The Racist Trees of Our National Parks

Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage Mag, May 6, 2016

Mickey Fearn, the National Park Service Deputy Director for Communications and Community Assistance, made headlines when he claimed that black people don’t visit national parks because they associate them with slaves being lynched by their masters.

Yellowstone, the first national park, was created in 1872 in Wyoming. Slavery was over by then and no one had ever been lynching slaves around Old Faithful anyway. But false claims of racism die very hard.

Now Alcee Hastings, an impeached judge, and a coalition of minority groups is demanding increased “inclusiveness” at national parks. High on their list is the claim that, “African-Americans have felt unwelcome and even fearful in federal parklands during our nation’s history because of the horrors of lynching.”  What do national parks have to do with lynchings? Many national parks have trees. People were hung from trees. It’s racial guilt by arboreal association. Trees are racist down to their roots.

The origin of the bizarre racist lynching theory of national parks appears to be Carolyn Finney. Finney was an actress noted for, apparently, little more than an appearance in The Nutt House. Then she became a cause célèbre for race activists when she was denied tenure by Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management because her work didn’t meet academic standards.

Her supporters blamed racism, rather than her academic shortcomings, and protested vocally.

These days she’s a diversity advisor to the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board. What wasn’t good enough for UC Berkeley is good enough for national parks. She is also the author of Black Faces, White Spaces. In it she claims that “oppression and violence against black people in forests and other green spaces can translate into contemporary understandings that constrain African-American environmental understandings.”

Finney cites the work of Joy DeGruy Leary who invented a Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome that she claims black people suffer from. Affected by PTSS, black people experience “fear and mistrust of forests and other green spaces.” According to Finney, the tree is a racist symbol to black people.

“Black people also wanted to go out in the woods and eat apples from the trees,” Finney explains.” But black people were lynched on the trees. The tree became a big symbol.” Black people are triggered by trees and suffer Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome flashbacks. You can’t expect them to go to on a hike.

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Finney claims that Theodore Roosevelt’s vision of preserving beautiful natural landscapes was rooted in “privilege”. Or as Fearn put it, “Preserving wild places is a white concept, going back to Rome.”

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