As I mentioned before, the last two days I was sitting in a conference on parks and park management out in California. Most everyone was pretty respectful in the room, and discussions about race and ethnicity that could have degenerated into political finger-pointing generally did not.
But there was one exception I thought really odd. A gentleman (can't remember his name), who is apparently the marketing director for Delaware North Company's extensive concession operations in Yellowstone, began his talk by expressing how crazy he thought Conservative Republicans are. I thought this was a lead in for some kind of joke, but actually he just seemed to want to make sure that though he was currently living in Wyoming, no one should mistake him for a Conservative. My guess at the time was that this man was transferred to this post after growing up back East, and is constantly embarrassed to think his tribe of liberal Easterners might think he was part of that flyover country Republican tribe. Otherwise, I can't figure out why he would feel the need to make us understand this -- it certainly had nothing to do with his pitch and it seemed like a terrible marketing practice, particularly given the likely demographics of his current customer base.**
In fact, in a bit of irony I see repeated fairly often, he used this as an intro to his speech on a day where the main topic was inclusiveness (for those in the parks world, we ritualistically beat ourselves up at every opportunity for not attracting enough young people, urbanites, and people of color to rural public parks). In theory, "inclusiveness" and "diversity" are supposed to mean that we are trying to get rid of the whole in-group / out-group thing altogether, but I often suspect that in practice, many folks are using them as code words for just shifting the out-group tag from one set of people to another.
** PS- which should not be taken to mean that I necesarily would disagree with him if we discussed the details, just that it seemed a pointless and even self-defeating observation to make in this context.