Coalition: Park Ranger Uniforms ‘Threatening’ Latinos - Have ‘Cultural Implications’

By Eric Scheiner | April 29, 2016 | 3:12pm EDT
National Park Rangers stand by their vehicles in the National Park Service photo. Some claim the ranger uniform looks similar to those in immigration enforcement.

(CNSNews.com) - A coalition of legislators and civil rights groups say the National Park Service needs to focus on increasing inclusion on public lands, including possibly changing the “threatening” uniforms of Park Rangers.

“What we’re calling for is drastic, very scary change,” Maite Arce of the Hispanic Access Foundation said at a press conference Thursday.

“One example I can give you is with the Latino community, especially among the border states, but even nationwide, just the simple color of the uniforms that rangers wear.”

“It’s such a shame that something as simple as the uniform and it’s similarity to the border patrols uniform – in the coloring - could be very threatening to certain segments of the Latino population. So a discussion about that is going to be really tough.” Arce later added.

Arce has joined a coalition of civil rights groups and lawmakers asking President Obama to issue an executive order emphasizing the need for the Department of Interior and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to adopt guiding priorities for a more inclusive approach to National Parks.

Among the coalition’s policy suggestions are:

“Assess the cultural implications of existing agency uniforms, offices, signage, and other facilities. For example, the Park Service law-enforcement vehicles look like those used by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and uniforms have law enforcement connotations, both of which present a significant impediment to engaging all Americans.”

“Review names of sites throughout system for cultural bias. Some may require comprehensive name changes to reflect a broader and more inclusive history.”

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