Black Lives Matter

“Obedience is at the heart of political power.”

-Gene Sharpe – From Dictatorship to Democracy

“A dictator doesn’t maintain power on his own; he relies on individuals and institutions to carry out his orders. A successful democratic revolution prods these enablers to stop obeying. It makes them ashamed of their complicity and fearful of the social and economic costs of continued collaboration.”

-Franklin Foer – The Trump Regime is Beginning to Topple

Stances on Black Lives Matter from Backpacking Gear Companies (current as of 6/7/20 and excluding retail stores and shoe companies)

Osprey

Website: “Our differences fuel our strengths. At our core, we are steadfast in our resolve to leave our world better than we found it. Because of that, we’re choosing not to stay silent on the events of this past week and our nation’s long history of systemic racism. We believe there is simply no place for hatred in our communities, in our outdoor spaces—anywhere in the world, period. We stand with the black community to condemn senseless deaths and injustices that permeate all facets of our society.”

Osprey seems genuinely concerned about plight of Black Lives and murder of Mr. Floyd.

Instagram: Same as website. Very active in responding to almost every question or comment posited.

Facebook: Same as website. Very active in responding to almost every question or comment posited.

Big Agnes

Website: Silence

Instagram: Silence

Facebook: Silence

Gregory Mountain Products

Website: Silence

Instagram: Mealy-mouthed statement. “Over these past days we have taken a purposeful pause on content, all ads and other messaging to listen, learn and reflect and be very cautious of self-promotion during these challenging times. Our company may be small but our ethos is big. We believe that the outdoors is a space where every single person should feel welcome, safe and equal, without exception. At Gregory, we make products that help drive the spirit of exploration into everyone and in that exploration we often can discover and embrace the many differences that we all share together.  From our own life experiences we feel that change best starts with our youth, so we have always strived to inspire change by doing our part to help provide opportunities for those without access to the outdoors, access. It’s in our nature to want to share the benefits of the outdoors with those that have not been exposed, don’t have the means or are uncomfortable with the idea of it all together. To do this we have been actively expanding a decades long partnership with Big City Mountaineers, a non-profit that instills critical life skills in under-resourced and inner city youth through transformative wilderness mentoring experiences. Over the last three years we have doubled our efforts to bring more resources, cash and product donations, and more awareness to their incredible program and all their success stories. We encourage you to learn more, join the conversation and donate to @big_city_mountaineers so together we can help create safe, welcoming and equal spaces for all. We will be continuing a content pause to create space, while we check in and work with our partners, ambassadors and our community. For those that know us well, be assured we will continue our focus on providing gateway opportunities to get more people outside, so that we can all end up in a better place – as people, as a brand and as a planet.”

Facebook: Same as Instagram.

Zpacks

Website: Silence

Instagram: Silence

Facebook: Silence

Kelty

Website: Silence

Instagram: Silence

Facebook: Silence

Hyperlite Mountain Gear

Website: Silence

Instagram: Pretty rad statement, but no self-introspection nor follow-up plan.

Facebook: Same as Instagram.

Mountain Laurel Designs

Website: Silence. Maybe they will issue a statement in 6-8 weeks.

Instagram: Silence

Facebook: Silence

Pa’lante Packs

Instagram: Nice statement and will make a donation of profits from new zine to @outdoorafro

Gossamer Gear

Website: Silence

Instagram: Really shitty post, really shitty picture, really shitty statement, and really shitty grammar.

“If nothing changes, nothing changes. It’s our hope that this week becomes more than social media posts…more than doing what is effortless. As a business, we operate within the small niche of lightweight backpacking. A beautiful world of trails and footpaths. Trails that have, historically, been traveled upon most by those who’ve had the privilege to do so. And so we regularly ask ourselves, what can we really do, within our community to create a vision for the future that includes all hikers, from every color and from every economic starting point. We’re committed, and hope that you are too. We encourage you to take the next step. A step past social posting and towards finding time on the trail with someone who doesn’t look like you. Listen to them, ask them questions, hear what they have to say, and support their fight for justice. At the end of the day, these trails are for everyone, and so are we.”

This is the textbook definition of white privilege: “I’m going to say something, while not saying anything and not taking any blame.” Start by acknowledging any one of the thousands of people of color that the police have murdered. Just one. Mr. Floyd? Ms. Taylor? Anyone?

Facebook: Same as Instagram.

Mountain Hardwear

Website: Silence

Instagram: Nice, supportive statement to Black community. Promises to listen and be better in future. Nothing more.

Facebook: Silence

Patagonia

Website: Features environmentalism video seeking justice for the most polluted neighborhood in Los Angeles (they have had this up for more than a month). I love this company. They have been seeking change for years. Seem very supportive of Black Lives Matters.

Instagram: A powerful video and follow-up post featuring a African American activist eco-communicator discussing intersectional environmentalism. Great postings. I mean, it’s Patagonia; we know where they stand.

Facebook: Same as Instagram. Has a video on grieving for Mr. Floyd.

Enlightened Equipment

Website: Silence

Instagram: Two pictures posted in support of Black Lives Matter.

Facebook: Silence

Katabatic Gear

Website: Silence

Instagram: One stormy cloud picture with notes about being sad and frustrated. They are finding hope in the protests, are donating an undisclosed amount to NAACP and encourage all to vote. They also encourage people to fight for equitable use of green space by boycotting National Trails Day (I think).

Facebook: Same as Instagram.

Feathered Friends

Website: Silence

Instagram: Picture in black. Comment: Muted and listening.

Facebook: Silence

Western Mountaineering

Website: Silence

Instagram: Silence

Facebook: Silence

Granite Gear

Website: Silence

Instagram: Black screen with “In Solidarity”. Comment: “we stand in solidarity.”

Facebook: Silence

Six Moon Designs

Website: Silence

Instagram: Strong posting condemning the murder of Mr. Floyd. Donating 1% of June sales to two (2) sources: Blackpackers and NAACP in Portland.

Facebook: Same as Instagram.

Marmot

Website: Silence

Instagram: Rejects racism and hatred, yet somehow, whether intentional or not, insults other brands. They say they are standing, but it does not look like they stood for very long.

Facebook: Same as Instagram.

The North Face

Website: “Never Stop Standing Up: The North Face was built upon a commitment to serve all of those who love to explore. Exploration is a part of what makes us human and it has the power to change lives and connect communities. We also know that for far too long, the outdoors have not been equitable for all, especially Black communities. Black lives matter and they have been at stake. It is our responsibility to do our part to protect them.”

Provides lots of examples of how they will implement said change.

Instagram: TNF deleted everything on their page, except a short video urging: “Stop Racism”.

Facebook: Issued identical statement to website and video from Instagram.

MSR

Website: Silence

Instagram: Silence

Facebook: Silence

Outdoor Research

Website: Silence

Instagram: One mention of Black Lives Matter in a short video. Acknowledged systemic racism.

Facebook: While they appear active for Pride Month and are making large amounts of PPE, they do not mention BLM.

Arc’teryx

Website: Silence

Instagram: Two (2) postings. One says, “We have stayed silent too long.” Sounds like they will remain silent afterwards as well.

Facebook: Silence

Black Diamond

Website: Silence

Instagram: Two (2) postings. No effort.

Facebook: Silence

I think it’s worth mentioning here that Black Diamond is facing considerable pressure, as their CEO is also a major seller of the chemical ingredients that make tear gas. An anti-BD page is also attached.


5 thoughts on “Black Lives Matter

  1. Thanks for the post, Johnathan. Some nice thoughts, but too much silence from the outdoor community -it’s deafening! I’m from Mpls. and the refrain is not new here, been going on for too long. I watched George die a couple of miles from my home. It’s not new here… too many before Floyd… so sad! Yes, Black Lives do Matter, No Justice no Peace, Say his name and remember!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, a lot of research and thought went into this.
    One thing I would like to see more of: *actual* representation of non-white, non-dude people in their images, even for those companies that have made strong statements. I see a lot of 18-25 year-old extremely fit (read: thin) white mostly men, but some women people in their images using their gear. I would love to see POC, disabled outdoorspeople, all body types, older and middle-aged people in their stories, photos, ads, etc.
    Kelty, for example–they not only have silence on the issue, but also *every* photo on their page is an 18-25 year old thin white person. Thank you for your activism. I hope to get to meet you someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen to everything you wrote! That’s funny you mention Kelty. I was perusing their Instagram page and was shocked at exactly the same thing you were. Hope to get to meet you as well!

      Like

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