Posted by: naturistreview | March 6, 2012

The Color of Naked

When I wake up in the morning, I don’t think I’m Asian. When I walk down the street I see myself as I am, a person with dreams and aspirations like anyone else. It’s hard to believe, even though it’s true, that there are people out there who believe me less than they are. To them I’m sub-human and not worthy of respect or polite treatment. You see I’m something of a rarity, I’m a Asian American naturist. I got interested in naturism in my 20s and have been practicing naturism off and on since the 1990s.

Naturism preaches a lifestyle in harmony with nature through nudity. Nudity is something of a shared humanity. One of the tenets naturists always expound is nudity breaks down social and economic barriers. However, I have seen and experienced prejudice within naturism.

Background: Southern California is rapidly changing. Areas once predominantly Caucasian are now mostly Hispanic, Asian, or other. Most nudist resorts/clubs in Southern California are out in the boonies or rural areas. Many of these clubs are in San Bernadino, Riverside, and San Diego Counties. These areas have a lot of “White Flight” refugees who used to live in Los Angeles County. To be fair, many of those who live in those Counties aren’t bigots or racists, but the fact is some are.

I have visited some of these clubs and let’s just say I was made to feel unwelcomed. No one yelled a racial slur or said anything negative to me, in fact they didn’t say anything to me at all. They didn’t acknowledge me, they didn’t return a smile or a greeting. Just cold blank stares, empty of compassion or empathy. I couldn’t wait to leave. At one well known nudist resort which will remain nameless, I asked the owner how many minority naturist members they had? The owner replied, “we don’t.”

To make things clear, I have also met a lot of cool people at nudist clubs and resorts. Not everyone is a racist and naturism is not full of bigots. But it’s kind of shocking that people who have chosen the nude lifestyle, who have seen the commonality of the nude human body, still believe certain people to be less than they are.


Responses

  1. I’m Vietnamese and interested in naturism. Never been to a resort, but am sad after reading about your experience. I have naturist resorts in my area before to see if there are any minorities and got the same answer as you.

    • Nguyen thank you for your reply.

      Please don’t let my article deter you from nude recreation. As in life, we must fight for our rights and this goes for the right to be nude.

      Not all clubs are the same, find the right one.

      Keep on keeping on!

  2. I’ve had negative and positive experiences as a southern California nudist, so I know how twisted things can get. I’m not questioning your experiences, because they are your experiences, and I’ve had my share of bad ones, but I do have some questions and observations after reading what you wrote.

    My first question is are you single or do you travel as a couple? I’ve long complained about the hostility directed towards “unaccompanied males” nude recreation. Some of the reactions you described reminded me of the receptions that I used to receive until people got to know me in my single days.

    Some clubs have a weird vibe. Back when I first became a “practicing” nudist, I tried calling Glenn Eden in Corona. I’ll never forget, or forgive, the sense I got that the person on the phone felt that I should be ashamed of myself for even suggesting that they allow me to visit there club.

    Several years ago, I visited Glen Eden with my wife. It was a nice place, but I couldn’t shake that unfriendly vibe.

    My wife is as white as can be, and despite the fact that my olive skin tans to a nice mahogany shade, I’m technically Caucasian. Could it be that you’re meeting jerks instead of racists?

    I agree that nudism in America tends to lean towards an older and whiter demographic, but is that a reflection of racism, or is it an indication of cultural biases against social nudity? How many of your Asian friends practice social nudism when the white folk aren’t around?

    I thought it was interesting when you pointed out the location of most of our area clubs and resorts. I’ve never had the impression that any of the clubs that I’ve visited, whether here in California, or even in Texas, were frequented by “locals”. Sure, there were some locals, but most people tend to drive quite a long distance to get to these clubs. Nudist clubs aren’t in the boonies because of white flight any more than rednecks, hillbillies, and right wing conservatives are the key demographic.

    Again, I’m not questioning your experiences. People can be jerks, I’m just wondering how much of it has more to do with the new guy than racism.

  3. Whether we’re nude or not it’s terrible that racism still exists, and that people would treat you like less of a person because you’re Asian. A “racist nudist” sounds like an oxymoron, but just because someone likes to go nude, we can’t assume they have ethics or morals or respect the tenets of the movement. There will still be racist, homophobic, prejudiced people, but hopefully they represent a very small minority of nudists. I’m not surprised you got that answer about minorities at a resort, as I think that’s where you’ll find the least diversity – at private clubs and resorts, reserved for the privileged white class. Nude beaches tend to be much more diverse. I think it’s time we start to expect more from our fellow naturists.

  4. […] one at Naturist Review. This is where the train started to leave the tracks. In an article called The Color of Naked, the author who identifies as an Asian American naturist, describes feeling unwelcome at nudist […]

  5. Nudists can be very open and friendly, or not so much. We’ve found that private clubs tend to be rather clannish, which isn’t surprising since they pay for the privilege of being there and often do the work to maintain the place. Like any group of friends they can be wary of strangers.

    Like Dread said, single males are usually persona-non-grata due to the problems that they can and have been known to cause. Fair or not, it’s been that way pretty much forever. You can read articles from the 30’s that list the same problems and concerns clubs have today in maintaining a good mix of visitors.

    From personal experience I can say that if I go to one of our local places without Angie I get a much different reception, even after years of visiting. That’s just the way it is.

    If it IS an ethnic problem you’re experiencing, that’s a shame. Not surprising perhaps since those club folks, besides being nudists, are ordinary people with ordinary prejudices. We like to think of nudists as being somewhat more liberal in their thinking but that’s not necessarily so. A large portion of us are middle-American blue collar with all the conservative ideas that can come with that. Different people are scary!

    I think referring to club people as rich white folks is a bit overstated. Largely white, sure, but mainly working class and small business-people except maybe at the fancy, expensive clubs. I know we felt out of place at Caliente!

    Hope you have better luck in the future. Things change, but ever so slowly. Good article!

    -Steve

  6. Reblogged this on All Nudist and commented:
    Are nudists racist? A question we wish didn’t need to be asked.

  7. I’m a Laotian from New England and I’m a nudist as well. I have my fair share of discrimination from race, sex, sexual orientation and even disability. It doesn’t surprise me that I see it within Nudism as well. Though that’s why for me, I tend to shy away from organized nudism because of how they have treated me and how they are not welcoming and inclusive. That’s why I go skinny dipping instead of going to a nudist resort. Even for me, I’ll never go to a nudist resort, even if they are welcoming or inclusive. For me, it’s because how I perceive nudist resorts to be, either sexist, homophobic or even racist.

  8. Nicky, the sad fact is that what you’re describing isn’t limited to organized nudism. You’re describing the shame of the United States as a whole.

    Asian, sexual orientation, and disabled. When it comes to drawing out the stupid in people, you scored the hat trick. I can’t even begin to imagine the battles you’ve had to fight to overcome prejudice and bias as a firefighter/EMT, and as a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Even school can be a daily battle. I’m sure that you could tell a story or two about bigots and other idiots on the job, so you don’t need me to tell you that being the best you can be is the best way to combat that type of ignorance.

    I suppose it makes sense that you wouldn’t want to deal with that kind of nonsense during your time off. Who visits a club or resort to fight a battle? Like me, you simply want to relax. Besides, if you have someplace where you can skinny dip without being a hassled, why go to the trouble and expensive of running around resorts?

    Me, I like resorts and clubs because they’re a great place to meet people. Steering around idiots is a natural part of life, but I do understand why you would choose not to reward a business that allows bigots and racists the freedom to make people uncomfortable. That sort of nonsense must not be tolerated anywhere.

    However, I don’t understand your assertion that you’d “never go to a nudist resort, even if they are welcoming or inclusive”. I understand not participating in a sexist (I’m curious what you mean with this one), homophobic (Can not be denied), or racist environment. I simply don’t understand being biased against a welcoming and inclusive.

    • My assertion is that I’ll never step into a Nudist resort even if they are welcoming or inclusive because I still hold a view that some nudist resorts are sexist, homophobic and even may harbor some racist views. Even some think that I should not be their being that I’m intersex and not friendly towards Intersex people or the LGBT community as well.

      That’s why I live in New England and we have more places to go skinny dipping than nudist resorts. For example, I am not far from Vermont or Mass, where I can find wide variety of places to go skinny dipping and not be hassled by Nudist resorts because I’m Single, Intersex and disabled.

      The nudist resorts I know around New England are mostly for families and couples. Very few singles are allowed their and because of that, I shy from nudist resorts and tend to go Skinny dipping at the local watering whole.

      As far as for me, I have faced my fair share of discrimination in life, but I learn to deal with and learn to find my own place. I carve out my own niche and shy away from organized nudism because I see nudism as somewhat not welcoming or inclusive to people like me or the LGBT community as large. That’s why for me, I tend to stay away from Nudist resorts and I tend to go Skinny dipping in Vermont

  9. There are racists in all walks of life and suspect in the nudist community as well that is why it is worth talking about. The possibility of racial prejudice is why I am most hesitant about social nudism.

    • You ain’t the only one who’s hesitant about social nudism. For me, I shy away from it because of perceive notions of social nudism and how they lack the welcoming and inclusiveness.

  10. Perhaps the issue was that you were at a place that calls itself a “resort?”

    I agree that naturists belonging to ethnic minorities seem to be an unfortunately rare sight, as I enjoy socializing with all kinds of people. It also seems to be that any place called a “resort” (naturist or otherwise) tends to lean toward exclusivity. Hopefully you will find a club or perhaps public land that hosts a more open-minded naturist crowd.

    At least your post here will call a bit of attention to the issue.

  11. […] we’re talking about someone as vile as the glaring racists described by Naturist Review, or it may be the mother hen dogging every step and misstep of a new […]

  12. Well, I’m a Japanese naturist in Japan.
    Though I have not been to foreign countries
    because I’m very poor to trip around,
    I have been introducing naturism to Japanese people in Japanese language
    with my homepages and blog and some SNS(twitter, facebook, Google+).
    In Japan, the police has very strong will to arrest social nudism.
    My homepages had been clamped down by the police,
    I went to court and had fought for two years and spend 1 million yen
    for this case, but lost it.
    In Japan, Justice and Human’s rights are not exist in the court,
    the police, the government.
    And other Japanese nudists don’t have any will to fight to them.
    Living as a naturist in Japan is very hard.
    But I don’t give up my lonely activity.
    I want to get any partner for it.


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