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naturism and racism

Naturism and racism have a history like all social interactions. While historically naturists have promoted a naturist ideal of egalitarianism and equality, it has not always been so in practice. Naturists and nudists have not always loved up to the ideal of inclusiveness they often promote.

White washed history

One way that racism has presented itself in naturism is the Eurocentric history that is usually shared. Though, it is fair to say a European understanding of organized naturism started in 1920’s Germany. However by the International Naturist Federation definition of naturism it is clear pre-colonial African societies practiced indigenous naturism.

Golden age of naturism and exclusion

In United States of America during the late forties into the sixties (an era referred to as the golden age of nudism 1)The History of US NudismM) Blacks and other people of color were routinely excluded from naturist/nudist communities. Despite the presence of avid visible African American participants in naturism/nudism during this period little was ever made of their presence in the white naturist circles.

Leading one white naturist advocate to ask if Race is the question – what is the answer?

NATURISM IS FOR “every body,” as the saying goes, and its offer of freedom, health, and social equality are inherently available to any and all. Yet naturism in North America remains blindingly white. – Mark Storey Nude & Natural 25.3 2) Race the question– Mark Storey Nude & Natural 25.3

The past and present give clear evidence that racism still exists among naturists, 3)Nudist camp rules exposed as a clear case of naked racism despite the efforts of some to suggest naturists ar post racial. History reveals that in many parts of the world including the United States naturism was not seen as something for black people. [ref]Naked: A Cultural History of American Nudism[/ref]

The racial prejudices of many nudists caused clubs to defy and resist antidiscrimination laws. In 1966, Sunshine Park in Mays Landing, New Jersey, which had been founded by Rev. Boone in 1937 and had served as the national headquarters of the movement for decades, refused to admit an African American woman, her female companion, and her two daughters. [ref]Naked: A Cultural History of American Nudism[/ref]

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