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Ethnic minorities don't visit the countryside?

(83 Posts)
tatt Sun 21-Jun-09 09:19:21

"although about 10% of the population is of an ethnic minority background, only about 1% of visitors to National Parks are from ethnic minorities." from

Anyone from an ethnic minority have a view on why not?

HecatesTwopenceworth Sun 21-Jun-09 09:23:54

Dh says he doesn't think anyone can speak on behalf of every ethnic minority in the country and he doesn't have a clue but he suspects everyone's got their individual reasons and they don't subscribe to a particular code.

cor, he's in a moooooooooooood this morning! grin

SueW Sun 21-Jun-09 09:27:06

There's an article in the Times.

The writer takes his mum to the North York Moors. He says it's not really in his family background/heritage to do trips like that, because trips are to family, etc.

TBH I'm the same but not of an ethnic minority. Not v fond of the countryside, happier in towns but mostly prefer to visit friends/family

badgermonkey Sun 21-Jun-09 09:27:09

There was a really interesting article in the Times magazine about this yesterday - a man was taking his Punjabi mum, who has lived in the UK for 40 years, to the countryside for the first time.

SueW Sun 21-Jun-09 09:28:31


moondog Sun 21-Jun-09 09:37:17

Very interesting article.
I always enjoy the slightly incongruous sight of large Asian familieas occasionally congregating in the quiet little Welsh seaside villages around me.

This is an important point:

But there’s a difference between ignorance and “racism”, and one needs to remember that people in the country aren’t just hostile to ethnic minorities – they’re hostile to all outsiders.

What strikes me most is that the author's mother can't speak English after 40 year in Britain and he can't really seem to speak Punjabi to her.

edam Sun 21-Jun-09 09:47:58

I seem to remember a news story about a mountain rescue team in one of the national parks being turned down for lottery funding as they had failed to demonstrate how they helped ethnic minorities... <mind boggles>

Imagine one reason for lower visitor numbers among people from an ethnic minority background might be that mostly the first generation of immigrants moved to the inner city? Although that doesn't entirely explain why people don't go for a nice day out...

Is there any tradition of going to the countryside for the day in, for example, the villages in Pakistan where many of the Asian families in West Yorks orginally come from? Maybe if not, it just doesn't feel natural to first generation immigrants?

moondog Sun 21-Jun-09 09:50:24

Well I live part of the year in Bangladesh as dh works there and like he says i the article, people are either too poor earning a living on the land or, if rich, want nowt to do with thier agricultural past.

wahwah Sun 21-Jun-09 09:59:08

I suppose going out for the day should be enjoyable and relaxing and friends have said that in some places they have felt the centre of attention. Not always in a hostile way, but I wouldn't like to be stared at on a day out. This seems to have happened mostly in predominantly white country populations, for some reason North Wales being friendlier. Don't ask me why...

edam Sun 21-Jun-09 09:59:55

Author also comments that white working class people in the inner cities don't visit national parks. Which is a shame, given they were fought for by working class people committing mass trespass against the wealthy landowners who were keeping everyone else out of the most beautiful places in the UK.

The whole point of the Peak District Park - the first - was that it lies in between the industrial cities of the North and Midlands and the working class activists said it would be a green lung for people who lived in smoky, polluted cities.

moondog Sun 21-Jun-09 10:00:58

My Asian bil says he is stared at a lot coming here. Not in a hostile way but still stared at (prob. because with a white woman which is still quite unusual.)

moondog Sun 21-Jun-09 10:02:24

Mind you, I'd argue that very few people do actually visit in the sense we think of (ie. tramp about).My dh, as an agriculturalist, was very involved in Foot & Mouth thing which they saud would ruin Lake District.However, stats. showed that 90% of people don't generally stray further than 500m from their cars.

HecatesTwopenceworth Sun 21-Jun-09 10:11:22

Well we live slap bang in the middle of the peak district and can't say I've noticed anyone staring or generally giving a flying fuck. grin

ninedragons Sun 21-Jun-09 10:13:12

Having been an immigrant to the UK to a very ethnically diverse area, I wonder if it's linked to car ownership.

I'm WASP, but lived in inner London. I didn't have access to a car, and nor did many of my neighbours, so I certainly never went pootling about the Lake District.

moondog Sun 21-Jun-09 10:13:54

I think people stare at us a lot less than we think we do actually, whatever our colour or creed.
Most of us too busy thinking about ourselves.

moopymoo Sun 21-Jun-09 10:17:05

when I worked as a countryside ranger we had a county council policy of encouraging BME communities into the countryside. It was difficult to engage. We offered specific workshops, women only activites, transport from particular areas. This was on the outskirts of East LAncs, Wycoller. It would have been great to be able to do more as our natural environment is for all of us, and has great benefits for mental health and social inclusion. Funding was always an issue - ptojects got started then money ran out.

SomeGuy Sun 21-Jun-09 10:19:44

When my Mrs first came to England she was quite confused at the British propensity for walking for pleasure. Not really done in hot countries.

saadia Sun 21-Jun-09 10:20:39

It's probably true but I would think that the idea of going out to the countryside just doesn't occur to many people. I have Asian friends who were brought up here who love to go camping and visiting areas of natural beauty, also friends who are professionals, recently over from India with their work make plans every weekend in the summer to drive to places outside the city, so I think that things are changing.

I remember when I was a student an (Asian) friend and I made plans to visit Cornwall and white friends warned us not to stay out late as the people there weren't used to people of colour. I have to say though that I found the "natives" to be very friendly and welcoming.

moondog Sun 21-Jun-09 10:21:56

I was in the jungle up by the border in Burma a few weeks ago (as one is, in between ironing clothes and going to Tesco) and we came across a bunch of rich students from Sylhet on an outing.
The shrieking and stumbling and designer handbag clutching was somethnig else.They walked about 300m, then got back in the bus and roared off.

tatt Sun 21-Jun-09 10:31:46

SomeGuy I wondered if this was a cultural difference but when I visit hot countries there often seem to be people going for walks for pleasure. They aren't usuually in the countryside, just strolling along the seafront in the evening, but it does suggest walking for pleasure is not restricted to Britain.

As a child I used to go on long bike rides, from my town into the country. We were also taken to the nearest hills to run wild.

And having lived in rurual areas I totally agree that for some country folk foreigners begin two miles down the road. grin.

littleducks Sun 21-Jun-09 10:49:54

Hmm this is interesting

I have family in the west country and so have taken dh (british born asian) and tbh he wasnt too keen to begin with but now has a love for Dartmoor and last trip bought wellies! He also didnt quite understand the concept of keeping national parks to begin with, im sure he made a similar comment about lack of social housing and the big open spaces but am sure he would cringe at the memory now

I think he does feel uncomfortable and like he 'sticks out and is the centre of attention and staring' but we have found some areas are better than others. We go to touristy places and attractions (pony centres etc) and people are generally welcoming as nowthe want visitors to boost the econonmy

The food thing also hits a chord, my mil (who makes coach trips to the seaside in large groups so has picked up that british tradition but not the national park thing) tends to take food with her everywhere which limits how far you can travel as to how much you can pack. DH doesnt like to go without meat, or really too long without spicy food so trips away can get complicated finding somewhere suitable to eat from.

SueW Sun 21-Jun-09 11:24:09

Regarding transport - there's a fab Transpeak bus which OAPs tend to use quite a lot for days out (it's free with their bus pass). It goes from Nottm/Derby to Stockport/Manchester through the Peak District.

Even if you have to pay, it's £8 for a day ticket and that's transferrable to other local services.

SomeGuy Sun 21-Jun-09 11:39:42

I've seen this in Indonesia moondog, the local tourists arrive in their bus, walk 100m and go sit by the river, strew rubbish everywhere, ignore the fact that there is a nature reserve to visit, and then go home.

The Western tourists generally want to go for long treks through the jungle to spot wildlife.

tatt Sun 21-Jun-09 12:45:08

Some interesting thoughts there -

1. In the Times article they talk of the National Parks being for people who want to get away from others and maybe that is an alien concept in some cultures? So if you are trying to sell the idea of a visit stress the availability of space for large groups to picnic/ chi;dren to play?

2. The food issue - probably not as much of an issue as people think as you can take food with you (even hot in wide necked flasks). Nowadays even rural parts of Britain have restaurants serving food from other cultures. Perhaps mosaic need to do something on that, though.

3. Quite a few visitors to the parks will be on holiday. Maybe there needs to be more emphasis on the larger properties available for holidays if you are trying to target certain groups?

moondog Sun 21-Jun-09 16:10:49

I don't really think providing food exactly to tast of ethnic minorities is part of Mosaic's remit.

Jeez, in Bangladesh you get chicken curry, rice, dhal, anbd slaad wherever you go.That's it.Like it or lump it.

Britian has a wider range of foods than anywhere.

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