating to the various ethnic goups...nothing more than a math figure. I never saw it as derogatory...but maybe it is in hindsight.🤔
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances TBD
Members might care to note that the articles cited in the OP were about the active encouragement and engagement of peoples from UK ethnic minorities in outdoor activities and the natural environment. The diversion of the discussion into semantics, accompanied by some fairly crass racial stereotyping adds no value.
I think it's always valuable when we can discuss complex issues in respectful ways. When it comes to race, the language can be fraught, and sometimes I think people avoid important conversations/topics because they are afraid of saying the wrong thing. Language is the first step, and I think it's really good to have a safe environment to say, hey, is this offensive or I'm not sure if this term is okay. Even from this thread, we can see there are many different opinions of what terms are okay to use, which is why I always go to someone's intention and try not to have a knee-jerk reaction of offense, even if something they say makes me cringe. I love that this forum brings together so many people from so many backgrounds and the opportunities for understanding that come with it.

In terms of the original post and article topics, for those interested, here are two American-based articles, one from the Sierra Club and one from the NYTimes discussing the same issues of ethnic minority underrepresentation in the outdoors.


 
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natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
The two articles @timr posted, and the two you just posted, @CaminoPrints , have really been so educational for me today :). I never knew that lack of diversity in the outdoors was a theme (simply because I never experienced it growing up, and in our life in SdC we see so many different pilgrims) but these are good things to be aware of and turn over in the mind.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
Members might care to note that the articles cited in the OP were about the active encouragement and engagement of peoples from UK ethnic minorities in outdoor activities and the natural environment. The diversion of the discussion into semantics, accompanied by some fairly crass racial stereotyping adds no value.
Thank you Tinc. I had in mind to address the walking issue of the OP anyway though.

A local TV show that deals with getting out into the outdoors had an episode about the formation of a hiking group for people not normally seen on the mountain trails. So this isn't just a UK thing. I seems to me that many veteran hikers would be happy to take newbies out to get them addicted. The problem is how to make the initial connection.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I am finding it hard to find the right place to post this, but I think it would be of interest to some people. It has wider implications I think than just in UK, and I would think is relevant to the Camino. I hope it is not in any way contentious but I am sure the mods will keep an eye out if necessary.

These are two recent articles from the Guardian. I don't think the articles are themselves in any way contentious - on the contrary they are cheerful and encouraging.

Thank you for highlighting this issue here.

I noted that the diversity of walkers on the Camino did not match the diversity within the countries that contribute walkers to the Camino.

I came across one overt instance of racism while walking that was aimed at Koreans but I did wonder if there was much more covert racism that I did not see, as I was protected from it by my own ethnicity.

I thought that maybe the issues around refugees within Europe may be one of the causal factors but on returning to New Zealand my eyes were opened and I noticed that even within the hiking clubs here and out on local trails the diversity within the overall population is not reflected in the people who hike.

What can I do to help change this?
 
Year of past OR future Camino
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I came across one overt instance of racism while walking that was aimed at Koreans but I did wonder if there was much more covert racism that I did not see, as I was protected from it by my own ethnicity.
Always such a hard and sensitive topic. As an Anglo White Male it is very hard to know what it is like for others. Though being married to an Asian woman has really opened my eyes to Racism and what she has to live with day to day. (Yes, even in Australia, such a multi cultural 'success!)

Classifying and judging people by their race, culture, gender, or whatever else is so deeply saddening. And as for terms like BAME.... First time I've heard that one!

Hopefully we can see more diversity on the Camino in years to come, so that the Pilgrims we meet along the way truly represent the diversity and richness of our World.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
A local TV show that deals with getting out into the outdoors had an episode about the formation of a hiking group for people not normally seen on the mountain trails.
Last time I looked there were few Windows on the Wild episodes on YouTube. There are more now but not the one I was thinking of. I found it elsewhere though.
I did just notice that there there was another Outdoors Afro Windows on the Wild episode on YouTube though. I never saw this one.
 
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2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I was once employed in the old Department of Multiculturalism and Citizenship in Canada, and have noted that there is a constant change in terminology-- I was years ago advised not to worry about it too much even though I had colleagues who were exercised over it. I try to keep track....

As I was once a frequent trainer of prospective pilgrims, I was sometimes pulled aside by pilgrims of colour and asked how they would be received in Spain-- recall that there were often media reports of mistreatment of minorities in France and Germany. I just told them to wear a Canadian flag or CCoP patch on their packs, and not to worry as the Spanish are traditionally very hospitable to pilgrims. I met with some of them on their return and asked them how they fared, specifically if they had enountered any negativity on account of their colour, and they told me that they had been received positively. One pilgrim of Haitian provenance told me that people assumed he was from Dominica, but were very pleasant. Several of them told me that they had conversations with Polish and German pilgrims about being Canadians from racialized minorities, puzzled by the phenomenon. The only unpleasantness seems to have been salacious attention directed at pilgrim women of East Asian origin, but that was in Madrid and Barcelona, not on the Camino itself.

Several pilgrims of South Asian origin expressed initial concerns that the Camino might be too Christian for their comfort, but found that there was space for all beliefs and none-- I had to remind myself that many Canadians have only encountered Christianity in the form of television evangelists and assume that these would be the figures they would encounter in Spanish churches. Canadian pilgrims of Korean, south Indian, and Filipino origin were often devout Christians and told me that they found themselves warmly received by older Spaniards at village masses along the way. A Keralan Bramptonian doctor, walking for a deceased patient whose faith had impressed him, said that he felt he was received as yet another foreigner, just perhaps a little more so.
 

RJM

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
A few times
I have never looked upon walking the Camino in terms of one's ethnicity. Mind you, I suppose I've seem quite the broad range of ethnicities etc amongst pilgrims but I never gave it much thought. I always figured it was a matter of interest not gender or race etc. Not everyone is interested in walking a very long distance that may take more than a month to do. Throw in albergue living, changing weather, hills etc and it diminishes the audience even more. I suppose it's just like not everyone is interested in playing golf, or tennis. Gourmet cooking, owning pets, swimming, motorcycles, classic art, abstract art, travel, flying in a plane, reading comic books etc etc etc. If someone is interested in anything they will seek it out and if possible do it. You can't make someone interested in doing something. Mind you, now where walking the Camino does have its less diverse crowd is in financial demographics. Not everyone who wants to walk it can and for quite a few of the faithful poor of all demographics they never will. That is truly tragic. More tragic than not being able to sell backpacks and hiking shoes to a broader ethnic audience. Everyone on this forum who walks the Camino is blessed they have the means and time to do it. Especially multiple times.
 
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