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[at-l] Minorities on the trail

	Here's an interesting perspective for you.....I guess I would count as a
minority when it comes to a census of thru-hikers. Being bi-racial, probably
the smallest minority there is when it comes to race, sometimes allows a
unique insight to some discussions concerning race.
But before you ask, most of my friends are of anglo-saxon descent and I was
brought up in largely white suburbias.
	I encountered a black hiker in '96 who came to the trail to get his bearings
after leaving the army. He was an amicable guy, and I found him to be likable
company for the short time we hiked together. And in the course of trail
talk, the matter of race came up. Although I'm of part Filipino heritage and
look it physically, and not Black, he still found it easier to relate his
feelings about being a black man on the trail.
	And in part, I believe it was those same feelings that drove him away from
the Trail. He didn't leave because of the physical stress, heck, he was
probably the baddest power hiker I've ever seen, but because of how
uncomftorable he felt around a largely white community of thru-hikers. And
among the other hikers, I heard stuff that I thought existed only "out there"
about people who were black. In fact, I heard someone say how they came to
the Trail to get away from "them". HaHaHa I wasn't laughing.......it can be
tough walking in both worlds being bi-racial, and to my shame I said nothing
to this remark.
	But he too, was guilty of predjudices.....somehow developing the image that
every white thru-hiker treated him as a second class citizen even there on
the trail, which wasn't true. Every act of kindness, when it came to sharing
food or conversation had the potential of being misconcieved as something
offered out of pity...
	Yeah, the Trail has racial problems. It seems that wherever you have people,
you're going to have preconceptions and predjudices.

												Dude, Pass The Gorp
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