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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 2 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60
Author
(Institutional) Racism in Climbing?
PDRM
2/04/2011
10:38:26 AM
I'll throw some sweeping generalisations out there from the other side. I've been involved - as many of us have - with a number of 'adventure' sports over the years and here are my impressions of themes/leanings:

Paragliders; male, engineers and physical scientists with a smattering if IT, no discernible political leanings, age clustered in 30's but with tails in either direction

Rock climbers: mostly male, engineers/physical sciences/IT again, but in any event mostly with further education of some sort. Conservation minded and leftish leaning, sport climbers & boulderers a younger cohort than the rest

SCUBA diving; tradesmen (and partners, as is now a less male dominated sport) no discernible political leanings, wide age range

Mountaineers: diverse group, mostly male, wide age range, in Australia a sport that people dip in and out of

Kiting; young, tradies again, some IT, overwhelmingly male

Snow sports interesting; skiing mostly white tending older, boarding every race under the sun that can afford it tending younger - all on the same slopes. No obvious education or politics dominant

In Australia all are 'white' sports on the whole, I think as much as anything else because that's the dominant population group in these demographics.

Start the flames...

Paul
RNM
2/04/2011
12:27:13 PM
>Climbers certainly are not racist. They are one of the most welcoming
>group of people I have ever dealt with - a truly international band of
>brothers. Unlike many sports there is very little nationalism amongst climbers.
>On a roadtrip its very typical to be mixing day to day with people from
>all around the world - and to be getting positive encouragement and invites
>to stay from everyone!

We all band together and skip along, happily swinging our mallets and chopping one-anothers bolts... tra la la la laa.

Love it.

Yes, climbers are great fun to be with if you are a climber and care about climbing. I do not think the fact that you are white, and can travel to other countries and participate in a "white" sport, and be welcomed by others who either a) share your passion, or b) make money from you, is a good arguement that there is no racism in climbing.

However climbers are almost exclusively white, and from diverse backgrounds. They are influenced by their society (eg; Neil may feel put out at the mere suggestion he is racist, and feel the need to defend himself of that charge, as so many middle class Aussies do... uncomfortable feeling isn't it!). Of course there are as many racists in climbing as anywhere else in society.

Admittedly those that travel sometimes have broader minds, but they seem to just as often have broader foreheads and narrow minds.
Sturge
2/04/2011
2:25:40 PM
What about the institutional racism in racism? Are Asian people white in this situation?
Wendy
2/04/2011
2:46:33 PM
I noticed some racism towards southern and eastern europeans amongst climbers on various trips to europe. I think we're all aware of a pervasive attitude of such things as spain and italy brought the euro down and their poor economies dragged france/germany and probably any others who want to jump on the band wagon down with the common currency. Then there was the if we let all those ex russian states into the eu, we'll have a influx of them taking over our countries and stealing all our jobs. Climbers were certainly not immune from these sort of attitudes, includes climbers around Chamonix bitching about the Poles who come for the seasonal work (as well as climbing) and the predominance of eastern european climbers in the free Monte Cucco campsite at Finale was commented on by others as the scumbag site (they forgot to add Australian scumbags to their list).

Asians for whatever reason seem to be somewhat more common in climbing circles. As a few random theories pulled out of a hat on the spur of the moment, I suspect this is because of rates of asian migration to better off countries where they tend to do quite well, the rapidly growing middle class in countries such as China, India, Malaysia and Thailand, and the predominance of sport climbing in asia making climbing easier to access. Of course, we should also be well aware that many Australians maintain racist attitudes towards asians as well.
martym
3/04/2011
7:29:44 AM
On 1/04/2011 nmonteith wrote:
>- a truly international band of brothers.

Um...

nmonteith
3/04/2011
7:37:38 AM
Sorry about the optimism.

The point I was try to make is that I don't think that the lack of 'black' climbers is result of 'white' climbers not wanting them there. I havnt seen any example of this happening at the crag. I've seen real racism in Souh Africa and it's very unpleasant.
ClimbingNT
3/04/2011
8:32:44 AM
There are a handful of climbers up in the top end who are part of 'the originals'.
Probably because the demographic is also a lot different than most other places in Australia.

I think a lot does come down to location, exposure to climbing/climbers, etc.

For example, there are not that many euro sth Africans compared to other groups of races in areas in Europe that are big on climbing, therefore the number of climbers around from that race would be a lot smaller.

Climbing in Aus is no where near as popular as most Aussie sports, and a lot of sport orientated people would probably focus more on cricket, rugby, afl, etc than climbing.

It takes a special minded person to want to climb, not everyone is comfortable with the risks involved.. Stuff up playing footy and you may get a busted shoulder. Stuff up climbing and the consequences are a lot higher.

I am sure as time progresses and the sport becomes more mainstream, you may find that more and more people will get into climbing. For example, even in Thailand you dont see many Thai's climbing or DWS, as climbing is still quite a 'new niche thing' in these areas than a popular sport IMO. Its only a matter of time until more of the locals take advantage of their surroundings, especially if big sponsorships can be had.
Damo666
3/04/2011
9:01:57 AM
On 2/04/2011 Wendy wrote:
>... many Australians maintain
>racist attitudes towards asians as well.

Of the 40 or 50 Australians who have climbed Everest, only around 5 of those have not relied directly on much stronger Asian climbers to help them :-)

Sabu
3/04/2011
9:28:02 AM
On 3/04/2011 nmonteith wrote:
>The point I was try to make is that I don't think that the lack of 'black'
>climbers is result of 'white' climbers not wanting them there. I havnt
>seen any example of this happening at the crag. I've seen real racism in
>Souh Africa and it's very unpleasant.

I think you're right, I feel there seems to be a tendency to use the term "racism" a bit too often (this is one example). An interesting social demographic does not imply racism.

nmonteith
3/04/2011
9:40:25 AM
Exactly my point Sabu!.

stugang
3/04/2011
10:27:36 AM
Exactly my point Neil!.
hero
3/04/2011
10:29:03 AM
Well, it does sort off. It's the result of racism in society, but doesn't necessarily reflect racism in its participants. People have rightfully pointed out that climbing is a mainly bunch of white middle class people. And if you're a member of that club your options are more open than if your black or poor or both. So the demography of climbers reflects a wider racism and inequality within Australian society.

Wendy
3/04/2011
10:48:13 AM
On 3/04/2011 Sabu wrote:

>
>I think you're right, I feel there seems to be a tendency to use the term
>"racism" a bit too often (this is one example). An interesting social demographic
>does not imply racism.

I don't think it's just an "interesting social demographic" that aboriginal people have vastly lower life expectancy and living standards than the average for Australia, much poorer mental and physical health stats, higher infant mortality, greater rates of incareration ... in general conditions similar to poorer nations.

And it's all very well and good pointing at South Africa and saying look that's real racism blahdee blah blah - just because we can point out extremes does not mean something is ok for being slightly less extreme. And if you have a real look at Australia, we don't look that flash either - Cronulla riots, assaults on indian students, aboriginal deaths in custody ...

An interesting social demographic is the number of climbers and artists in Natimuk. A major social problem resulting from years of racism is not wildly throwing around words to describe an "interesting social demographic".

I'm not saying that it's specific instances of racism by climbers that have generated the lack of non-white people in climbing, but I am saying that it is the racist history and norms of our society that has lead to them being in a position where the possibility of choosing to take up climbing is far less likely.

Sabu
3/04/2011
11:00:35 AM
I never said it was an interesting social demographic that aborigines have a lower life expectancy etc. Frankly I agree with your points but I don't believe we can extend this argument to include climbing as inherently racist by virtue of our history.

Nooj
3/04/2011
7:24:08 PM
So what's needed to open climbing up to more diversity? Assuming that people actually want this to happen. I don't think it's unfair to say that climbers can be an insular group.
widewetandslippery
4/04/2011
2:04:07 PM
I just spent a week with the only Leb in Grenfell. The local population (read white anglo with a couple of more olive euro descendents) thought we were mad going climbing. We missed the $7 lunch special of cutlets at the pub which was brought to our attention.

We live, thankfully, in a world of uneven distribution of wealth. Equality is a falicy and if you want to be able to enjoy a romp rockclimbing do not wish for it.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
4/04/2011
9:30:04 PM
On 4/04/2011 widewetandslippery wrote:
>I just spent a week with the only Leb in Grenfell.

What does the wife, and dog/s, and wallwombat think about that?
Heh, heh, heh.


>The local population
>(read white anglo with a couple of more olive euro descendents) thought
>we were mad going climbing. We missed the $7 lunch special of cutlets at
>the pub which was brought to our attention.

So, are you going to change your user-id to Grenfell-Philistine now?

>We live, thankfully, in a world of uneven distribution of wealth. Equality
>is a falicy and if you want to be able to enjoy a romp rockclimbing do
>not wish for it.

At risk of offending the dog botherers, amen to that brother!

Mindtaker
5/04/2011
7:47:12 AM
I think some of the trouble in understanding why other 'races' don't climb is because we don't understand why ours does.

I think it is safe to suggest that the majority of climbers are from middle class backgrounds. Those that are not, at least that I have met, are usually upwardly mobile.

In sociology, there are strong arguments that the middle class in particular are moving away from traditional, collective modes of managing risks and becoming more individualised. This is largely because of neoliberal policies (the breakdown of unions or privatisation of healthcare are good examples).

I argue that this is causing a shift towards positive focus on individualised leisure objectives, ones where the individual, not a group or team, manage the risks.

Other cultures still give greater focus to family/community. Perhaps going away on a month-long trip to climb a pile of rock does not appear as important as being a part of that community? It leads to another question that seems to be avoided (or the answer is assumed): what is so good about going climbing?

rodw
5/04/2011
8:24:32 AM
On 5/04/2011 Mindtaker wrote:
> what is so good about going climbing?

That's easy, "the pub afterwards"...now what other great questions do you need me to answer grasshoper?

Superstu
5/04/2011
8:53:44 AM
On 5/04/2011 Mindtaker wrote:
>I think some of the trouble in understanding why other 'races' don't climb
>is because we don't understand why ours does.
>
>I think it is safe to suggest that the majority of climbers are from middle
>class backgrounds. Those that are not, at least that I have met, are usually
>upwardly mobile.
>
>In sociology, there are strong arguments that the middle class in particular
>are moving away from traditional, collective modes of managing risks and
>becoming more individualised. This is largely because of neoliberal policies
>(the breakdown of unions or privatisation of healthcare are good examples).
>
>
>I argue that this is causing a shift towards positive focus on individualised
>leisure objectives, ones where the individual, not a group or team, manage
>the risks.
>
>Other cultures still give greater focus to family/community. Perhaps going
>away on a month-long trip to climb a pile of rock does not appear as important
>as being a part of that community? It leads to another question that seems
>to be avoided (or the answer is assumed): what is so good about going climbing?

The middle classes go climbing because getting scared somewhere high and remote is the only rational response to leading an irrational, pointless, work-consume-die middle class existence.

However, as even climbing has been sanitised and homogenised, with reliable fix protection, easy access, glossy mags and tell-all guidebooks, the sport has merely melded into that humdrum pointless middle class consumerist existence too. There is no real escape.

 Page 2 of 3. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 40 | 41 to 60
There are 60 messages in this topic.

 

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