Saturday, February 4, 2023


Why saying “Black” matters: A reflection on last week’s article

Note: This is my opinion and not necessarily that of

Last week I wrote an article about a Black couple that is building an RV park in Alabama and received a myriad of comments. These comments ranged from “Congratulations!”, “Great job!”, “I wish them the best!” – to questioning why “Black” even belonged in the article. I was also told never to go to Alabama, I am not welcome. Several people indicated it was race-baiting, media-promoted and disgusting to bring up race.

Race is a conversation that is happening. It is a conversation that if you are white, it can be uncomfortable. If you are Black it is a conversation you live. It is my family being Black in America every day.

I was frankly amazed that there were any issues at all in this positive, supportive, newsworthy article. I am also amazed at how invisibility allows the same kind, generous people we meet in the campground to be argumentative and caustic online. We are full-time RVers. These are our neighbors! The negative comments both deeply saddened me and compelled me to explain why it is important to say that they are a Black couple.

Why does Black matter?

Black matters because there are so very few Black RVers and campers. Several people mentioned that in their comments. My black, brown and white family has been camping for 30 years and I can count on one hand the number of other black and brown families that we have seen. It was with great excitement I read and reported on Time Away RV Resort’s upcoming grand opening. There are so few minority-owned campgrounds that it was important to highlight the Lawson’s success in building one of the largest RV parks.

Black matters when my children and grandchildren can see others like them. My oldest granddaughter recently told me that other families just assumed she was adopted when we took her camping.

Black matters because it is an invitation. It is code for ALL are welcome here. It encourages people of color to come and camp too – enjoy nature, go to a NASCAR race, sit around a campfire, and have a s’mores.

Black matters when, and this is where it gets touchy, African Americans have not felt particularly welcome nor safe camping. The turmoil and division of this past year have not made camping feel any safer either. Without getting historical about it, suffice it to say that camping in the woods has not necessarily been the traditional vacation choice of African Americans.

Barriers remain news

Perhaps there will be a time in the not-too-distant future where identifying by race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability or ability will not be news. But as every barrier is cracked or broken, it will remain news.

And about Alabama – I meant no disrespect to the great state of Alabama. My husband is from Mississippi and we have spent a lot of time camping in both states. To the person who “uninvited” me to Alabama, sorry to disappoint but I just can’t wait to camp at Time Away RV Resort soon.

Read more about Time Away RV Resort in last week’s article.

Editor’s Note: All comments are welcome but if you are disrespectful or hateful we have the right to remove your comment(s) from our website. does not support hateful comments. 



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Brooks E Rose
1 year ago

Black does matter! For all the articles in the world that ever identified the suspect of a crime as being a black person, we also need articles that identify black people that have achieved or chosen something different. Children of all colors need to see, (adults too, apparently,) every example that they can get of people, of all colors, genders, and lifestyles, choosing and succeeding in all types of things. Too often, people are trapped within stereotypes assigned to them by previous generations. It does not matter if people of color have not usually camped in the past. It matters that people of color today know that it IS an option for them. An example of a black family that not only camps but has opened an RV Park, provides a much needed example of a lifestyle and a lucrative business that many people may have never considered possible, if not for the article. Thank you for your article!

K Cowdrey
1 year ago

I thought it was a great article and thank you for sharing.

Benny H Smith
1 year ago

Nanci, thanks for the well written piece. I Just added this new park as a 3 day stop on this year’s, not so direct run, to Florida. We are resuming our yearly escape from the Pittsburgh snow. Loved the fresh web site and the park looks great. Looking forward to our visit.

1 year ago

Many of us have played the game where we are asked to pick out the differences between drawing #1 and drawing #2. If you take them at face value they are the same….only when we are forced to look for those difference do they become an issue.

People are all built by the same maker using the same pattern for thousands of years. The fact that we have different wrappings was the choice of our creator, not our brothers and sisters. But the more we point out those differences, the more we see them.

For the past year or so, you have run a series that follows a couple step-by-step through their building a campground. I don’t recall your sharing their ethnicity with us. Perhaps because it was not important. Drawing #1 vs. drawing #2?

Perhaps the next series could be an exploration of minorities in camping…how many Hispanics, Asians, American Indians, et al. are in the mix? I am not sure why that would be of interest to anyone, but based on the assertions made here, it must be.

1 year ago

Nancy, your article makes the mistake of pointing out that you don’t see many people of any color camping, with the implication that “there must be a reason why this is so”! How about just plain old choice. That seems to be a word lost on woke society today, Choice.

Stating that there aren’t a lot of folks of color camping, why? is like asking why Polish people eat more pierogis than Italians. We all are where we came from with traditions and practices instilled into us through our upbringing.

I’m happy for the “Black” family that opened a campground. However, their color should have nothing to do with their success and entrepreneurial spirit, and that’s what should be highlighted.

11 months ago
Reply to  Vincee

If you are Italian you pretty much have always been able to eat pierogis. If you are black, you were absolutely forbidden to even enter parks, beaches, country clubs, lunch counters, and a host of other facilities, by law, in all of the south and much of the rest of the country. There was no choice involved, and so black folks today never had the experience passed down from their parents and friends as you did.

BILLY Bob Thronton
1 year ago

Stop with the color specific analogy. Hockey players by enlarge are that, hockey players. Basketball players are predominately that, basketball players. See where you read into it. There my friends, is the issue you bring upon yourself. A society who remains divided, because you allow others to tell you what you know. I leave you with those immortal words of Dr. King. He changed things, he truly didn’t see a difference. That was then.

Then we arrived here. Do some deep soul searching, and unless you see how we got here, there can be no solution to get back to where we were in this country, just 13 years ago. What was before, can be again. Dont let the hard work of Dr. King, be lost to history.

1 year ago

You hit the nail on the head. I camp with folks that are black, brown & white. I look at them as friends and fellow campers. Whether you are a good person or a bad person color does not matter. Just like I would not ask what color the owners are when making camping reservations. Yes camp grounds tend to be more white owned. But lets look at the other side. I do not go around pointing out every time a white person opens a hotel or convent store which are mostly non white owned business any more. Dr. King is rolling in his grave at what folks have done to bring division back. I am happy for this couple and hope everything goes well.

Last edited 1 year ago by Travis
1 year ago

I agree with all the positive comments posted, Nanci. Don’t sweat the ignorant ones. They are a slowly dying breed. Just a shame it can’t come quicker. Always look forward to your stories.

1 year ago

Stating that the Lawson’s are Black does matter. That they are tackling this huge project as a Black couple does matter. It is important to acknowledge the enterprises of Black Americans as well as those of people of color and do it out loud right now.
My wife and I as Q ueer white women are aware that we can ‘pass’ as straight and not appear “other.” People of Color are instantly recognizable as such at first glance and often just as quickly are deemed “other” & “not like us”. Skin color matters, though humans all bleed red and shed tears of salt, blood and salt are shed far more often by people of color for the sole reason that their skin is not white.
I lived in Alabama for over 20 years, BTW. Time Away is a brave enterprise by a courageous couple who are a rarity in the CG/RVing business!
Nanci’s articles are part of a nationally relevant conversation. Thank you RVTravel. Congratulations Nanci, for sharing your point-of-view (POV), starting and engaging in The Conversation.

Peter Dube
1 year ago

Great article and response. Keep up the good work and highlighting diversity.

1 year ago

Thanks for another great article Nanci, please keep up the good work.
It sucks to go somewhere and not feel welcome, or worse unsafe…. Been there lived that, and we pass for “white”. The more we understand each other, the better we understand ourselves. Acknowledgment, a smile, a helping hand, general friendliness goes a long way.

1 year ago

Well said Nanci. We all know that white and blue lives matter, it is sad that we need reminded that black lives also matter.

1 year ago

Sooo…here’s my honest and complete opinion. I’m 78 years old, grew up in Ohio with the proportional number of Blacks one would expect there living together in our town, playing sports and engaged in social activities with my Black neighbors. Went to college and into the Army with many Blacks who I never looked upon as anything other than equal. In my professional life had many who attained equal and or greater success for them…and their families.

THIS was because we were all Americans first…

And now generations later, as a White person, I’m expected to feel guilty about my “whiteness”, accept what the ghettos have produced, that which I had NOTHING to do with creating, not just understand but feel sympathy for the demise the Black community has allowed itself to become…I call horse crap to it all. If Blacks can’t accept me and where we all came from, what we all had the same opportunity and who we were…then I’m fed up with their self pitying. It all on them…not me!

1 year ago
Reply to  TangoChuck

This folks, is white fragility.

Bill T
1 year ago
Reply to  Angelack

I don’t believe “fragility” has anything to do with TangoChuck’s post. I have lived and worked alongside folks from all demographics for years without problems until this year when I was called a racist because I didn’t agree with BLM organization mantras. Contrary to popular belief, just because some folks don’t bow down or “take the knee” to these fools doesn’t make them racist and shouldn’t be labeled as such.

1 year ago
Reply to  Bill T

I didn’t say he was racist. No one is asking others to “bow down.” Making these inferences is part of what white fragility means. Do some research and you might come away with a better understanding of what white fragility actually means and can hopefully avoid it yourself. I certainly learned a lot about how I was complicit in harmful behavior and not knowing it.

1 year ago
Reply to  Angelack


1 year ago
Reply to  TangoChuck

You’re not expected to feel guilty. You’re just supposed to read the article and be happy for this couple doing what they are doing. Hopefully they’ll continue to help attract people into RV life, from all walks.

Nanci never asked for money. Nanci never asked you to feel guilty. Nanci was sharing a great story. You decided you should have some alternate feelings for some reason.

1 year ago

I am white. It is specifically because you are black and of a mixed race marriage that I eagerly anticipate and voraciously consume your articles (and because you are an excellent writer!). I thoroughly enjoy learning different viewpoints/experiences, am encouraged when I read positive stories like the one about Time Away RV Resort, and am saddened when I hear you receive negative comments that show that, while I believe our country has come A LONG way, ugly racism still exists in the hearts of some individuals. I would like to think that number is an ever decreasing, tiny percentage. But maybe that is wishful thinking on my part.

I look forward to your next article!

Patty B
1 year ago

I enjoyed the article and look forward to being able to visit the new rv park. What a shame our country is so torn after so much work that has been done to turn the page and have everyone strive for excellence. Our country should not have these issues in 2021. I love meeting people from all walks of life. That’s how we grow! I pray the new rv park knocks it out of the ball park. And I hope you have a fabulous time at Time Away.

1 year ago

“Black” does matter. As gay campers, we are well aware of this and go out of our way to chat with Brown and Black campers on the rare occasions we encounter them. We want them to know there is at least one set of friendly faces in case they need it. We appreciate it when people “recognize” us and do the same.

1 year ago

Wow! there are white bears, and there are brown bears, and there are black bears. Oh, ya, there are also some grizzly bears.

DL Jenson
1 year ago

Wish them the best~ it was a good article too!

Donald Schneider
1 year ago

Good pieces…both of them. We are full-timers and noticed a long time ago the lack of different colors in the campgrounds in 44 of the 48 states! So glad that there are some people willing to risk their futures to build and run a new RV park! The color of their skin is and should be irrelevant. The fact that a minority couple will risk all to open a park in Alabama shows a lot of guts. Their blood, sweat and tears are all the same color as ours. All RVers should cheer them on!

RV Staff
1 year ago

Good message, Donald. Thank you! Take care. 😀 —Diane

1 year ago

Just like every owner of a business and particularly RV parks, I wish them success and a great legacy to leave to their children and community. It is hard to be a business owner and will never get easier.

Karen Grace
1 year ago

Thank you Nanci, for your willingness to address hard stuff. I am so sorry that some people felt the need to make disparaging and mean spirited comments. I tell myself they are the outliers. We too will plan to visit Time Away RV Resort next time we go through Alabama.

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