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.