Skip to comments.Do white people dominate the outdoors?' MEC apologizes for using only white models
Posted on 10/25/2018 4:58:08 AM PDT by TigerClaws
In a surprising apology, Mountain Equipment Co-op, the Canadian outdoor apparel giant, admitted to helping advance the vastly incorrect notion that the outdoors is for white people only, criticizing decades worth of its own advertisements and catalogues for depending almost exclusively on white models to sell wares.
Outside is for everyone, MEC CEO David Labistour said in an open letter Monday. Its time we acted like it.
The letter titled Do white people dominate the outdoors? includes a collage of old MEC ads: white people hiking and biking and rock climbing and cross-country skiing; white people in khaki shorts; white people rafting in wetsuits
It was an unorthodox move, since the apology wasnt pre-empted by scandal as has become the norm but by quiet feedback, as well as an online survey of outdoor leisure and sport habits across the country, according to the company. In an interview Tuesday, Labistour said the tendency to use white models in advertising had just been a traditional thing.
Its how we grew up. Its a historic part of our organization and the industry, he said. Its been our industry paradigm. And its been, kind of, what weve always done. And sometimes we have to shift that paradigm.
Mondays apology was coupled with the unveiling of a new MEC initiative, bent on changing the way we represent the outdoor community. The move, MEC clarified in a statement, comes after employees and co-op members requested more diversity in the companys ads.
We know weve been part of the problem, Labistour wrote. This initiative isnt about patting ourselves on the back. Its also not about me, another straight white male with a voice in the outdoor industry.
Labistour told the National Post that revamping advertising to feature more people of colour would help attract a more diverse workforce for MEC stores. We have to be seen as a brand that represents the diversity of Canada in order to attract the diversity of Canada, he said.
Self-consciousness at work again.
I know of at least three black families who have moved here to Georgia in the last few years, from somewhere up north. The first thing they did after buying a house is have all the trees in the yard cut down.
One of them told me that his house backs up to the woods, and he’s afraid of the woods.
Here in Georgia, we cherish our trees - probably a holdover from the “pre-air conditioner” years when we were young, and tree shade was one of the ways of staying cooler in the summer.
I don’t do much camping, or hiking, but the times I have, I’ve never seen black families out “enjoying the outdoors”.
This is just a new, “something to bitch about” subject.
On the other hand, I notice lots of places showing only non-white models in ads. Going from one extreme to another is wrong. Unless, that is, they only want to sell to people of color.
No, but they finance the vast majority of your paycheck.
I concur and have seen the same thing right next door to me.Never see them out.
I go up to Raven Rock SP in NC every once in a while to hike the trails on a Saturday morning. It’s less than an hours drive from Raleigh.
I was a bit surprised the first time but now see black people all the time hiking some of the longer trails. Usually part of a larger group of friends.
They’ve replaced all the Whites with minorities, on their new crap, garbage website:
I’ve camped throughout the country for many years, and I’ve yet to see any blacks comping anywhere. When I was in the Army 1973-76, we would go out on Field Training Exercises, and blacks were afraid of snakes, lizards, frogs, turtles, and all manner of woodland creatures. Most white guys actually enjoyed getting out into the woods for a few days. Blacks would routinely go on sick-call so they could get sent back to base.
This company is certainly free to examine its ad policy and history. It might be a good thing to over-represent people of color in its ads.
However, during a 3-week ccamping tour of the West last summer, I observed that the outdoors was indeed dominated by fair skinned people.
I refuse to buy Nature Valley products after its ridiculous commercial which only shows people of color hiking, rafting, canoeing, etc. in national parks. Blacks make up something like 0.10% of all visitors to national parks. Truth in advertising vis-a-vis racial makeup is dead.
“On the other hand, I notice lots of places showing only non-white models in ads.”
That’s what I’ve noticed. I figured they didn’t have to pay the models as much.
One of them told me that his house backs up to the woods, and hes afraid of the woods.
Yes, of course
I have never seen a black backpacker and have spent weeks on the trail. Having camped literally all over the cuuntry, I can testify that there are a very very few black family campers.
I take my kayak out at least once a week and have never seen a black kayaker. I interact with lots and lots of fishermen and seldom see any black folks locally. I know that in coastal areas that is not true.
We are heavy duty visitors of national parks. Even though all feature some aspect of black influence on the park or monument, there are very few black visitors except for school groups with kids.
Upland hunting, I’ve only ever seen honkeys. Of course it might be a New England thing, but there you go.
To be fair, I just don’t see many black families in “the sticks.” I live in an area zoned rural/agricultural, and I could count on one hand the number of blacks I see on a regular basis.
Regardless of circumstance, I firmly believe in the “tribe” methodology of sociology where people self-segregate, because integration with a foreign culture is more difficult than localization with what already know and understand.
Truly virtuous would have been revamping their advertising without patting themselves on the back for being “woke”.
In answer to the title question, yes, unquestionably yes. White people do dominate the outdoors.
We are outdoors people and we travel. There are three outdoors groups: 1 The KOA big RV rich bunch that travel trough the outdoors. 2 The National Park/State Park set that has the save the earth types and smaller RV’s that get out and hike, bike and camp. 3. The back woods types that really rough it, ATV’s, truck campers, tents, guns and they hunt.
We are type 3 and also live in the woods.
Never, ever in our lives have we seen a Black family in either type. Hispanics and Asians, occasionally. Never a Black family.
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