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Cliff and shifts

February 16, 2011

If you want to jump off a cliff with a hang glider and skis and report out to the audience that the ensuing avalanche almost killed you, be my guest. Actually, in this case I was the guest at the Branff film festival on Monday. Beautifully filmed, thrilling tales of personal challenges of the extreme mountain and sea variety.

Yes,  I cried my eyes out when two young men were finally back in their mama’s arms after 60 days at on the Tasman sea in a kayak built for two. If  Sam or Marcel ever has a cockamamie idea like that… I was thinking while wiping my eyes with my arm.

If you take the films selected as representational of the people who are most like to LAUNCH into the thrill seeking category,  my kids have nothing to attempt to fear in the great outdoors.  There was not one person of color, (or a woman) in the seven films presented that night. Many well off, and well sponsored white men bungy jumping, “skurfing”, mad road biking, and paddling through sharks and high seas. There was the occasional indigenous person with an ice pick in the Himalayas but at that point in the night, I had lost interest. Not seeing my children, or myself represented in over two hours of “award-winning” films was disengaging.

I seethed over economics and lack of exposure and modeling in the world of outdoor adventuring. I wanted to know where the videos from people like Outdoor Afro were being shown, because that is the festival I want to go to next time.

My great ah-has from all this discomfort: a) thankfully I will never be a white man in “need of extreme gravity” and b) that doesn’t mean others aren’t and c)it took six years but my personal entertainment consciousness has shifted dramatically as the result of my parenting transracially.

Out here in the blogosphere we talk a lot about our parenting shifts, our curriculum needs, the resources we seek. But what about how you, as transracial parents choose to entertain yourselves? Have you noticed yourself becoming in practice more of an adult consumer of color- someone who wants to support businesses, musicians, films, books, and the like that represent, engage, educate and speak to your parenting in the hue too?  When do you notice your shifts?  Where is your balance?

Speaking of entertainment for my Cumberland County Maine readers there is a show at Bowdoin College tonight, featuring this virtuoso alumni, and mentor and good friend Hassan Muhammad from 7:00-8:00, doing solo piano to raise money for Haiti. We’ll be there in pajamas for the first half at least. His myspace is here, but thought you’d like this too.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Pete permalink
    February 16, 2011 10:37 pm

    Great post. As far as extreme sports goes, I would say economic disparity in our society and a host of other obvious factors still play a part in the little to no representation of persons of color. “Extreme” sports can be an expensive hobby thus requiring a decent amount of ‘personal’ disposable income. Of course that is not to say that there are not people of color in the sport, there is just no visibility.

    David J. Leonard, “To the White Extreme: Conquering Athletic Space, White Manhood, and Racing Virtual Reality”

    (In Digital Gameplay)

    http://reading-strategy.blogspot.com/2010/07/david-j-leonard-to-white-extreme.html

    • February 17, 2011 2:28 am

      Pete-thank you for the comment, and this article.I will read it. I have been thinking about the lack of opportunity many persons of color have had historically to just a day in the country, let alone wilderness adventure. (The Fresh Air Fund was started in the early 1900’s?) I know how much ease and calm, and opportunity even an afternoon hike can provide me when I need it most. That was modeled for me my entire life–girl scouts, family vacations, pitching the tent at the best friend’s house, nature camp…

  2. February 17, 2011 2:10 am

    Thanks so much for the shout. I agree with your sentiments, and you will find there are tons of videos and photos on Outdoor Afro that show African Americans engaged in a full range of outdoor interests.

    I also recommend Dudley Edmondson’s work: Black and Brown Faces in America’s Wild Places – awesome photos!

    Nice blog!

    Rue

    • February 17, 2011 2:23 am

      Rue,
      I am honored that you stopped by! I learned about your work last year, when I wrote over at Mom’s of Hue. I thought of you and what I know of your mission while I was at the festival. I will refer to the site, and hope others do too. Amazing resource.

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