By Nanci Dixon
I have had several weeks to think about and process the strong reactions many readers had to my article “Where are all the Black RVers?” A rather innocuous article, I thought. I felt I was basically saying that Black campers don’t feel safe or welcomed into what have been traditionally white spaces – that there is a history of exclusion within the National and State Parks.
I have reread the article, and then read it again and again, and still can’t figure out what was so offensive. It was just the facts of our lives and the history of exclusion in the park system, particularly in states where Jim Crow ruled. There was so much more that could have been said, from a personal and historical perspective. Perhaps that will come at a later time, when we are far away from elections, vote count, COVID, the economy, job losses, and overall world stress. Maybe then I will feel comfortable writing that article.
I was astounded by the amount of comments that followed! There were so many hateful responses that the RVtravel.com staff had to shut down the comment section. I read many of those comments before they shut it down and I was amazed (and not in a good way) and so very disheartened and sad at the amount of vicious, malicious remarks. It was not just some article – it was personal. It was about my family, my Black husband, my brown children, grandchildren and other Black RVers.
We are usually the only Black and mixed family in a campground and that has not stopped us from camping, nor will it. We have met wonderful people and have made some very good long-term friends. The lack of other families like ours, though, still begs the question: “Why aren’t there more Blacks camping?”
After all the hubbub, I thought perhaps Chuck Woodbury would ask me, kindly, to refrain from further controversial articles at best or ask me, again kindly, to not write for RV Travel anymore. I was amazed (this time in a good way) by the support from Chuck, the RV Travel staff and the hundreds of readers that wrote their good wishes and support for the article. They supported me and my family, and they supported RV Travel for the decisions made to shut down the hateful commentary.
For that support, I will be forever grateful, especially to those who said they did not agree with everything in the article but respected my opinion and the integrity of RV Travel.
As difficult and jaw-dropping as the hateful comments have been, it gave me a deeper insight into how divided and troubled the soul of this nation still is. That being said, the positive comments and letters of kindness I received outshine the hate. And for that, I am truly grateful.
So as I sit here, watching yet another glorious Arizona sunrise, I know that there is goodness in people. There is healing. I woke up this morning, still alive in a global pandemic. I am sitting in my RV overlooking the mountains and desert, living my best life ever. I am filled with gratitude, because of the comments left by some of my fellow RVers and in spite of others. Thank you, RV Travel – and thank you, readers.
NOTE FROM EDITOR: If you comment, please do so with respect. Thank you.