Title

THE WHITEWASHING OF WILDERNESS: HOW HISTORY AND SYMBOLIC ANNIHILATION INFLUENCE BLACK AMERICANS' PARTICIPATION AT NATIONAL PARKS

Date of Award

5-21-2018

Semester of Degree

May

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Major Professor

LEMIR TERON

Steering Committee Member

PAUL HIRSCH

Steering Committee Member

ELIZABETH VIDON

Steering Committee Member

SHARON MORAN

Abstract

Various publications argue that National Parks are not ethnically diverse amongst visitors and personnel, particularly amongst Black Americans. Although the most cited causes for lack of visitation to areas include cost, lack of access, lack of knowledge, and racial bias, more research is needed on how National Park promotional materials impact Black American visitors. This research offers an assessment of Black environmental attitudes regarding outdoor recreation with interviews being the primary method of data collection. Additionally, to investigate how park guides influence Black Americans’ attitudes and intentions towards visiting National Parks, a content analysis was performed. This research aims to fill the gap in information on how the whitewashing of wilderness has impacted Black Americans’ intentions to participate. Preliminary findings demonstrate that there is a symbolic annihilation of Black people in National Parks and that impacts Black Americans intentions; therefore, lessening their intentions towards visiting National Parks.

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