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ARTICLE: Black People Don't Climb, Do They?

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 UKC Articles 23 Jul 2020
Raheim Robinson. '"Black people don't climb, do they?" was something I asked myself daily.'

US Creative director, climber and actor Raheim Robinson shares his experience of discovering climbing and finding himself through the sport, despite the difficulties he's faced as a black man in a predominantly white activity.

'I soon realised that climbing was the therapy I needed; the missing piece in my life wasn't something outside of me, rather it was already within me and climbing gave me the safe space to allow me to just be.'



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11
In reply to UKC Articles:

I loved reading this. Thanks!

1
 Michael Gordon 23 Jul 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Like in any environment, the more (other) black people we see, the more natural it will seem. In the meantime there's inevitably going to be a phase of a few pioneers sticking their neck out in order to encourage others.

 hwackerhage 23 Jul 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Not a climber but a mountaineering legend and a guy people like myself look up to: Charlie Ramsay https://www.ramsaysround.co.uk/ Any chance of a UKC writer writing an article about him?

Post edited at 22:15
 AlanLittle 24 Jul 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I met & climbed with a guy at a climbing wall in Berkeley in the early 90s. It was my first time in the States and my knowledge of the US climbing scene was limited to what I had read in magazines. I mentioned that there were hardly any black climbers in the UK, and asked if it was different over there. "No" he said "but I'm from Arizona so I'm used to being the only black guy in the room".

In reply to UKC Articles:

Here's one black guy who's been at it for quite a while...


In reply to UKC Articles:

In fact, this was part of the reason we spent three years in Cape Town.

Post edited at 11:21

In reply to UKC Articles:

Thanks for sharing your story, really enjoyed your article. 

1
 mdstarr1 28 Jul 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Just climb and Enjoy. Forget the Politics. Trump is not racist.

Climbing has been a field where Politics is irrelevant. I have climbed with many different people with various views and have never let it interfere with the sport. Grow up.

75
 danm 28 Jul 2020
In reply to mdstarr1:

> Just climb and Enjoy. Forget the Politics. Trump is not racist.

> Climbing has been a field where Politics is irrelevant. I have climbed with many different people with various views and have never let it interfere with the sport. Grow up.

What's that I hear? Oh, it's the voice of privilege.

29
In reply to UKC Articles:

I always hate to let this topic pass without recalling my favourite ever UKC post, on a similar thread.

'Of course black people climb. Look at Kenton Cool.'

I've never been able to work out whether the poster was a moron or had a dry and black sense of humour - always the best sort of post. I like to think the latter.

jcm

 philjones8 30 Jul 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Sad to see the politics of racism brought into climbing. The Mountains are neutral . The crags are colour blind. Please don't problematize whiteness in our sport. Just get on with climbing.

40
 Murderous_Crow 31 Jul 2020
In reply to philjones8:

Crags may be 'colour blind'. 

Culture is not.

I suspect you might feel uncomfortable going to take part in a new and risky activity (one where you put responsibility for your life in someone else's hands) while feeling the weight of being inherently different to the vast majority of people around you. 

13
 Donotello 31 Jul 2020
In reply to philjones8:

This is pure ignorance. I’m just a random nobody and I’m not political at all but if there’s ONE thing I have noticed my entire climbing career it’s that it’s the whitest thing in my life. It’s natural for people to want to know why that might be and if there’s any way we can help it not be. 

15
 Donotello 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Donotello:

The dislikes to replies like mine make me feel a bit sick for this sport, it literally highlights there’s a problem that you’re probably telling people doesn’t exist. Irony. 

13
 ClimberEd 31 Jul 2020
In reply to danm:

> What's that I hear? Oh, it's the voice of privilege.

How do you expect to have a discussion, that I presume you would like to lead to buy in for change, if you shut peoples opinion down as irrelevant for being 'the voice of privilege' ?

1
In reply to Donotello:

The only black climber I can ever recall having seen on the crag was Trevor Messiah down in Pembroke years ago. I may have seen others over the years but if so it must be very few. Even now seeing a black climber in the UK on the crag would be an uncommon event. More in climbing walls so hopefully that'll trickle through.

There are more climbers of Asian genetic heritage (what is the correct terminology nowadays - I always feel like I'm stepping on minefields here) on the crag but I'm pretty sure it's still significantly below their %age in the general population.

There's no particular reason why climbing (or any activity) needs to necessarily reflect the country's demographic but if there are barriers to entry (whether real or perceived) that prevent diversity in climbing (or anything really) then we should be trying to remove them.

 mdstarr1 31 Jul 2020
In reply to danm:

"Privilege" is your assumption and is way off. You could not be further from the truth. Stop trying to be PC. Just climb and enjoy.

21
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to danm:

I was brought up in a house, shared with parents and grand parents that had an outside toilet "down the yard".  Each of us had a bath once a week in a tin bath warmed up from boiling a pan on an open fire.  No television, no car, no holidays. The ground opposite the house was a bomb site, literally.  We ate well, boring but simply and cheaply. As a young child I had a ration card along with the rest of the family. My father was constantly at work trying to earn more money so I did not see much of him.

When I started climbing we took the bus and hitch hiked everywhere, we had very little gear and what we did have we shared as a group with both costs and usage.

Please, please explain to me where my "privilege" was.

Al

Post edited at 09:40
20
In reply to Al Randall:

> Please, please explain to me where my "privilege" was or shut the f*ck up.

I, like you, am both white and male. I'm not being apologetic about this, it's more a statement of fact, and here are the facts as I see them:

Both of us, providing we have the relevant qualifications, can pretty much walk into any job without prejudice or discrimination. In many cases this is because we know another guy (most likely white) who can give us an 'in'. If we don't know a guy, being white and male alone is a head start that other groups of people simply don't have.

Being white and male is a golden ticket, irrespective of your background, as it puts you at an immediate advantage - that is privilege in the context than Dan was meaning it.

Clearly I've focussed on employment here, but it's easy enough to extrapolate it to climbing. As someone said above: "Crags may be 'colour blind'. Culture is not."

Post edited at 09:45
11
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to philjones8:

> Sad to see the politics of racism brought into climbing. The Mountains are neutral . The crags are colour blind. Please don't problematize whiteness in our sport. Just get on with climbing.

My partner is brown. I’m also very close to her family and spend an awful lot of my time - outside of climbing - with Asian people. If you ask them are there barriers for visiting the countryside (never mind climbing) as a British Asian they say yes, there are. 
 

So get this: there are large parts of the country where a significant minority of Brits feel that they don’t quite belong. Let that sink in for a moment. 
 

5
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

That's very sad to hear but what, specifically, are these barriers? If we could identify them we would stand a better chance of addressing them.

There is a certain inevitability about this.  Any minority in any culture is likely to feel disadvantaged.  That's NOT to say we should not try to do something about it in this country.

I don't deny for a minute that being white has advantages in our culture but I get a little tired of people trying to lay guilt on me considering my upbringing.  It just sounds a little silly to say I was privileged.

Al

Post edited at 10:09
16
 La benya 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

If you ask them are there barriers for visiting the countryside (never mind climbing) as a British Asian 

Please elaborate on this, as I don't really see what they can possibly be other than self imposed (either by the individual or the 'community'). I would be really interested to hear what they view is holding them back from engaging in 'the outdoors'.

8
 Beanmanclimb 31 Jul 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

Think we need black peoples point of view in these threads rather than people who are privileged and don’t know what they’re talking about. Colourblindness is a problem not a good thing. Read some books and educate yourselves. “Trumps not racist....” tw*t

The first thing one of my close black friends said when visiting a wall in London for the first time was ‘wow I’m the only black person here’ which made them feel little out of place obviously. And that’s a wall in London.....

15
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

> So get this: there are large parts of the country where a significant minority of Brits feel that they don’t quite belong. Let that sink in for a moment. 

I'm a Yorkshire lad with a Yorkshire accent.  When I first moved south I felt that I didn't quite belong.

I'm not saying it's the same just illustrating that basing conclusions on feelings may not amount to good evidence so I would still like to see a list of the barriers you mention.

Al

Post edited at 10:49
11
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

> When I started climbing we took the bus and hitch hiked everywhere...

> Please, please explain to me where my "privilege" was.

You’re in your 70s so you were certainly around in the late 1950s, when the Notting Hill race riots took place. Gangs of white youths roamed the streets looking for black boys to beat up. Wikipedia says:

”Later that night a mob of 300 to 400 white people were seen on Bramley Road attacking the houses of West Indian residents.“

Many of the 50 and 60-something Asian guys I know recall being chased down the street to avoid being beaten up by racist thugs. 
 

Were your non-white contemporaries really, really going to hitchhike anywhere? 
 

Right now you’ll probably be thinking “but not being at risk of violence for my skin colour is normal, not a privilege.” Well, that’s from where you’re standing. If your normal was spending your youth risking a kicking from the NF and then being refused jobs or a promotion, then your normal might look like privilege.
 

Obviously things are better now, but we can still see plenty of evidence of racism in society, such as lower wages for equivalently qualified black and white Britons. But the point remains: try stepping out of your own shoes for a moment. 

5
 mysterion 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Beanmanclimb:

There's only one 'privilege' I'm seeing here and that's middle class privilege, and guilt. Educate yourself? lol

10
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

I'm not disagreeing at all but you still haven't listed the barriers you mentioned earlier and that, in a climbing context, is the point of the thread. If you could describe the barriers we could have a debate.

Al. 

5
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

> That's very sad to hear but what, specifically, are these barriers? If we could identify them we would stand a better chance of addressing them.

Well, black and Asian (and female) climbers and indeed non-climbers have written at length about this. Countryfile’s Dwayne Fields did a piece for the BBC.  Unfortunately I think some white climbers and outdoor lovers have a problem taking this stuff seriously.

It’s all very much in the same vein, a feeling of that not being a place “for them”, for all sorts of reasons. How would you feel if you got dirty looks just for being somewhere or, god forbid, speaking another language in front of the English? Given the strength of memories from the old guys on here about the bad old days of Welsh nationalism and anti-English prejudice in Snowdonia, you really wouldn’t like it. 

I mean, if you are interested, it is not hard to find out. The American mag Outside has lots on this. 

> I don't deny for a minute that being white has advantages in our culture but I get a little tired of people trying to lay guilt on me.

I suspect non-whites get a little tired of pointing out racism! But you know, they should probably shut up out of respect for your feelings. That’s how comments like that look, you do realise?

11
 Danbow73 31 Jul 2020
In reply to UKC Articles:

I think part of the problem is the language we use. The term 'white privilege' is in itself divisive. My personal view is that we need to ditch the phrase and talk about what it actually is: discrimination towards non white people.

If we're starting from the point of not being discriminated against because of the colour of your skin is a privilege, then surely we are having the wrong conversation. It also has the side effect of belittling other peoples struggles, which although I know is not meant, is what people see when they see the phrase. 

5
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

"My partner is brown. I’m also very close to her family and spend an awful lot of my time - outside of climbing - with Asian people. If you ask them are there barriers for visiting the countryside (never mind climbing) as a British Asian they say yes, there are."

So you are in a unique position. Surely you, of all posters on this thread, can list those barriers.  You made the statement the onus is on you to defend and support it. Referring to an American article is irrelevant.  The UK is not comparable to the US in this context.

Once again please provide evidence for your claim in the context of UK climbing.

By the way I did get dirty looks for my out of place accent but probably more imagined than real so to a much lesser degree I do know how it feels to be outside

Al

Post edited at 11:15
10
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Danbow73:

You have put into words my feelings on this matter.  Thank you.

Al

Post edited at 11:16
4
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

> I suspect non-whites get a little tired of pointing out racism! But you know, they should probably shut up out of respect for your feelings. That’s how comments like that look, you do realise?

Lets NOT go down that track again.  All I am asking you to do is provide the evidence that there are barriers to ethic minorities getting into outdoor activities so that we can discuss them. I don't see them, perhaps because I am white, I simply want you to persuade me otherwise. I'm quite open minded about it.

By the way I see plenty participating in mountain biking at trail centres.

Al

Post edited at 11:27
8
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

I’m also a Yorkshireman who has lived in the south. If you think being an outsider in that respect is anything like being non-white, then I’m afraid you’re wrong, and it’s a little silly of you to keep bringing yourself to the forefront in a misguided attempt at empathy.

I am indeed in an unusual position. But, aside from being busy, I’ve seen many race debates play out on UKC, and I’m not convinced that it’s going to be a good faith debate. If you are really interested then go away, watch the Countryfile piece, read what black and Asian people have written. That is basically it. The American things are actually surprisingly similar to what ppl in the U.K. say when I’ve discussed it with them. You may not like that. 
 

A cynic might suggest that you prefer to hear it from me because I’m white. Or because you can tell me I’m wrong, which you can’t with an article. I am not that cynic, however.
 

So do the reading. 

14
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

I have said some of it is a feeling of being out of place or unwelcome. Some of it is knowledge and education. Some is around being the children of immigrants. There is also the real fear of racism. I’ve elaborated on some of the other reasons above. 
 

The problem is, this stuff has been pointed out ad nauseum and many outdoor types don’t want to hear it or want to argue against the existence of such barriers. I’m telling you they are there, and they are real. And that yes, being white means you probably don’t see them. 
 

7
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

For you to imply that I was equating my experiences with racial inequality is also silly. Why do you insist on making this personal.

You made the claim, you need to provide the evidence.  If the tables were reversed you would have done the same and rightly so.

Love the cynical I'm not a cynic method of insulting by denial.

Al

7
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

> The problem is, this stuff has been pointed out ad nauseum and many outdoor types don’t want to hear it or want to argue against the existence of such barriers. I’m telling you they are there, and they are real. 

Oh that's all right then! 

And that yes, being white means you probably don’t see them. 

I know that's why I'm asking you to list them.

Al

2
In reply to seankenny:

> The problem is, this stuff has been pointed out ad nauseum and many outdoor types don’t want to hear it or want to argue against the existence of such barriers. I’m telling you they are there, and they are real. And that yes, being white means you probably don’t see them. 

This is one of the greatest ironies of this thread and others like it. The idea of someone non-white coming forward with their own experiences, only to be told - largely by white men - that there isn't a problem, or that the problem doesn't exist, and that climbing is pure - free from prejudice, barriers and discrimination of any kind - just seems totally and utterly crazy.

Curiously the debate doesn't stop there, because the aforementioned individuals then engage in a war of attrition, whereby they attempt to drill down into the details of what the exact issues are, despite the fact that (more often than not) the exact issues were detailed pretty exhaustively within the article itself.

The idea of comparing the hardship of having a Yorkshire accent down south to the barriers that someone non-white would experience within their life is absurd.

Post edited at 11:47
9
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

I have pointed you in the direction of much good evidence, to which I can only say “it’s like this, believe those people”.

I have also listed some of the reasons in brief. 

I have pointed out why “privilege” is a thing and that the term - unpleasant as it is to you - comes out of others’ views of the world, which I think you and many posters struggle to engage with. 
 

I think there’s enough for you to chew on there.
 

9
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I specifically said I was not equating the two.  You must have missed that.

2
In reply to Al Randall:

> I specifically said I was not equating the two.  You must have missed that.

Sorry, I did indeed - too many posts, too little time.

1
In reply to Al Randall:

I don't think it's been mentioned elsewhere in the thread, but one of the most insightful/enlightening books I've read on the topic in recent years is Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge.

If you do fancy reading up on the topic then that'd be a good place to start.

 GrahamD 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

I'm afraid I still don't find anything in the article that I can take away and do something about, except maybe be more welcoming to newbies. 

You are telling me there are barriers, which I don't see in the outdoors,  but not what those barriers are or what I can do to help.  I want to help.  How ?

1
In reply to GrahamD:

> I want to help.  How ?

As per Sean's feedback: "do the reading".

The book I mentioned above is a great place to start. 

8
 Offwidth 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

It's not so absurd. At Cambridge in the early 80s I saw as a student some regional accents had you grouped by some of the champagne set 'posh elite' for similar treatment to British Asians or Afro Caribbeans. Those b*stards were not straightforwardly racist as they were very friendly with rich African friends they were at public school with. Racism isn't the only form of othering, just one of the most shameful.

 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

Like GrahamD I want to help and thought that debating the matter here would be a step in the right direction but all I am sensing is There are barriers so there. It doesn't help the cause I'm afraid.

If I posted Trump is the best President ever I wouldn't get off as lightly.  For those who cannot understand written English and context I'm not saying that.

Post edited at 12:10
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

You have asked about this. I have told you to check out what actual black and Asian people have to say about this, with the proviso that it matches the experience of the many Asian people I have in my life. 
 

If you’re resistant to this, then there is not a lot else we can do. I supposed I could go to an article myself, cut and paste it here, and say: “this!” But I suspect that wouldn’t be good enough either. 
 

Do you understand my scepticism about this being a discussion in bad faith? You want to help, but when I and others say how, it turns out that you don’t. 

Post edited at 12:19
7
In reply to Al Randall:

> Like GrahamD I want to help and thought that debating the matter here would be a step in the right direction but all I am sensing is there are barriers so there. It doesn't help the cause I'm afraid.

When have either myself or Sean said that? What we've both said, over and over again, is to go away and read up on the issues. I don't see a great deal of point in continuing the conversation until you do, because otherwise we're just going to go around and around.

6
In reply to Offwidth:

>  Racism isn't the only form of othering, just one of the most shameful.

I don't deny that, I was just focussing on the issue at hand, which - as I'm sure you'll agree from the great many posts - is complicated enough as it is.

2
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

If there is a barrier to ethnic minorities participating in outdoor activities because of racial prejudice we should fight against it and do what we can to combat it. Is that clear? That is my position there is no unwillingness on my part to object or fight against it.  Is that clear?

I'm willing to go and read about this but this forum provides a convenient mechanism for two way discussion.  Some would say it's the whole point of the forum and a huge benefit to progressing matters such as these. I start from the position that I cannot see any barriers but fully ready to accept that it may be because I am white. The forum is an opportunity to discuss and change minds but it's simply not appropriate just to say there is and that's it without providing evidence. Bold assertions need evidence. Having to go and read War and Peace, a bit of Hyperbole there, to educate myself is realistically outside the convenience and point at this specific time. Is that clear?

If the barriers are so obvious, to you apparently, I would have thought that you would have any no difficulty in putting some of them forward. Please do so otherwise there is no point continuing this debate.

3
 GrahamD 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

The answer to the problem is "read a book" ? I was kind of hoping there were some simple takeaway positive actions from this, not go away and read a book.  Sorry

4
 john arran 31 Jul 2020

 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to GrahamD:

> The answer to the problem is "read a book" ? I was kind of hoping there were some simple takeaway positive actions from this, not go away and read a book.  Sorry

I suggested reading an article or two and watching some TV. So clearly I am a much less strict taskmaster than Rob! 

3
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to GrahamD:

> The answer to the problem is "read a book" ? I was kind of hoping there were some simple takeaway positive actions from this, not go away and read a book.  Sorry

If we followed that advice all the posts would comprise of two posts.

1. The central Issue

2. Read a book

4
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

I have outlined some above, but you’ve ignored them. I have suggested how you might find out more, written from a first rather than a second-hand perspective. Other posters have done the same. That is not good enough either. Reading an article might take ten minutes but that’s too long. 
 

You may be keen to understand, and Goldilocks will claim she is not a picky eater. 
 

Part of the issue is a certain intractability. As you say, minorities are often going to be in, well, a minority. But that matters less if the majority try to understand where they are coming from. The typical attempts to shut down this conversation (not by you, I hasten to add) suggest that’s unlikely to happen.

9
 WaterMonkey 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

> You have asked about this. I have told you to check out what actual black and Asian people have to say about this, with the proviso that it matches the experience of the many Asian people I have in my life. 

Sorry but I really don't get why you're avoiding Al's question. You basically said your partner doesn't feel comfortable in the climbing or outdoor community yet when he's asked you to explain why she/he doesn't feel comfortable you have told him to read about the experiences of others.

That is a rediculous response, we'd like to help your partner so surely their feelings are what matters at this time not complete strangers'?

Post edited at 13:38
4
 La benya 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Beanmanclimb:

The only black climber in a wall in London?!  Which one? when i frequented the Arch regularly a couple of years ago that certainly wouldnt have been the case.

 La benya 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

You haven't given any response to a simple question- only the classic answer of 'do you research'... erm, no... you made a statement, back it up.

My wife is Asian. She doesn't feel/ experience any of these barriers that you mention (but don't detail other than to say watch something from Countryfile!). And we live in Dorset.... hardly a bastion of multiculturalism!

Rather than getting offended that someone dare challenge your SJW virtue signalling- why don't you just lay your evidence on the table and actually argue the case?

Edit- "You may be keen to understand, and Goldilocks will claim she is not a picky eater."

so your argument for not giving detail is you have already identified Al (and presumably me) as closet racists and there's no hope for us!? Nice- another classic example of why there is a global push back against leftist views.  If you don't agree with me immediately your a Nazi!

Post edited at 13:53
2
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> This is one of the greatest ironies of this thread and others like it. The idea of someone non-white coming forward with their own experiences, only to be told - largely by white men - that there isn't a problem, or that the problem doesn't exist, and that climbing is pure - free from prejudice, barriers and discrimination of any kind - just seems totally and utterly crazy.

Yes - absolutely - and exactly the same has happened when women climbers have tried to explain their experiences of sexism on UKC forums also!

I remember when someone who described themselves as a person of colour as their first post, I think it was, just added a short comment into one of these threads a few weeks ago about how it can feel quite uncomfortable when being the only non-white person out climbing. He or she was immediately told by one of the more prominent UKC regulars that this was surely in their own heads so their problem, not the problem of others.

4
 La benya 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:

> This is one of the greatest ironies of this thread and others like it. The idea of someone non-white coming forward with their own experiences, only to be told - largely by white men - that there isn't a problem, or that the problem doesn't exist, and that climbing is pure - free from prejudice, barriers and discrimination of any kind - just seems totally and utterly crazy.

But it isn't that at all....

Its white guys being told they're the problem by other white guys.  When the 'problem white guys ask why they are the problem, they're told that they simply are, and that to even dare ask makes them even worse.

If my non-white family ever bought a problem like this up I would listen to them. As it is i'm calling this all SJW peacocking.

Post edited at 13:57
5
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

I have literally written out some of the reasons. I’ve also said it mirrors stuff written by actual black and Asian people - I’d like to put their views and experiences first rather than act as an interlocutor.

I also suspect that there isn’t going to be a good faith attempt to understand what’s going on, but to argue with me why I (or actually, my loved ones) are wrong. This argument will be predicated, I feel fairly sure, on the idea that there is no racism or racial aspect to outdoor recreation. Feel free to lambast me for not wanting to have an argument about with a bunch of white guys who have (I suspect) very little lived experience of racial issues in the U.K. 

But... let’s engage our imaginations a moment. I live in one of the half a dozen majority-minority boroughs in the U.K., in short one of the most racially mixed parts of the country. Even so, it’s extremely rare for me to be the only white person on the street. One might feel that a place with only black people in was somehow “not for me”. This is the same dynamic - not for everyone, but for some. 

5
 La benya 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

> I have literally written out some of the reasons. I’ve also said it mirrors stuff written by actual black and Asian people - I’d like to put their views and experiences first rather than act as an interlocutor.

You literally haven't

> I also suspect that there isn’t going to be a good faith attempt to understand what’s going on, but to argue with me why I (or actually, my loved ones) are wrong. This argument will be predicated, I feel fairly sure, on the idea that there is no racism or racial aspect to outdoor recreation. Feel free to lambast me for not wanting to have an argument about with a bunch of white guys who have (I suspect) very little lived experience of racial issues in the U.K. 

I seem to have as much 'lived' experience as you.  Does that qualify me for an answer?

> But... let’s engage our imaginations a moment. I live in one of the half a dozen majority-minority boroughs in the U.K., in short one of the most racially mixed parts of the country. Even so, it’s extremely rare for me to be the only white person on the street. One might feel that a place with only black people in was somehow “not for me”. This is the same dynamic - not for everyone, but for some. 

So non-white people are uncomfortable around white people.... sure, maybe, i guess.  The ones in the outdoor specifically?  Whats the solution that the 'outdoors' should be enacting?

this is the crux of the issue for me.  whether or not the problem is real or perceived, its being pointed out to the people that are 'the problem' but without any sign of what they are doing wrong (probably nothing unless you're overtly racist) and with no solution proffered.  What do you want us to do about it?  assuming we aren't racist and are actually quite nice to anyone we meet outdoors- what do you want us, as individuals, to change?

4
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to La benya:

> You haven't given any response to a simple question- only the classic answer of 'do you research'... erm, no... you made a statement, back it up.

 

The problem with this is that it will end up with posters telling me I’m wrong, and that there are no issues. My point is: first take this shit seriously. In general, as Toby suggests above, this is not a forum that does. Or it’s one in which requests to take the experiences of others seriously results in a great deal of push back. 

> My wife is Asian. She doesn't feel/ experience any of these barriers that you mention (but don't detail other than to say watch something from Countryfile!). And we live in Dorset.... hardly a bastion of multiculturalism!

Why should we assume all black or Asian people’s experiences are homogeneous? 

> Rather than getting offended that someone dare challenge your SJW virtue signalling- why don't you just lay your evidence on the table and actually argue the case?

Erm, because even saying “I think there may be a problem, and it’s exactly the problem you’ve been told about already” brings out dumb ass tribal replies like this one. 

> Edit- "You may be keen to understand, and Goldilocks will claim she is not a picky eater."

> so your argument for not giving detail is you have already identified Al (and presumably me) as closet racists and there's no hope for us!? Nice- another classic example of why there is a global push back against leftist views.  If you don't agree with me immediately your a Nazi!

Erm, no. You’ve misunderstood what I said. 

9
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

> The problem with this is that it will end up with posters telling me I’m wrong, and that there are no issues. My point is: first take this shit seriously. In general, as Toby suggests above, this is not a forum that does. Or it’s one in which requests to take the experiences of others seriously results in a great deal of push back. 

You may be wrong?  The very thought.  Push back. You are the master and given me some serious abuse over the past few months all from the starting point of accusing me of being a racist albeit in a subtle and underhand manner.  You may be wrong, I may be wrong that's why we talk.

> Erm, because even saying “I think there may be a problem, and it’s exactly the problem you’ve been told about already” brings out dumb ass tribal replies like this one. 

The thing is though, the problem you are arguing over and over again is that racism exists which I don't think anyone on this forum has ever denied.  All I am asking for is specific evidence that racial barriers are stopping ethnic minorities participating in the outdoors. Some facts not perceptions.

4
 La benya 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

Great- the same non-answer again. Valuable contributor to a forum!

edit for a more appropriate response;

Why should we assume all black or Asian people’s experiences are homogeneous? 

Im not. But your argument so far is based on the evidence from your partner's experience. i was pointing out mine- so we have a 50/50 split.

Erm, because even saying “I think there may be a problem, and it’s exactly the problem you’ve been told about already” brings out dumb ass tribal replies like this one. 

I think you'll find it took 6 (i might have miscounted) evasive comments from you before i call bullshit.  You have had plenty opportunity to engage in decent debate. 

Erm, no. You’ve misunderstood what I said. 

Fair enough, please explain what you meant by the Goldilocks analogy (although we all know how far we get when we ask you to explain something!)

Post edited at 14:48
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 La benya 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

Well, he has his anecdotal evidence based on his wife's experience and I have mine.  So he has an equal chance of being wrong, at the moment.

 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to La benya:

> You literally haven't

I have written: 

a significant minority of Brits feel that they don’t quite belong.

How would you feel if you got dirty looks just for being somewhere or, god forbid, speaking another language in front of the English

I have said some of it is a feeling of being out of place or unwelcome. Some of it is knowledge and education. Some is around being the children of immigrants.

BUT I’ve also said these are exactly the same issues as highlighted, on here and elsewhere, which have resulted in enormous pushback and resistance. 

> So non-white people are uncomfortable around white people.... sure, maybe, i guess.  The ones in the outdoor specifically?  Whats the solution that the 'outdoors' should be enacting?

I mean, I’m literally going on what a lot of people have said to me. And what I’ve read. But it seems their experience is wrong. How foolish I was!

> this is the crux of the issue for me.  whether or not the problem is real or perceived, its being pointed out to the people that are 'the problem' but without any sign of what they are doing wrong (probably nothing unless you're overtly racist) and with no solution proffered.  What do you want us to do about it?  assuming we aren't racist and are actually quite nice to anyone we meet outdoors- what do you want us, as individuals, to change? 

 

I think the problem here is that it’s automatically assumed that raising the issue is the same as looking for someone to blame. That’s not the case, and I’m surprised and disappointed that you take it take way. 

As I said above, there is a certain amount of intractability about the race and the outdoors issue. But only a certain amount. Given that it’s clear that the outdoor community is very resistant to hearing anything critical about itself, then that’s the first thing to do perhaps? Maybe listen to what non white  people - and women too, whilst we’re at - and take what they say seriously. 
 

I think admitting that there is some kind of issue here and that we could do something about it, say by working on programmes for access, might be helpful. But given the amount of stick things like the women’s trad festival gets, I am not entirely convinced any practical measures will prove that popular amongst a significant minority.

5
 La benya 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

blah blah blah more rubbish

> I think admitting that there is some kind of issue here and that we could do something about it, say by working on programmes for access, might be helpful. But given the amount of stick things like the women’s trad festival gets, I am not entirely convinced any practical measures will prove that popular amongst a significant minority.

WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO DO ABOUT THIS ISSUE!

4
 Chris H 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

I'm not sure what you actually are saying Sean. It appears to be that because of the nature of the people on the forum it is impossible to debate the issue and that we should go away and do background reading instead / watch Countryfile.  The (black) OP said 'Let's keep this conversation going, please' and we can only presume his article was intended to start a debate but you appear to have taken it upon yourself to close it down.

 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

> You may be wrong?  The very thought.  Push back.

 

I say there are issues, based on going and talking to people (and fifteen years living as part of a British Asian family). As well as the articles and TV reports authored by non-whites. Then posters with very little to no experience of this say there are no issues and let’s keep race out of climbing. To me that looks like denial and an inability to look something in the face. 


 

> You are the master and given me some serious abuse over the past few months all from the starting point of accusing me of being a racist albeit in a subtle and underhand manner.  You may be wrong, I may be wrong that's why we talk.

For posters unaware of Al, he was very resistant to changing the route name WOGS, because it’s an acronym or some equally flimsy tosh.

> The thing is though, the problem you are arguing over and over again is that racism exists which I don't think anyone on this forum has ever denied.  All I am asking for is specific evidence that racial barriers are stopping ethnic minorities  participating in the outdoors. Some facts not perceptions.

Huge discrepancy in participation rates. I’m not entirely sure if there’s an analysis which controls for income, job classification, age and so on - all factors trotted out as the “real” reason - but the difference is so large I’d be amazed if race wasn’t a significant factor in decisions around participation in outdoor activities. 

5
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

Sorry Sean that's just more third hand perceptions and feelings.

If I posted on here that the forum was very "leftist" what would your initial reaction be? You would ask to see the evidence and rightly so because as it stands that statement is just my perception, rightly or wrongly held and therefore open to debate.  Why are you so reluctant to back up your claims in a similar manner?

Al

2
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to La benya:

> blah blah blah more rubbish

> WHAT DO YOU WANT US TO DO ABOUT THIS ISSUE!

I did actually write what I thought might be some positive steps - as well as saying that is was a difficult problem that might not be easy to change, certainly at an individual level. But that is “rubbish” and now you’ve gone... full caps lock. 

4
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

> For posters unaware of Al, he was very resistant to changing the route name WOGS, because it’s an acronym or some equally flimsy tosh.

I was not, I simply questioned the wisdom of going down this track and offering my understanding of the route name. In fact I seem to recall that towards the end of the thread I had been persuaded otherwise.  Please stop mis-representing me in this manner, you seem to do it at every opportunity.  It's getting tiresome and very, very offensive.

I'm wondering if there are sufficient grounds to report you. My only other tactic is to treat you as a non person and ignore you but neither seems satisfactory so please remain civil so we can at least talk.

Al

Post edited at 15:14
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 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Chris H:

> I'm not sure what you actually are saying Sean. It appears to be that because of the nature of the people on the forum it is impossible to debate the issue and that we should go away and do background reading instead / watch Countryfile.

I appreciate your frustration. But look - I gave some ideas above, including my opinion that it is a difficult problem to solve for some structural reasons. For that I got a reply worthy of Trump at 4am. Perhaps you see why it is hard to have an argument in good faith?

> The (black) OP said 'Let's keep this conversation going, please' and we can only presume his article was intended to start a debate but you appear to have taken it upon yourself to close it down.

Interesting. As I’m still here posting! But the argument many want to have is “race is not an issue and shouldn’t be brought into climbing” - which is not an argument I think is particularly fruitful, given that we know - from non-white Brits - that it is a problem. At least for some people, some of the time. We typically see more posters getting upset about the use of a word than what that word represents. I’m good for a debate - but as la benya’s little excursion into the Trumposphere reveals, that is hard to have when any positive proposals are met with “rubbish blah blah blah”.
 

10
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

> I was not, I simply questioned the wisdom of going down this track and offering my understanding of the route name. In fact I seem to recall that towards the end of the thread I had been persuaded otherwise.  Please stop mis-representing me in this manner.  It's getting tiresome and very, very offensive.

> Al

Nothing that you’ve said contradicts my position that you resisted the suggestion. You did indeed understand it as an acronym which is clearly true on one level. Obviously I’m pleased you came around at the end and it shows considerable strength of character. Bravo you!

7
 La benya 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

Agreeing with you that there is a problem with no evidence of such other than your word for it that your wife says there is (counter- mine says there isn't) is not a 'positive step'. you keep dismissing other peoples views because you seem to think yours are superior because you have an Asian wife- i've said several times now i am in the same situation.

If you say there is a problem you need to identify clearly what it is and how to make a change. if the problem is just that a group of people aren't involved... well that's hardly a problem for anyone other than the individual.

3
 La benya 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

we know - from non-white Brits - that it is a problem.

no, we dont. what specifically is the problem?

2
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to La benya:

Thing is, I went and asked around friends, relations, colleagues - it wasn’t just talking to my partner. (I did mention this, but he who writes in caps locks may not be a close reader). Then that’s allied to the many articles we’ve all seen on UKC and elsewhere. Then there are the dramatic differences in participation rates which as I’ve said above I am not convinced are solely due to economic or geographic factors. 
 

So we have what looks like an issue at the population level which I’ve tried to consider also on a personal and anecdotal level (where of course there will be heterogeneity, as per your wife). 
 

Demanding that I “must” make suggestions for change is a little off giving that I have made some very modest suggestions and also said that there is an element of intractability about the problem (which I suspect you agree with). However my main suggestion: read a bit, chaps - has gone down like a bucket of cold sick. Which is a shame, because I think that’s a vital first step. 

7
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

You mis-represented the context of the resistance thus implying racism. That is reprehensible and malicious is it not?

Please remind us of your main suggestion, I've lost the plot in my anger at you.

Post edited at 15:36
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 WaterMonkey 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

> But the argument many want to have is “race is not an issue and shouldn’t be brought into climbing” - 

You might have to show the original quote where someone has said that. I don't doubt that some BAME community may feel they are discriminated against in the outdoor community. If my partner had said that to me i'd have asked her exactly what she meant and ask for examples. 

It may be genuine racism or it may be that she just feels intimidated due to previous racist issues. This is what we are trying to understand.

A friend of mine told me recently that a certain pub in Walton on the Naze was very homophobic and he didn't feel welcome there. I asked him why he felt that way and what had happened to give him that (possibly true) impression. He explained it, what he didn't do was to tell me to read a book on homophobia and work it out for myself.

Once he explained it, I could then see the issue, before i couldn't. (That didn't make me homophobic nor a denier of homophobia)

1
 La benya 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

great- what were the problems with access to the outdoors which the people you spoke to reported?

3
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to WaterMonkey:

> You might have to show the original quote where someone has said that. I don't doubt that some BAME community may feel they are discriminated against in the outdoor community. If my partner had said that to me i'd have asked her exactly what she meant and ask for examples. 

 

“Sad to see the politics of racism brought into climbing. The Mountains are neutral . The crags are colour blind. Please don't problematize whiteness in our sport. Just get on with climbing.”

I’ve read variants on this plenty of times. 

> It may be genuine racism or it may be that she just feels intimidated due to previous racist issues. This is what we are trying to understand.

Well, as I’ve said, it’s actually a bit of both. And as I’ve also said, many non white Brits have explained this at length. I’m merely echoing what they have to say. 

> A friend of mine told me recently that a certain pub in Walton on the Naze was very homophobic and he didn't feel welcome there. I asked him why he felt that way and what had happened to give him that (possibly true) impression. He explained it, what he didn't do was to tell me to read a book on homophobia and work it out for myself.

Lol well, the book wasn’t my idea! I suggested a short clip on a BBC light entertainment programme which I think we can both agree represents quite a minimal level of effort. 
 

My point is that many people who have actually been affected by this (I haven’t in quite the same way) can tell you about this far better than I can. 

> Once he explained it, I could then see the issue, before i couldn't.  (That didn't make me homophobic nor a denier of homophobia)

Well, wogs has been derogatory slang for black people for as long as I can remember, but only now have we, as a collective, decided to do anything about the eponymous route. It would seem that collectively we are slow learners. Maybe we are stupid and ignorant, or maybe we looked the other way. 

Post edited at 16:09
4
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to La benya:

> great- what were the problems with access to the outdoors which the people you spoke to reported?

Oh come come, now you’re just trolling. 


 

9
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

> Well, as I’ve said, it’s actually a bit of both. And as I’ve also said, many non white Brits have explained this at length. I’m merely echoing what they have to say. 

But you haven't echoed anything that's why you are getting so much flack.

1
 La benya 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

Sean- do you know what gaslighting is?

I don't want to read a book or watch countryfile- I want to hear first and second hand comments on this issue.  You have this information but you seem to want us to beg for it.  You've done the leg work for us, and we thank you.  Please, just give us what you know.

You think we are trolling- this is your problem, you think being challenged is being trolled.  You think asking questions is refusing to believe you.  Just suck it up and either back up your statements or admit, you've made it up.

This isn't an interesting debate, because you've got at least three people asking for one simple thing, which you are refusing to give and the discussion is going around and around and its making you look daft.

4
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

> But you haven't echoed anything that's why you are getting so much flack.

As I said above:

a significant minority of Brits feel that they don’t quite belong [in the countryside].

How would you feel if you got dirty looks just for being somewhere or, god forbid, speaking another language in front of the English?

It is a feeling of being out of place or unwelcome. Some of it is knowledge and education. Some is around being the children of immigrants.

You may find much of this way too subjective. But the “race not a problem” argument usually stops at “well, they don’t walk/climb/visit NPs because they don’t want to and that’s that” without really considering why and how those preferences might be formed. I’ve suggested why those might be as they are, based on several conversations, as well as my own reading. 

You may find “a feeling of not belonging” to be too vague, as if alienation wasn’t a thing humans experience. I know you want me to explain this further, but I’ve said there are people that can explain his better than I can. 

4
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to La benya:

> I don't want to read a book or watch countryfile- I want to hear first and second hand comments on this issue. 

 

But above I did indeed explain and got “blah blah blah rubbish”. 

> You think we are trolling- this is your problem, you think being challenged is being trolled.  You think asking questions is refusing to believe you.  Just suck it up and either back up your statements or admit, you've made it up.

No, trolling is being given an answer and then ignoring that answer. Or is that gaslighting? I do get confused.

So what do you think I’ve made up? You’re accusing me of lying... that’s always more gutsy when the poster uses their own name or has a picture. Kudos to Al in that respect.

> This isn't an interesting debate, because you've got at least three people asking for one simple thing, which you are refusing to give and the discussion is going around and around and its making you look daft

As Rob says above, these debates always end up with “no, don’t tell us that, tell us more/the real thing/something else”. Your own replies are textbook examples: I gave you some reasons why I think the “race isn’t a factor” arguments are ignore the actual experiences of those involved. You’ve completely missed the points I’ve made. They are almost exactly the points made in the original article! 

8
 mysterion 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

As the child of immigrants I know all about alienation and not belonging. There is nothing you can tell me, nothing. But they were white immigrants, so I never actually felt that, so I need to shut up because 'white privilege', maybe 'educate myself' with a book, is that right?

Post edited at 16:51
3
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

Kudos be damned.  Because I use my own name I don't take kindly to being mis-represented, taken out of context and being subtly accused of being racist very kindly. On a number of occasions you have slurred my character without a hint of remorse or admission on your part that you may have read things wrong. I'm still deciding how to deal with you so I suggest that you might want to tread carefully in future.

If you are unable or unwilling to provide evidence I think this debate is over and you have lost a valuable opportunity.

Al

9
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to mysterion:

> As the child of immigrants I know all about alienation and not belonging. There is nothing you can tell me, nothing. But they were white immigrants, so I never actually felt that, so I need to shut up because 'white privilege', maybe 'educate myself' with a book, is that right?

No, it’s not right. No one has ever said that white people don’t suffer, or indeed don’t suffer alienation. I’d suggest some Camus but this is clearly not a thread of readers! 

6
 La benya 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

> So what do you think I’ve made up?

i dont know as you refuse to give any evidence to your assertion beyond 'people have told me'.

You’re accusing me of lying... that’s always more gutsy when the poster uses their own name or has a picture. Kudos to Al in that respect.

Ah yes the billy big balls gambit.

> As Rob says above, these debates always end up with “no, don’t tell us that, tell us more/the real thing/something else”. Your own replies are textbook examples: I gave you some reasons why I think the “race isn’t a factor” arguments are ignore the actual experiences of those involved. You’ve completely missed the points I’ve made. They are almost exactly the points made in the original article! 

Do you honestly think you've answered the question?  we aren't not accepting your answer... we haven't seen it.

look, i want to learn. i want to make the world a better place for everyone. When i have little adorable half Asian kids, i want them to grow up without knowing what prejudice is.  For my sake can you please, again, as i am clearly simple or cannot read, tell me exactly what the people you have spoken to have said are the barriers for them getting into the outdoors and how that relates to their race.

4
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

> No, it’s not right. No one has ever said that white people don’t suffer, or indeed don’t suffer alienation. I’d suggest some Camus but this is clearly not a thread of readers! 

Stop with the sweeping assertions, they have failed you so far

3
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to seankenny:

> No, it’s not right. No one has ever said that white people don’t suffer, or indeed don’t suffer alienation. I’d suggest some Camus but this is clearly not a thread of readers! 

What does it feel like to be misunderstood, misrepresented and taken out of context?  This is what you have been doing to me during almost every exchange of ideas we have ever had.

3
 AJM 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

> Kudos be damned.  Because I use my own name I don't take kindly to being mis-represented, taken out of context and being subtly accused of being racist very kindly. On a number of occasions you have slurred my character without a hint of remorse or admission on your part that you may have read things wrong.

> I'm still deciding how to deal with you so I suggest that you might want to tread carefully in future.

I find the juxtaposition here most curious. Very upset about your character being slurred - specifically so because it's your real name and therefore presumably more identifiable - but at the same happy to be perfectly identifiable issuing veiled threats. 

How do you rationalise the two?

I get being annoyed when you feel you're being slighted, to be clear - but the point about your real name being important feels like it links into a sense of real-world identifiability that I would have thought should also lead to more reluctance to make threats. It's that bit that I mean.

5
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

You ask for “evidence”. I have said that I think a lot of non white people don’t feel comfortable in the countryside (I’m not even getting onto climbing here). This is not just me - it’s covered in the government’s 2019 “Landscapes Review” and elsewhere, and ONS stats show that ethnic minorities from professional classes visit nature about as often as whites working manual occupations (ie it’s not primarily economic).  
 


 

3
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to La benya:

Look, you can’t hide behind a screen, accuse people of lying anonymously and unaccountably, and then claim you really really want to understand them, whilst ignoring what they’ve already written. 
 

Well, obviously you can, but it’s a rhetorical exercise rather than an information gathering one.

11
 seankenny 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

> What does it feel like to be misunderstood, misrepresented and taken out of context?  This is what you have been doing to me

I picture you singing this in a bar, dressed in one of those 1970s long floaty dresses, with a martini atop a grand piano. Your mascara runs slightly. You’ve lived these lyrics.

7
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to AJM:

Threats?  Hardly.  Report him for abusive comments or pretend that he doesn't exist. All I am looking for is an acknowledgement that he may have misunderstood me in the past and perhaps an apology for taking my comments out of context and presenting them in a way that maligned my character.  In any other context there would be legal proceedings with the text to back them up. 

2
 AJM 31 Jul 2020
In reply to Al Randall:

The legal proceedings point is interesting, because whilst you say the options you mean are completely different you can easily see that quote being relevant evidence should poor Sean end up being roughed up in a dark alley somewhere, can't you... 

I mean, the wording feels very grandiose for "I'll just pretend I can't see you" (I mean, is that really something that Sean should be very careful to avoid?) or "I'll go tell the moderators on you".

If you seriously think you have a legal case (or for that matter something concrete enough to get him banned even) I'm really curious to see the bit of text you would use as your evidence? I've not been following this tiff closely enough, it seems!

2
 Al Randall 31 Jul 2020
In reply to AJM:

I have considered reporting his posts as abusive in the past and I have also considered not responding to any of them as if he does not exist.  Lets keep a sense of proportion The guy manages to wind me up so much that I have sleepless nights. I alternate between extreme anger and trying to defend myself.  Silly I know.  My best course of action will probably be to not contribute to UKC any more but then he has won hasn't he.

Post edited at 18:00
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