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Road Trip through NV, ID, WY, SD, UT - Safe for Minorities?

Bay Area, CA
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Road Trip through NV, ID, WY, SD, UT - Safe for Minorities?

Hi All,

For those of you who has seen my other topic, my wife and I are planning a road trip to Yellowstone/Mount Rushmore areas through 5 states at the end of May.

Now, this might be kind of awkward to bring up...my wife and I are Asian Americans, and whenever we talk about how excited we are about our trip to our friends and co-workers, many of them would outright warn us about the risks to travel to those areas as minorities.

So my question is this: is it generally safe for minorities to travel to the areas that we've planned out? Please do share, any advice would be highly appreciated!

Thanks all! :)

Ohio, USA
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1. Re: Road Trip through NV, ID, WY, SD, UT - Safe for Minorities?

Golly, I can only answer from the perspective of a 'white guy' but my observations in the areas through which you will be traveling indicate to me that you should be just fine. Of course there is no way to predict the attitudes and actions of individuals but it seems that most folks are more enlightened these days.

Have a wonderful trip.

Liverpool, UK
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2. Re: Road Trip through NV, ID, WY, SD, UT - Safe for Minorities?

My own personal opinion is that you can meet bigots of all types anywhere in the world and denying yourself the opportunity to travel is simply giving in to them - the only advice I can give which applies to all travellers in a strange place is to apply common sense e.g. don't leave valuables on open view etc.

Hope you continue with your trip and have a great and safe time - I would not see any greater risk to any minority group in these areas.

Atlanta, Georgia
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3. Re: Road Trip through NV, ID, WY, SD, UT - Safe for Minorities?

We travel each year to somewhere in the west and I have never seen any problems. All the people in the national parks are super nice and friendly.

Wednesbury, UK
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4. Re: Road Trip through NV, ID, WY, SD, UT - Safe for Minorities?

Although I'm another 'White Guy' we have seen many foreign Asian families and travellers in these areas on our travels and I don't recall having heard or seen any openly bigoted behaviour towrads them.

And they all seemed to be enjoying themselves, if occasionally doing some ill advised, if not down right dangerous things around some of the wildlife!

Edited: 10 May 2013, 11:15
Park City, Utah
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5. Re: Road Trip through NV, ID, WY, SD, UT - Safe for Minorities?

The national parks in the region do a tremendous international business with tourists of all races and nationalities.

Edited: 10 May 2013, 13:31
western WA
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6. Re: Road Trip through NV, ID, WY, SD, UT - Safe for Minorities?

Completely safe. I'm sorry you felt a need to worry about it.

The western US states are not very diverse racially, but they aren't bigoted as a general rule. I'd say "it's complicated" (as in Facebook relationship status) between white and Mexican, and between white and Native American. There are new museums about Japanese internment that are very good. The people of the West didn't instigate internment, but there were some camps there. In Utah, the majority of the population is Mormon. If you were to move there as a non-Mormon it could be socially awkward, but as a visitor there is no effect. There are some ultra conservatives in northern Idaho but that movement seems to be losing steam.

Please come for a visit!

Edited: 10 May 2013, 15:44
Bloomington, Indiana
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7. Re: Road Trip through NV, ID, WY, SD, UT - Safe for Minorities?

I'd say it's perfectly safe, but like many others I'm a white male. As pointed out many of the attractions in these areas get a large number of foreign visitors, so . . . .

I would agree that you won't see the diversity you see in the Bay Area, but I wouldn't worry about safety. Does that mean you might not meet/interact with someone who makes an inappropriate (read racist) comment or overhear one nearby? No, you might, but I wouldn't worry about personal safety.

Now, I also feel obligated to (awkwardly) point out that some sense your friends/co-workers making this sort of comment/warning is pretty much *exactly* the sort of thing they're warning about; making blanket negative judgments of individuals based on a group identity.

I'm not saying there isn't any basis for their opinion, but then the same can be said about any stereotype; generally all of them have a least a kernel of factual basis. (Now before people give me grief about this statement, which I have gotten in the past, I'm saying there is/was a *kernel* of factual basis at the heart of most stereotypes, *not* that the full blown stereotype is in anyway accurate. It's not like there is a stereotype committee that meets regular and says, "it's agreed, YYYYY should be stereotyped as XXXX.")

hlo

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8. Re: Road Trip through NV, ID, WY, SD, UT - Safe for Minorities?

OT: HLO, excellent try, but you're trying to rake mud!!! :-) :-)

E.g., the discrimination experienced by Japanese-Americans in the continental U.S. during WWII was totally unfounded IMO. Interestingly, in Hawaii, my understanding is that the much larger Japanese-American population relative to Hawaii's total population wasn't interned and actually often worked in the shipyards, etc., vital to the war effort, and Hawaii was much more geographically and strategically important to the American war effort.

A veteran of Iwo Jima told me once that his ship of returning Marines weren't allowed to take R&R in Hawaii after the battle because earlier Marines on R&R had rampaged and rioted in Japanese American communities. They were stuck on the boat until they reached San Diego. Of course, I always wondered why the Navy couldn't find an isolated beach or resort for those hard-tested troops.

Even when entire brigades of Japanese American troops (who largely fought in Europe) were raised inside the mainland internment camps, the families of the soldiers continued to be confined in those sad conditions.

Many of the continental Japanese-Americans lost their farms and much of their property in the process, which some historians believed motivated the political actions (much the same happened during the Salem witch trials) in places such as California.

And, of course, Italian and German Americans suffered no similar discrimination.

Sometimes bigotry is just bigotry, but I would agree with the thrust of your comments in other situations, although you can never apply generalities to all members of any group. And I'm not talking about groups based just on ethnic, religious, or racial factors. E.g., think about CEOs of major corporations, lawyers (LOL!), Congresspersons, etc.

Now I'm raking mud big-time. It's an important topic, however, especially given the diversity of the U.S.

Bloomington, Indiana
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9. Re: Road Trip through NV, ID, WY, SD, UT - Safe for Minorities?

TranscendentalEye,

Told ya I'd catch some flak for it. ;-)

While I agree with most of what you say (and as an aside, if my memory serves me correctly, one of the Nisei regiments (442nd?) was the most decorated unit during WW2), I don't think it weakens my contention.

There is a fact which often overlooked that you've not mentioned that in my opinion bolsters my assertion that nearly every stereotype has some kernel of truth. The fact is that some Japanese (Americans) who faced internment refused to sign a loyalty oath to the US. Not saying they should have been asked to sign it (no one else was), that they would have committed any acts against the US or helped Japan, nor that they should have been interned (and certainly cannot condone the mass internment), but it does show that there was at least a very small percentage of those interned who *arguably* weren't "loyal to the USA." Hence, a kernel of truth in the stereotype at the time that they were disloyal, not to be trusted, etc.

I don't think there can be any reasonable doubt in anyone's mind (based on the reasons you've given and others), that the internments were motivated by, and acceptable to the general public due to, racism. I'm not saying they weren't. What I am saying is that the racist stereotype of the "disloyal (insert derogatory term referring to Japanese Americans here)" had a kernel of truth to it.

Pick about any other stereotype you want (and I'm going to avoid naming any) and if you search you'll generally find some point where it was true for at least a small portion of that group. In fact, from a historical perspective (and hindsight) the kernel can be viewed as either *positive* or easily understandable attribute at the time and/or essentially forced upon the minority by the larger majority.

Heck, I'm going to go ahead & name one - I'm a Hoosier (from Indiana) - some people hold a stereotype that we're all bible thumping, country bumpkins, racists, rednecks or worse. You know what? There's at least a kernel of truth to it, I see examples on a nearly daily basis. Generally from a minority, but that doesn't make that assertion that there is at least a kernel of truth to the stereotype invalid.

Lastly as another historical aside, there was some "fallout" regarding Italian & German Americans (which I won't go into), but it was minimal, certainly not anything close to the extent regarding Japanese Americans, and tended to be on a more "societal" rather than individual level. (Any idea what Bank of America was called before it because BofA?). Also, it was probably was less towards German Americans since a "pass" at them had already taken place in recent (at the time) history (WW1).

hlo

Ohio
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10. Re: Road Trip through NV, ID, WY, SD, UT - Safe for Minorities?

agreed-- but hard to say when I am a "white female" I have never seen any ugliness towards any race at the national parks. In fact, most national parks is FULL of international visitors. Personally, I was asked to take photos of a young couple from Malaysia and then they had to take a photo WITH me as thier new found friend :) I've taken shots of 4 young Asian men (no idea the nationality) but they spoke not one word of English, but we managed to gesture and take photos of each other at one of the parks :) I have heard a multitude of languages at the parks-- I find it hard to believe you'd run into ugliness, but it does happen. It happens to me-- people just being ugly based on???? who knows what! Can't say it won't happen, but overall, I think you will find most Americans quite nice and friendly.