I have always believed that the initial step in addressing a deep and difficult issue – especially one that is controversial – is recognition: we must first understand that something matters; that it is real; that it affects people’s lives. Without recognition, without an embrace of the importance of an issue, we risk what will likely be at best a display of sturm und drang when we try to talk about it, signifying nothing but ego and personality. Yet despite the sometimes perfunctory dismalness of on-line comments, I am convinced by the experience of writing these columns that the issue of diversity in the park is headed for a substantive future, not just shouting and rhetoric. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Diversity’
Two weeks ago I posted my initial interview with noted travel writer and blogger Carol Cain. That column set a record for comments here at the Almanack. My own reaction to those comments taken as a whole is that they persuasively demonstrate the need for this conversation (fortunately the off-line discussions that have been spurred by this issue are leading to some productive initiatives… more on that in the future).
Subsequent to my first interview with Carol I asked her a series of of follow-up questions. I share her answers today. These questions were formulated previous to the posting of the first interview, thus not influenced by the tone and content of the comments. However her answers, written after the comments, speak powerfully for themselves.
Born in Brooklyn to a Dominican-Puerto Rican family, Carol lived and studied in the Dominican Republic as a teenager before returning to New York City to pursue a career in public relations. She speaks three languages. » Continue Reading.
Over the last few weeks I have been making an argument that socioeconomic and racial diversity is a primary challenge facing the Adirondacks. The core of the argument is that the Adirondack region is becoming ever-more sequestered racially as the rest of New York State rapidly moves towards a non-white majority and this poses problems for the future of the park. This sequestration cuts both ways – the Adirondacks lose and an evolving population that does not have a relevant connection to the park loses too.
So far my argument has been rooted in experience, raising questions of equity and social justice along the way. Proceeding from this experience I would contend that the my core argument is true prima facie – that is it is obvious to anyone with open eyes and a little breadth of experience in the world. » Continue Reading.
Last week I wrote a column about my personal experiences on the South Side of Chicago. My purpose was to frame the issues in terms of sequestration: when a region or area is overwhelmingly of one socioeconomic or racial class, it gets cordoned off – literally and figuratively. Other classes know little about it in experience and understanding. Stereotypes predominate. Economic and cultural gaps persist, even widen.
This is a two-way street. An obvious example is the gap in understanding between people who have lived all their lives in hyper-urban areas – say East 55th Street in Cleveland – and people who have lived exclusively in very rural areas – say farm country near the Ohio River. When the only experience of another way of life is popular media, the lack of understanding can be fractious indeed; witness the current divisions in American politics. » Continue Reading.
Last week I began a series arguing that racial and socioeconomic diversity is the number one issue facing the Adirondacks. My multi-part argument is sustained in part by overwhelming demographics that I will be presenting soon. But there is a deeper moral and cultural dynamic to my argument far more important than statistics. I need to get to it first or the rest of the argument will suffer a lack of meaning. As always, I’ll try to accomplish that with a story. » Continue Reading.
About a month ago I crafted a little poll for readers to take. The purpose of the poll was to test a hunch: that of all the issues affecting the future of the Adirondack region, the one I happen to think is most important goes all but unrecognized. So I wrote descriptions of the ten issues I had selected, trying not to tip my hand or show bias, and released the poll. The results, while interesting in their own rite, validated my hunch even more than I had expected.
Here is your ranking, the aggregate of more than 150 responses (some of you may notice that the results are different than published by me three weeks ago – additional responses broke the three-way tie for third place) :
After four nights at Lost Brook Tract with Amy, two adult sons and our irrepressible dog Henderson, I’m raring to go for another year of Almanacking, though my contributions will be a little less frequent as I bear down with more purpose on the book I’m undertaking.
This stay at Lost Brook Tract was the best ever. The weather conditions and quality of light were the most beautiful I’ve ever experienced in the Adirondacks, to which the photo can attest. It was truly luminous. There was less snow than in past years but no less winter. The temperatures ranged from a positively balmy 35 degrees on the first afternoon to properly Adirondack zero-and-below readings the last two days. For New Year’s Eve I served a bottle of Prosecco we’d carried in. It was frozen. That’s cold. I can report that thawing Prosecco by positioning it next to a flaming birch log flattens it into tepid watery juice faster than any other method I know. Oh well, we had hot chocolate too. And the salmon pasta was “spiced” with a little rye, which thanks to its higher alcohol content resolutely maintained its golden liquidity to the bitter end. » Continue Reading.
Thank you readers! The results of my little poll exceeded my expectations. I received nearly 150 responses, a great number.
Let me remind you that this poll was intended to be neither scientific nor comprehensive. It was designed by me to see if the results would highlight what I think is a hidden issue concerning the future of the Adirondack Park. It did that for sure, but it also provided other insights.
Here is how the issues fell out, ranked by weighted average:
When it comes to major issues that impact the future of the Adirondacks this year has been one of the most event-filled in decades. From the ongoing Adirondack Club and Resort debate and the orbiting cluster of questions related to private land use to the continuing economic wins for the North Country, the recent constitutional amendments and the classification of the Finch Pruyn lands, this has been a pivotal time.
My reading of recent events is that most of the news is good news for the park. It seems to me that stakeholders in the Adirondacks are responding to the challenges we face with concrete initiatives that are making a difference but also with a sense of intelligence: people are thinking a lot about matters in the park and there seems to be a higher level of general understanding of these challenges than in years past. » Continue Reading.
While opponents of same sex marriage deny the existence of any correlation between marriage equality and extending voting rights to women and civil and social rights to African-Americans, the three movements are clearly within the American grain. The famous photo by Mathew Brady of Abraham Lincoln with his son Tad suggested that thought to me, in a round about way.
When my parents moved to the Adirondacks in 1956, they rented a cottage on the Lewis estate of John Milholland, who had made a fortune from the pneumatic tube. » Continue Reading.
A while back I asked why it matters whether women are represented in science? I was interested to know if we care about whether a variety of communities show up in fields, professions and pastimes, why do we care? Is it simply a matter of increasing the number of loyalists to our mission, or does it come from an openness to change the very system that stands resolute like Uncle Sam declaring “I want you!” » Continue Reading.
During the opening ceremony of the new Scaroon Manor Campground and Day Use Area on Schroon Lake, State Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward told a short story. Standing at a podium under a newly built pavilion on the sweeping grounds of the former resort turned DEC Campground, Sayward told a small crowd that when she was young, she “couldn’t afford to come here.” Once, she said, on a school field trip she had come to the Scaroon Manor resort by bus for the day and was amazed by what she saw. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts–The Arts Center in Blue Mountain Lake is hosting Out in the Adirondacks at Great Camp Sagamore, August 21st – 23rd. According to the Arts Center this will be the first event of its kind–a destination weekend in the beautiful Adirondack Mountains for the “out” population and their supporters that celebrates the diversity of the human experience.
The weekend includes a concert by singer/songwriter Catie Curtis, a one-man comedic show by actor/comedian Steve Hayes, an old-fashioned square dance, open mic, and more. The family-friendly lodging, food, and entertainment package will cost $249. According to their website, the Arts Center is revitalizing its mission established over forty-two years. The Center was the first community arts center in the Adirondack Park.
The Glens Falls Post Star is reporting today that they “received three letters to the editor alleging transgender discrimination on South Street.” Though they are at pains to diminish the seriousness of denying people basic human rights, here’s the evidence:
Diane Bement, owner of Beamer’s Pub, said Adams came to her bar one day and used the women’s restroom. When she came out, Bement said she “told him to use the men’s room” in the future.
Old McDonald’s Too had a sign on its front door Tuesday that read, “No Drama No Drags.” The sign was posted by customers and remained on the door for about three weeks, said Harry Knoblauch III, who is in the process of taking over the bar’s liquor license.
Other hand-made signs in the bar address proper bathroom etiquette. A sign over the toilet in the women’s bathroom tells patrons who might be standing while going to the bathroom that they should be in the men’s bathroom. Another tells men that there is no excuse to use the women’s room because of a dirty toilet seat in men’s room.
After The Post-Star visited the bar, the sign on the front door was taken down along with another sign in the bar that read “no chicks with (expletive),” Knoblauch said.