Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Too Many Middle-aged, Middle-class Whites Use English Park

You just can’t make stuff like this up. No one would believe you.

In the Telegraph (UK) is this article:

Lakeland walkers 'wrong colour'
By John Crowley
(Filed: 03/01/2005)

The Lake District National Park is to axe the free guided walks carried out by over 100 volunteer rangers because they attract only "middle-aged, middle-class white people".

The scenic walks, which introduce thousands of tourists to the fells each year, are being scrapped as part of a three-year plan to bring more ethnic minorities, inner-city children and the disabled to the area.

The national park's authority said it would be able to meet Government targets to attract minority groups and attract more funding.

It’s apparently not a misunderstanding of the facts by the reporter, if these quotes are accurate:

Mick Casey, a spokesman for the authority, said 30,000 people used the events programme and 4,500 took part in the walks each year.

"Our research shows that the majority who do the walks are white middle-class, middle-aged people.

"The Government is encouraging national parks to appeal to young people, to ethnic minorities and to people with disabilities.

"It is saying we ought to focus our activities on these kinds of groups."

One of the volunteers has already given the government an idea of what they can do next:

Derek Tunstall, the former chairman of the Lake District Voluntary Rangers, said it was impossible to force people to visit the park just to meet Government targets.

Impossible to force people to come and fill the government quota? Just you wait and see, Mr. Tunstall. Who would have imagined the government would have gone as far as they already have?


Blogger Al Hedstrom said...

You're stretching this a bit too far, Micah, for two reasons. You're stretching (1) across the ocean to find something to complain about and even that's tenuous because (2) nowhere in the article does it mention quota.

I read what you've quoted here differently. I see this as an issue of white folks getting irritated that minorities are visiting the park and (gasp) the government was actually encouraging minorities to visit the park. This reeks of discrimination and even racism.

But you apparently ignored the bulk of the article to focus on " was impossible to force people to visit the park just to meet Government targets." And that somehow translates into quotas?

Is it paranoia or is the government really out to get you? Curious minds want to know.

January 03, 2005 7:44 AM  
Blogger Micajah said...

Al, as you have noted, the situation described in the article is occurring in England – and I am not living there. It would indeed be an irrational fear, if my interest in the situation were based on my concern for my own fate at the hands of the English government. But, I am not; so, it is not.

You seem perplexed by my use of the word “quota.”

Consider the definition of quota: quota – noun [short for Latin quota pars, how large a part] 1 a share or proportion which each of a number is called upon to contribute, or which is assigned to each; proportional share 2 (Americanism) the number or proportion that is allowed or admitted [immigration quotas] – Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th edition.

The excerpts of the Telegraph article indicate clearly that the English government has in mind the attraction of proportional shares of people from various racial, ethnic and socio-economic categories. (If you read the entire article, you will find that the excerpts fairly convey the sense of the whole.)

You seem to believe that a quota system cannot exist without the use of the word "quota" and a statement of precise numbers to define the proportional shares assigned to each category of people.

If that were true, then the government could engage in the most invidious unlawful discrimination imaginable simply by not labeling anything a "quota" and by avoiding the statement of exactly what number of people in any category would be acceptable – and neither you nor anyone else could successfully challenge that discrimination in court.

Would you have upheld the “separate but equal” standard of Plessy v. Ferguson if it had been described as “separate but somewhat similar” instead? Or, would you have recognized that the crux of the matter is the discrimination by the government on the basis of a person’s ancestry?

Finally, if you find in the excerpts or in the whole article any hint of anxiety or displeasure on the part of anyone regarding the presence of people other than middle-aged, middle-class whites at the park, please point it out.

I don’t see any indication that anyone is concerned about such an eventuality. Instead, it seems apparent that people who oppose the government's intentions are unhappy at the proposed cancellation of a program that costs the government very little (because of the volunteers' support of it) and that is enjoyed by quite a few visitors to the park.

January 03, 2005 1:46 PM  

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