Crossing the Color Line With a Different Perspective on Whiteness and (Anti)racism: A Response to Mary McDonald

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his paper is a response to the keynote address by Mary McDonald delivered at the 2008 NRPA Butler Lecture. Her paper on "Dialogues on Whiteness, Leisure, and (Anti)Racism" was subsequently published in the Journal of Leisure Research in the first quarter of 2009. While there are several areas of congruence and historical accuracy regarding McDonald's work, this present article includes a distinctive line of reasoning for how whiteness influences the leisure experiences of ethnic minorities. A different perspective on understanding racism in relation to recreation and use of parks as leisure spaces is offered and some competing viewpoints provided. This response paper provides a contribution towards the discussion of power, privilege and the continued existence of oppression and discrimination in this field. It suggests we continue to explore critical race theory in recreation and leisure studies yet this must begin with perceptions of "justice," coupled with a fundamental belief in the mere existence of injustice, if change is truly to occur. The intention of this paper is to support key components of McDonald's premise while also challenging conventional thinking. Additionally, assorted questions are asked to counteract some of those noted by McDonald, relationships between social and environmental justice and leisure are explored from a different lens, and suggestions for research directions are offered.

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  • Nina S. Roberts

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