Note: This is my opinion and not necessarily that of RVtravel.com
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. RVtravel.com does not support hateful comments.