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Diversity on the Camino

Personally it's something I've struggled with my entire life. Why should we describe anyone by their skin tone? Then again, why should it be racist to do so?

When asked for a physical description of someone, what do I do? I describe them by the colour and style of the clothes they were wearing, their height, their general body shape (also a point of potential contention), their hair color, and, yes, their skin tone. (Which in my case varies greatly depending on how many weeks I've spent in the sun... ).

In a country as racially diverse as New Zealand it is very easy to trip up. Do I say Maori or of Polynesian descent? (Because unless you are aware of some very subtle differences - which do not always exist - it is very easy to mix up a Maori and for example somebody of Tongan descent). Do I say Asian or try and be more specific - and risk offence ? The list goes on.

Technically I am a 'New Zealander of European descent' . Which I find bloody annoying. I'm a New Zealander. Full Stop! But yes, I am therefore a white person, often referred to as 'Pakeha' in New Zealand. (Maori).

Years ago an American friend of mine called himself African American. He now calls himself black. Personally if he has to be categorized he prefers the term 'Black' to 'person of color' . His wife is a Kiwi. A Maori, although she is every bit as 'white' as I am. SHE prefers the term 'person of colour' . And so it goes on.

Like I say, it's something I've struggled with all my life. All I can try and do is be respectful.
I wouldn’t worry too much! I don’t think I have ever used POC or BAME ever in a conversation, and I can’t believe many do! I can’t say I would worry about using the wrong word (within reason)!

I guess the main use is for companies/organisations to capture data and look at at what to do with it and get to the root of any issues and come up with a plan to move forward.

So if we don’t capture gender data we wouldn’t know about ‘gender pay gap’. If we don’t capture ethnicity data we wouldn’t know about the much worse outcomes in pregnancies for black female in UK, or the fact that white and folks of South Asian origin have approx, the same level of asset holding in UK, but other communities have much less.

I don’t think we should overthink things (leave the PC gone mad elsewhere debate for the media) and should leave the politics to the politicians. All this thread should be about is how we do broaden the range of folks of the Camino,
 
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No it’s fine! We all do! That’s almost the issue. Everyone gets into the culture wars, politics, terminology.… it hard not too!!

If there were far more men on the Camino than women, or vice versa, we would look how to change. If it was all young people on the Camino, we would ask how can we encourage older folks and so on. This is just a part of that!
True, apologies I got sidetracked
 
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If there were far more men on the Camino than women, or vice versa, we would look how to change.
There were and it has. The pilgrim office website has detailed statistics for the past twenty years. Last year 53% of those receiving Compostelas were women. In 2003 women were only 40% of the total. I can't find any figures to prove it but my own impression from walking in 1990 was that women were even more scarce on the Camino then. A gradual evolution more than a result of direct intervention I think.
 
If there were far more men on the Camino than women, or vice versa, we would look how to change.
You mean there aren’t more women than men on the Camino? On my Primitivo we men were constantly outnumbered! (Not that I’m complaining you understand)
Opps, here I go again!
 
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There were and it has. The pilgrim office website has detailed statistics for the past twenty years. Last year 53% of those receiving Compostelas were women. In 2003 women were only 40% of the total. I can't find any figures to prove it but my own impression from walking in 1990 was that women were even more scarce on the Camino then. A gradual evolution more than a result of direct intervention I think.
Ah thank you! Was guess work on my part but yes agree that it is likely evolutionary! 53/47 seems a reasonable number!
 
Personally it's something I've struggled with my entire life. Why should we describe anyone by their skin tone? Then again, why should it be racist to do so?
Why not? I don't think that it's any worse than describing someone by their height, hair or eye color, but it depends on the context.

Say you saw someone drop their wallet, but by the time you picked it up you lost the guy in a crowd. If he were a Black man would you not describe him as such to anyone that you recruit to help you find him? In this case that's relevant information.

On the other hand, I had a co-worker once who referred to her daughter's boyfriend as "my daughter's Black boyfriend." If the boyfriend had been White I doubt that she would have called him "my daughter's White boyfriend" or her "blonde boyfriend." In this case skin color was not relevant, and mentioning it seemed racist in my opinion.
 
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There's an article on BBC today regarding diversity in hiking that fits in nicely with this thread.
Dovetails very nicely.
 
There's an article on BBC today regarding diversity in hiking that fits in nicely with this thread.

Thank you for posting.

The first two paragraphs sum up the issue quite well.

Glad there’s a growth in blacks and browns heading up outdoor activities for themselves and others.

A few years ago, Rick of Rick and Peg, told me about Black Girls Trekkin. I’d forgotten about it. Current responsibilities have me home bound. However, I just sent the link to two of my younger cousins.

Again, that’s for posting article.
 
A few years ago, Rick of Rick and Peg, told me about Black Girls Trekkin. I’d forgotten about it. Current responsibilities have me home bound. However, I just sent the link to two of my younger cousins.

This organization sounds awesome. I am glad to learn of it!

In my small neck of the woods, abolitionist and suffragist Harriet Tubman is where it's at. She was an absolute master of everything outdoors, reading the local environment so well - down to the smallest birdsong or turn of tide. I learned about a couple other cool organizations through her example, which is building outdoors walking communities around venerable and too-often-forgotten histories among African Americans. Hopefully these groups may also be of interest to people on this thread, with great trails and trailblazers.

 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
In my small neck of the woods, abolitionist and suffragist Harriet Tubman is where it's at. She was an absolute master of everything outdoors, reading the local environment so well - down to the smallest birdsong or turn of tide.
I think perhaps the difference between Harriet Tubman's era and our own is that outdoor activities have become somewhat "gentrified" and are now mostly leisure activities rather than part of one's daily life.
 
I think perhaps the difference between Harriet Tubman's era and our own is that outdoor activities have become somewhat "gentrified" and are now mostly leisure activities rather than part of one's daily life.

Definitely a fair point. Perceptions are tough. Impressions of gentrification are no help, nor social-media curation about some hypothetical "perfect" outdoor life, among others. I could never imagine fitting that life myself.

Anyway, in most major cities I can think of, opportunities to get outdoors are a very short time away and more people are looking for just that. It's good to explore together, welcome and reassure when you're in a position to do so personally (like leading a short day hike for people who don't know local paths, listening to their concerns - diversity does come up, some people can get truly scared and it's a big deal for them), and most of all just share a good experience, hopefully challenging preconceptions if needed.
 
A long time ago in a world far away I used to collect youths under an, for the time, enlightened sentencing regime practiced by the Juvenile Court and Social and Probation services in Sandwell & Dudley. We’d bundle them in a mini-bus and take them off to a stone house with primitive plumbing and little else somewhere in the Black Mountains of South Wales.

Most had never been anywhere that didn’t have streets or street lights. They had no experience of horizons extending more than a few dozen metres. They had no concept of “countryside” let alone “wilderness”. Walking anywhere that wasn’t the “chippy” was beyond comprehension. Sheep were threatening and cattle terrifying. A flock of Rook could send them scattering for cover. Climbing a mountain “because it was there” was just about the most stupid suggestion an adult had ever made: and those kids had lived lives full of stupid suggestions from the adults that surrounded them.

I’m still in touch with one or two of our “clients”. One of whom suggested, over a pint, that he’d been subjected to a “cruel and unnatural punishment” under the UNCHR. I’ve never been quite convinced that he was wrong.

Which leads me back to why don’t people who aren’t like “us” walk Camino - why would they?? If “we” really want people who aren’t like “us” to walk Camino then we have to stop owning it and start sharing it. Which means getting off this comfortable, safe space (special interest)(legal) corner of the internet and into pubs, clubs, youth clubs, church groups, yoga classes and green grocers and start talking about Camino. And perhaps not talk about it as some life changing therapy hike; as some way back to that god you forgot about until you found that lump; as the cheapest adventure you can buy, but maybe just as an opportunity to go and find out
 
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And perhaps not talk about it as some life changing therapy hike; as some way back to that god you forgot about until you found that lump; as the cheapest adventure you can buy, but maybe just as an opportunity to go and find out

Tincatinker,

Often your comments are humor filled.

But, every now and again your serious arrow hits the heart of the matter.

In 2002 at church in San Juan de Ortega after mass, the parish priest gave we pilgrims a tour of grounds.

His words were translated Spanish to English by an American Jesuit priest on pilgrimage.

Anyway, Spanish priest told we pilgrims some people dream about camino but never make it.

Others start but don’t finish due to toothaches, injuries, et cetera.

But, for the pilgrims who make it to Santiago it was incumbent upon us to go back home, make our part of the world a better place, and share camino with others.
 
Can I add into this again? Forgive me.
I am white English, nearly 76 now so brought up and educated in the then best Grammar school in London, 625 boys, masters wearing mortar boards and black gowns and all male and plenty of caning, in the last years of the British Empire educational system (you can imagine what we were taught about the world and the peoples in it? )- and reading the @nycwalking post again (for the fourth time) I now realise that my point of view on this subject is probably hopelessly invalid, invalid because I am white and English and old school and don't have to live with (or even notice) the small and 'insignificant' slights that people of colour have to endure every day - probably much more in the USA than elsewhere.

Here's the thing - my only racist 'insignificant' story. Many decades ago I was in Casablanca, Morocco, and I met an American guy, from LA .. he was broke (had run out of cash until the banks reopened after a holiday, no cashpoints back then) so I suggested we went for a cup of tea.
We went to a cafe with outdoor terrace and sat outside and I ordered - merely because it was my invite. The waiter seemed 'normal' but when he returned he placed a tea in a cup and saucer with tea spoon, with a small plate with a biscuit on it at my new friends' place, and to me set down a cup of tea, no saucer, no spoon, no plate with biscuit, and walked away.

My new friend didn't notice until I pointed it out to him and then he roared with laughter, it choked him up. Why? Because he was a young black guy and what the waiter had done was to treat me the way black people get treated all the time, because he and the waiter were black and I was white. He told me that this was the first time in his life that this had ever happened.

That has never left me, and, pondering more, maybe I do actually know why there are almost no metal detectorists who are black, and why so few on Camino - not because of those of we to whom it isn't important but because of all those others, Spanish and pilgrims, who would do those daily tiny slights that cut so deep.

So my thoughts. If I am wrong here I apologise. :-(❤️
It's the "you people" distinction! I found this hilarious when visiting Kenya with a school group (one of the "responsible adults" for heavens sake. If you knew me you would ask how I got invited! )
I loved being on the other side of the divide for the first time because it made me think very hard about diversity and privilege. This despite an upbringing in Birmingham, which is at least moderately diverse for the UK. I'm in rural France now, which is very non diverse. I do enjoy visiting anywhere that's more mixed, simply for the food choices. (Oops, that isn't very PC.) I shouldn't find this funny, it's a real problem, but it maybe wouldn't be better if we were all beige. Or would it?
 

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