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Thread: Redlining racist?

  1. #31
    Senior Member dug's Avatar
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    I'm actually glad when I started this (and won't finish) 25 years ago I used a black marker....

  2. #32
    Senior Member dug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Over the years I have run into two individuals that claim to have hiked all the trails in the white mountain guide long before the official list of finishers was started. I had no way of verifying the veracity of their claims but they were quite knowledgeable of the trails. Both had similar approaches with respect to finishing the list which was effectively "been there done that". There is most likely a similar larger contingent of AT thru hikers that do not register with the ATC to get the certificate.

    The question is, is it an individual accomplishment if no one else acknowledges it?.
    It is for me, since I'm an individual who accomplished something and never went through with a patch. I go outside for my reasons, and my reasons alone. Therefore, the only one needing to be satisfied for said acknowledgement is myself.

  3. #33
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hachi View Post
    If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? Or as my guy and I like to joke, If a man speaks in the forest and there is no woman to hear him, is he still wrong?

    I find this topic fascinating, and liken it to a discussion we have often with mental illness. Many times, not knowing your audience, you can easily say someone or something is retarded, or moronic, and offend people who live with these diseases. I have quietly mentioned to a friend here and there, - hey, you know that "so and so's" child is autistic, right?" You might want to be careful with that term.

    It is not the intention of the person to hurt anyone, it is just ignorance and in most cases, there is an "aha" moment. We still slip, as old habits are hard to break, but at least we are more mindful.
    It's true that one may easily say that someone is "retarded" and offend someone, but in making the point you have done so. The word has long been considered a slur against people with developmental disabilities, a group with which I worked for most of my professional career. It is also incorrect in a technical sense to refer to people with developmental disabilities as having "diseases." This only further stigmatizes them.

    The debate about the term redlining is more subtle. To me, the practice of redlining is racist but the word itself is not. Voter suppression and gerrymandering are often inherently racist practices but the words are not racist. There's a difference. Certain words now commonly excised from civil discourse are intentionally pejorative and merit their new status. To me redlining is not in that category.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  4. #34
    Senior Member SpencerVT's Avatar
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    My personal general view towards these things is that it is more about intent than the word itself. What is the intent of the word or phrase being used? In my opinion, that is what matters most. However, I think, generally speaking, it's up to the group that could be hurt by it to make the ultimate call/feedback about these things - for the same reason I don't weigh in on the pains of child birth.
    Another sometimes used Hiking term is "Death March." This is used to describe a ludicrously long and tough climb, like the Presidential Traverse in a day. "Death March" has an extremely offensive and evil historical context so I choose not to use that term for a grueling long climb. I think in these two situations it's easy enough to implement replacement terms that achieve the same hiking terminology objective while simultaneously not stirring hurt in others.
    These questions and discussions though are complicated, and will continue to be as society grapples with them.
    Spencer
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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey J View Post
    It is also incorrect in a technical sense to refer to people with developmental disabilities as having "diseases." This only further stigmatizes them.
    You are right, I was thinking more about other mental illnesses as I was writing that but it was inconsistent with my example. Guess I should have used "crazy" as it relates to bipolar or schizophrenia. At any rate, most labels suck for the people they are applied to.

  6. #36
    Senior Member dave.m's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B the Hiker View Post
    I have been active in the rock climbing community for the last decade or so, and there has been a lot of soul-searching recently. The American Alpine Club has launched a new initiative called Climb United to grapple in an institutional manner with issues that have...gone unseen by some of us, because we come from backgrounds that benefited from our position in the world. For example, there is a climb at the Gunks called "Bitchy Virgin." I love the route, but the name, not so much. We call things like this "microaggressions." I suspect the route name will be changed, hopefully sooner rather than later.

    I'm an insurance historian--yes, that's a thing! I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the role of insurance in the American social safety net. Insurance companies bought the bonds of banks they knew were redlining, and they themselves redlined by not allowing agents in certain urban neighborhoods.

    I would invite people to step back from the initial knee-jerk reaction (which I myself shared), and let the idea mellow for a day. Use that time to remember that almost all of us on the forum are white, and that other races may have different understandings of certain terms. Once we have all mellowed, maybe we think about "hiking united," as it were.

    I suspect that we would all agree on two things:
    1) In the hiking context, the term is not used in a racist manner.
    2) It did have a racist connotation in others.

    If we agree on these two, then the question becomes, should we do something about it?


    Brian
    Thanks you for this post!
    - Dave (a.k.a. pinnah)

    " Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat." - John Lehman, US Secretary of the Navy 1981-1987

  7. #37
    Senior Member Mike P.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maineguy View Post
    Ya know, the whole idea of awarding patches and certificates smacks of a form of white privilege to me. I call it Hiker Privilege. It promotes inequity among the hiking community. Everyone should be awarded a patch and certificate for whichever accomplishment they desire. To not do so will harm their self esteem.
    I have them, however, they stay at home. Patches, we don't need no stinkin' patches. I also don't wear any bling on my Scout Uniform. For hiking, if we talk on the trail or summit great, you can figure out if I know what I'm talking about by talking to me. For scouts, if you are trusting your child with me, you better be talking with me, interviewing me, if you are looking at some patches to determine if your child will be okay with me in the woods or if I know better than to take your kid out in a bad storm, that's not wise.

    (I do most of my dumb@$$ stuff solo. I just listen to all the voices in my head to know whether to turnaround, no go forward )
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  8. #38
    Senior Member Salty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dug View Post
    It is for me, since I'm an individual who accomplished something and never went through with a patch. I go outside for my reasons, and my reasons alone. Therefore, the only one needing to be satisfied for said acknowledgement is myself.
    Yup. I quietly finished my lists with a group of friends, and granted, while I got the patches at that time, for me they are a personal and pleasant reminder of well-earned accomplishments. They're not on any equipment or clothing, and without them I would have still done it. I had a few goals that I wanted to accomplish, the lists were a means to that end, and patches were not a goal in the least.

  9. #39
    Senior Member Grey J's Avatar
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    I have been trying to think of another word that has multiple meanings, one of which has either a racist intent or history but whose common usage is benign. I have come up with sundown as in Sundown Towns or Sundown Laws. For those unfamiliar with the practice, many southern towns once displayed signs warning Black people to leave town by sundown. The signs were often blunt, nasty, and patently racist. My dad, a New Englander, was shocked when he found these signs still prominent in 1940s Texas when he served in the Army Air Corps (later known as the Air Force) during WWII.

    So in this context, the word sundown was tied to a disgusting racist practice. According to the logic being applied to the banning of the word redlining because of its association with discriminatory housing schemes, we could never use the word sundown again because in the past it was part and parcel of this horrible racial injustice. While I agree with someone who said that in general we should all take our cues from the offended party and alter our behavior so as not to offend, in this instance it doesn't seem practical or even necessary. If it was, we could never use the word sundown again.
    "I am a pilgrim and a stranger"

  10. #40
    Senior Member Puma concolor's Avatar
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    Neither the activity of hiking all of the trails in a given mountain range nor the offending definition that is the basis of this thread even rates in the top 6 on “Urban Dictionary,” which as we all know is the decider of all things.

    Just goes to show how myopia increasingly tempers our views of the vast world. We are trained to see only the things that are directly in front of us. Most folks don’t care about either definition of redlining being discussed here but the excessive focus on identity politics so easily drags us into discussions such as the one that is the topic of this thread. I could go on and on about my feelings about the forced wokeness of today that is so contrary to the “content of their character” beliefs that I grew up on and served me so well in the real world ... but I won’t.

    If you want to hike all the trails in the White Mountains and call it “redlining,” that’s totally cool. If you want to hike all the trails in the White Mountains and call it “Han Solo,” that’s equally cool. Folks just need to chill the heck out and stop worrying about how their own individual pursuits are viewed by folks who neither care about them nor the activities in which they are engaged.
    Last edited by Puma concolor; 03-04-2021 at 12:49 AM.

  11. #41
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grey J View Post
    I have been trying to think of another word that has multiple meanings, one of which has either a racist intent or history but whose common usage is benign. I have come up with sundown as in Sundown Towns or Sundown Laws. For those unfamiliar with the practice, many southern towns once displayed signs warning Black people to leave town by sundown. The signs were often blunt, nasty, and patently racist. My dad, a New Englander, was shocked when he found these signs still prominent in 1940s Texas when he served in the Army Air Corps (later known as the Air Force) during WWII.

    So in this context, the word sundown was tied to a disgusting racist practice. According to the logic being applied to the banning of the word redlining because of its association with discriminatory housing schemes, we could never use the word sundown again because in the past it was part and parcel of this horrible racial injustice. While I agree with someone who said that in general we should all take our cues from the offended party and alter our behavior so as not to offend, in this instance it doesn't seem practical or even necessary. If it was, we could never use the word sundown again.
    Nice example, thanks.

    I've noticed an almost knee-jerk reaction among the White majority when an issue like this is raised. It seems as if we feel threatened when confronted with a potentially racist practice, term or behavior.

    I personally don't think the red-lining usage in hiking rises to the level of racism. BUT, I am not the one who can make that judgement.

    A person of color noticed the usage of red-lining on a bumper sticker and mentioned it. If it is a trigger for them, then it's reasonable to discuss it in an empathetic and open way. No blame no shame.
    Last edited by ChrisB; 03-04-2021 at 09:21 AM.
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  12. #42
    Senior Member hikerbrian's Avatar
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    Having slept on this (good advice, btw), I land in the same space as Grey J and Puma concolor in the last two posts, as well as related thoughts upstream in this thread. This feels like another arbitrary litmus test (*Shock!!11!!1* 'You still use the word redlining?!! How COULD you?!!1!!!') that divides us unnecessarily into two camps. I say 'arbitrary' not because I don't understand the historical context of the word 'redlining' but because, as Grey J points out, there are a lot of additional terms that have similar potential energy; there are many other examples, and there's no good reason this one has risen to the forefront. I'll also add that I think these efforts are actively harmful. It would be one thing if there was nothing to be lost by simply finding a new term. But that is not the case. These battles are divisive and arbitrary, and as a result they actively turn many people away from the cause of equality. On top of that, a 'victory' - adapting a new term - will have negligible impact on getting a diverse population of people into the woods. In short, this is a hard battle over an arbitrary objective resulting in significant casualties, with little upside potential. We've seen this movie before.
    Sure. Why not.

  13. #43
    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    Thank you ChrisB and B the Hiker for your thoughtful posts.

    Most Americans, white Americans in particular—and I include myself—don't fully grasp the great evil of redlining. It is surely among the most shameful acts of government and the ruling white class since slavery, marginalizing and forcing the segregation and limiting the wealth potential for people of color for generations. This is an undeniable fact. Without substantial reparations, it may be that people of color never recover from the consequences of redlining.

    Is the use of the word "red-lining" or "redlining" by White Mountain hikers racist? I don't think so. Is it unwise and insensitive? Probably. Consider this: What would we think if there was a summer camp devoted to the game "Concentration," and someone was wearing a t-shirt say, "Concentration Camp 2019"? Are the words "concentration camp" anti-Semitic? No. Would it be offensive to many to wear such a shirt? Absolutely. Now let's say a hiker has a bumper sticker that says "I'm not lost, I'm redlining" and happens to live or work or pass through a Boston neighborhood, where the population is largely people of color and poverty is high. This neighborhood was created by redlining. Is the presence of that bumpersticker offensive? Absolutely.

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by TEO View Post
    Now let's say a hiker has a bumper sticker that says "I'm not lost, I'm redlining" and happens to live or work or pass through a Boston neighborhood, where the population is largely people of color and poverty is high. This neighborhood was created by redlining. Is the presence of that bumpersticker offensive? Absolutely.
    I don't see anyone in those neighborhoods upset by the train stations that display the term.

  15. #45
    Senior Member TEO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoshandBaron View Post
    I don't see anyone in those neighborhoods upset by the train stations that display the term.
    "Red Line" is not the same as "redlining" and a quick glance at a T map explains the name.

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