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A new piece from the liberal outlet Vice exposed the alleged “deep roots” that “White supremacy groups” have in the U.S. National Parks system and argued that modern-day white supremacists are re-committing to “embracing the great outdoors.”
The Wednesday report, written by Tess Owen, began with an ironic illustration. “At first glance, it may seem out of character: Wholesome activities like hiking, foraging for berries, and camping seemingly stand in sharp contrast to the lifestyles of the basement-dwelling, far-right livestreamers.”
But as the piece explained, the far-right is supposedly getting into the great outdoors. In an order to educate readers, Owen provided one example of a far-right extremist group enjoying a park in upstate New York. “On one recent weekend, a number of young far-right extremists went camping in upstate New York. This ‘retreat’ was the latest in a national event series that aims to foster real-world relationships within the very online, youth-oriented Christian nationalist movement. “
According to Owen, these young men seek to foster a relationship with “the land they vow to defend against anything they deem un-American and un-Christian, be it immigration, critical race theory, or transgender rights.”
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Though not only did Owen mention how right-wingers are having a newfound good time with national parks, she wrote, “white supremacy has deep roots in the US wilderness and recreation movement ”
Her report is the latest attempt from the liberal media to attach nefarious right-wing origins and / or designs for seemingly apolitical aspects of American life, including motherhood and exercise.
Owen added, “And that history has made America’s national parks attractive destinations for white-rights activists trying to stake their claim to the land.”
Owens provided the example of the U.S. government kicking out Native Americans from the now-Yellowstone National Park area in the 19th century to back up these claims of racist origins. “In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a declaration that removed Yellowstone from public action and preserved it as a recreational space for all to enjoy. The tribes who’d lived on that land for thousands of years were forced to leave by the government “
The writer then explained that this racial element continued in the national parks movement, namely due to “simmering racial anxieties among some white Americans at the beginning of the 20th century.” Owens cited author Miles Powell in her piece, writing, “some white Americans began viewing themselves as an ‘imperiled race,’ and conservationists projected these anxieties onto what they saw as the rapidly vanishing natural landscape, which they wanted to keep ‘pure.’ “
“These conservationists embraced restrictive immigration laws, scientific racism, and eugenics,” she wrote.
As such, Owens declared, “America’s national parks were touted as places where all Americans could go to escape the stresses of modern life — though that really meant white Americans.” She also mentioned how national parks had “whites-only areas” in the Jim Crow era, providing more fuel for her claims.
“The racist roots of national parks in America have made them an attraction to white supremacists over the years,” the author added. She provided examples of various racist groups valuing national parks for being “not just free from environmental pollution but also remote, unclaimed spaces ‘free of contaminants’ — meaning, non-white people,” quoting Chapman University Professor Pete Simi.
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These “unclaimed spaces” exist opposite “urban areas or diverse parts of the country” which have been “viewed as ‘cesspools’ or ‘s-tholes,’ said Simi — hubs of moral and social decay,” Owens wrote. She then attached that language to former President Donald Trump, claiming, “This language was famously repeated by then-President Donald Trump during a meeting in 2018, who referred to Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations as ‘s — hole’ countries. “
Owens also claimed that these thoughts “provided the framework for ‘ecofascism,’ a racist theory that has surged in the far-right in the last decade that blames immigration for environmental woes.”
She then listed several infamous white nationalists linked to eco-fascism, including “White nationalist organizer Richard Spencer,” The mass shooter in Christchurch, New Zealand, who attacked and killed 51 people at two mosques, and the shooter who targeted Latinos in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. “
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Owens made an even looser link, claiming that this obsession with environmental purity lends itself to various white supremacists’ “clean-living” lifestyles, lifestyles Nazi Germany was concerned with. “Obsessions with purity and clean living aren’t just an American white supremacist thing. Nazi Germany was deeply concerned about the longevity of the Aryan race, and so encouraged a healthy lifestyle and a good diet,” Owens wrote.