Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Haley Reading Group: Jourdan Imani Keith’s “At Risk” and “Desegregating Wilderness”


[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2015)]

Cynthia A. Campbell and Howard Rambsy II

[Best American Science and Nature Writing]

Jourdan Imani Keith’s article “At Risk” focuses the term “at risk” as it applies to humans, endangered species (chinook salmon), and the ecosystem. Keith’s article “Desegregating Wilderness” highlights the contrast of the Civil Rights Act and the Wilderness Act.

In “At Risk,” Keith highlights the intersectional identity of being “at risk” as it pertains to race, gender, endangered species and physical location. The article speaks to the “at risk” label—protection or limitation/judgment. Keith notes that “Protecting an endangered species means changing the practices in an entire ecosystem to safeguard their survival” (150). This point indicates the dangers of ignoring the destruction of the ecosystem whether through climate change or ineffective safety precautions.

In “Desegregating Wilderness,” Keith illustrates the types of inequities associated with access to wilderness areas. The article addresses the problematic issues of the Wilderness Act. At one point, Keith notes that “people accessing recreation in the wilderness are still predominately white, and de facto segregation exists instead of a legal one” (152). This point indicates that divisiveness is associated with the lack of access.

After reading both articles, which one did you find most useful? Why?

54 comments:

Youssef Hassan said...

Both articles made great points, but i found that Desegregating Wilderness was easier to understand because the comparison between the Wilderness and Civil Rights Acts, made it more clear for me to understand why the author thought that it was important to notice the issues dealing with segregation taking place in the wilderness.

Desmond Crumer said...

As a person of color, Desegregating Wilderness and its' comparison to the civil rights act felt like it made more of an impact. Many people are never labeled as "at-risk" and will likely not be able to have sympathy and little if no empathy. However, all across the U.S people have grown up learning about civil rights in our country. So, I feel it brings the issue closer to home.

Ivyanne B. said...

After reading both articles I felt that the At Risk article was more useful and made more of an impact. I thought that it was clever how the author not only mention the segregation in nature but also in humans. "I tell the woman at the party, " All youth are at risk- the risks are just different." and some are endangered" (pg. 150). The article At Risk jumped around a little but I felt like it was easy to understand and involved not only segregation in nature but also in society with different races and gender.
-Ivyanne B.

Mackenzie Cohoon said...

Keith's article "at risk" resonated the most with me because could see the connections a lot better than I could in "Desegregating the Wilderness". I liked how Keith pointed out the similarities between humans and the endangered species in multiple situations with people from multiple backgrounds such as "Black, Latino, and Urban" (150). But most of all I liked how Keith didn't just point out the similarities, but she highlighted the differences. She highlighted the fact that in our culture,we put a lot of effort into protecting our wildlife because we recognize ho valuable they a re, but in a lot of cases, we can't even do that with our own people.

Alliyah M. said...

Out of the two articles, I believe Orion's "At Risk" was more useful. I think it clearly showed a significant flaw that still exists in society when comparing what "at-risk" means in terms of the wilderness and people. Orion stated when talking about the youth groups she works with:
"Even when the threats to their survival are the same as to an endangered species - an
unstable habitat, lack of nutrition, and a damages social and natural ecosystem - the
label leaves them at a deficit, offers no promise for protection"(150).
Orion clearly shows that it's flawed how society gives there protection and support to endangered species in the wilderness but when it comes to the youth in America who faced many struggles in life growing up, society views them as "troubled" and don't offer the support that they sometimes need, which could have a major impact in their lives.

Raillane Kamdem said...

Though both articals had their share of valid points, I found that the “At Risk” artical was most useful in how they related endangered species to multiple different races and backgrounds such as people from “black Latino and urban” (150) backgrounds. It really brought the point home because they compared it to something we know and can visualize.

Joke Adanri said...

Both articles were well written and made valid points but in my opinion, “At Risk” was the most useful in examining how American society is more concerned with endangered animals than with endangered black, latino, and urban youth. The clearest example of this was on page 150 which stated “All youth are at risk-the risks are just different. And some are endangered”. Society does a lot to try and save endangered animals, put doesn’t do the same for its youth.

Tyla Lucas said...

Between Keith’s two articles, I found her “At-Risk” article to be more useful. I understood her point that “the at-risk label is different for youth than it is for salmon”(150). She works with young people who are considered “at-risk” yet nothing is done to protect them unlike the salmon. In fact once they are labeled “at-risk” it seems that everything is now going against them. They are hindered not helped. We are willing to put in more work to protect and help fish survive than our youth.

Lena Searcy said...

Jourdan Imani Keith's article was more personal and interesting to me. I was able to relate more to her article, especially as she acknowledged that she was a black woman and may be at more risk than others doing her job as well as the kids, who were of color, and the assumptions people made about them. I found the article Desegregating wilderness to be more factual, she mentioned more history, dates, and legislation rather than personal thoughts and experiences.

Christine Sheriff said...

Personally, I thought Orions piece, "At Risk," was easier to read and the most useful in terms of proving the point. Her ending line on page 150 was very strong to me, "I tell the woman at the party, all youth are at risk- the risks are just different...and some are endangered." This piece helped to speak on the flaws within society in terms of those youth in America "at risk," and at most times minorities. Her comparison between the salmon and people added to the writing as well.

Shaina Falkner said...

I found Keith's article, "At Risk" to be more useful and important as far as putting human's behavior into perspective through the comparison of how the Wilderness and how other humans are treated. This article was successful in interpreting the different meanings of being "at risk" in comparison toward humans and the wilderness. She describes her conversation with another woman who calls Keith's youth crews who are nonwhite "at risk" because they are minorities. They are automatically "at risk" because of their skin tone, even though most of the teenagers in the crew were successful and far from being at risk. But, when that is describing an animal or anything of wild life it means that we must make changes to protect them so that they are not "at risk". I believe that this article highlights the way sosciety behaves toward eachoter and, being a black woman, I believe this is very important to highlight.

Anonymous said...

I really take to the Jourdan Imani Keith's article "At Risk". This article struck me as very insightful because of the ability to compare and contrast a term used for animals and wildlife to how it is used when referring to human youth. Being an at-risk or endangered species warrants protection from places and organizations, such as the Government, while being a young person labelled as at-risk is rather a "limitation", as Keith says on page 150.
-Kevin Cox

Kiara Coker said...

Both readings mention race and allowed me to see in which perspective she was writing from. In "At Risk" she says how she was "acutely at risk" and how she needed protection. I immediately made a correlation between the way she felt in that moment and how nature and wilderness are treated. Laws that, even then, are not taken very seriously by the vast majority of people because people still exploit some species that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. The reading "Desegregating Wilderness" was easier to follow which would make it a more reliable source. It's intriguing to me how the Wilderness Act did a better job at giving the chance for its protected group to flourish than the Civil Rights Act, but I digress. However, I do agree that the wilderness does need protection in order for it to not be drained of its beauty. The same should be for unprotected groups of people.

Kamela Cross said...

While both articles were overall thrilling to read, I found "Desegregating Wilderness" more useful. The article made it easier to understand the problems arising in the wild by connecting it to the Civil Rights Act. I find it troubling to relate to being labeled "at risk" like in the other article. I found we were never at risk but underappreciated which is why the second article resonated more with me.

Qcadwell said...

Desegregating Wilderness resonated the most with me because I agreed with the authors position that no one will protect anything that they have not seen or experienced. Wilderness needs to be accessible to everyone not just rural white Americans. Once everyone gets the fair chance to touch, see, and feel nature, they will be able to feel appreciation for the wonder that is mother nature.

Rodney Clark said...

"Desegregating the Wilderness" and "At Risk", written by Orion, is about relating the troubles in the wilderness with the troubles of humans. The author goes in to describe all that's being done to ensure the fish are able to survive and was able to relate that to children being at risk. The second goes more in-depth in how the wilderness was segregated from humanity due to an act. Because of this people's perception on the environment changed and see the world they live in as separate from all other creatures. Doing this has made them no longer care about what happens to their own environment.

-Rodney Clark

Ronnie Akpan said...

While both articles did a well job of carrying out their purpose, I feel tat Desegregating Wilderness gave me some sort of connection due to me being a young, African-American man. The article did a great job using numerous symbolisms between our nature and civil rights and how these two concepts converge to create something that anyone, regardless of personal background, can relate to and apply to his or her daily life.

Devin Ellis-Martin said...

Both articles were sophisticated in their own manner, however, the article “Desegregating Wilderness” stood out to me. The way it brought up the civil rights act brought up a good point in how people can be labeled in society today.

Dayejah Coates said...

I found "At Risk" more useful because it goes deeper for me and kind of hits home. I completely agree and feel where she is coming from because it's true that we pay so much attention to the wilderness, but not our own species who are struggling with issues.

Jayla said...

In “At Risk” she touches on being an women and a minority. Jourdan Imani Keith wrote, “Despite my comfort, I am acutely aware that I am at-risk: Black. Women. Alone (149). Keith also wrote, “My youth groups crews are Black. Latino. Urban.” And a women says, “Oh, you work with at-risk youth” (150). It seems to my that being a minority means your at-risk. Implying that if your not white or a men that you’re at-risk. She describes being at-risk as a limitation, a judgement, an assumption. She compares them to endangered species, which I found interesting. I never thought about it that way. She says all are at-risk, just different. It makes you think about how people view minority’s. Are we viewed as at-risk or endangered. But its different when talking about salmon than humans. At-risk means protection for salon but something entirely different for humans.

Anonymous said...

I found Jourdan Imani Keith's "At Risk" to be more useful. I found it interesting that the woman described the volunteers as "at risk" just because of their ethnicities or backgrounds. I think it's more useful because it talked tied everything in together nicely. The author first used to term "at risk" when talking about her being outside alone: "I am acutely aware that I am at risk: Black. Woman. Alone. Camping" (149). I found that clever because she then goes on to say how the fish were at risk and then used the term again later on. I felt like even though she used the term each time they sort of meant different things because like she said everyone is at risk in their own way.

Kendall Clark said...

After reading both articles, I found "At Risk" by Orion to be more useful. I found this article to not only be easier to read, but also easier to relate to emotionally. At the end of "At Risk," I felt that I had a better understanding o9f what the author was trying to get across to readers. Ultimately, I felt a stronger emotional connection at the conclusion of this essay, which made it more useful to me.

Isaiah Johnson said...

Honestly, I just got this notification late today like 20 minutes ago. That's after I worked all day after classes rewriting a 2,000 word rough draft because I couldn't produce even near the required word count with my initial topic of the Vietnam war, so I changed to the Civil Rights Movement, which GAME helped me understand a deeper meaning in this subject. So while reason this, I was in the mindset of thinking of the Civil Rights Movement, as I had to produce a minimum of 2,000 words, and ended up producing right under 2,300 words, not counting the citations. As you could imagine, I linked this even more strongly with the Civil Rights Movement, and how when humans label species as "at risk," they essentially do everything they can to preserve that species, even creating laws to protect them. It took centuries of oppression, decades of speeches and marches, two assassinations of 39 year old prominent, highly educated black men (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, I found out they both died at the age of 39 while doing my research), and thousands of beatings and least hundreds of thousands of deaths to pass merely a few laws that aren't even followed correctly. While the great white shark takes bites out of human legs and tips over boats, and they get laws immediately placed in their place to protect them. I love animals, but this reminds me of Rwanda, which was recently re-brought up in one of my classes, where the UN General said in Hotel Rwanda that the world believes in blacks as dirt, and Africans as less than dirt, while he was risking his job to save the lives of the Rwandans alone because the rest of the world wouldn't.

DeMarco McCottrell said...

After reading both articles, I find Keith's "At-Risk" to be the more useful article. I think it is more relatable to everyone simply because there have been times in which they have been labeled into a group that they don't necessarily even belong to or acknowledge. I also think that in this article that the metaphor of salmon to the at risk group of teens and leaders is a better way of explaining how endangered are species have a label after being identified for a certain reason, whereas in "Desegregated Wilderness", the metaphors between The Wilderness Act and Civil Rights Act are thrown in almost simultaneously which makes it more difficult to distinguish between which act is actually being discussed.

Kameryn Sabino said...

At risk was more useful because he clearly explained the analogy between at risk species and at risk youth in America. "At risk label isn't a protection but a limitation". That really stood out to me because this lady had two definitions of the same phrase to two different species. In the case of the salmon, at risk means protection of that species. In the case of the at risk youth, they are being judged.

-Kameryn Sabino

Brianna Pickens said...

Both articles made great arguments but I believe that desegregating wilderness was a lot easier to understand due to the comparison to the civil rights act. Keith could really show the segregation of animals when comparing it to how people were treated in the 1960’s.
While it was easier to understand, I also agreed with a lot of the points made by Orion in “At Risk.” He talks about the dangers of ignoring the destruction of the ecostem in multiple ways.

Chidera Onyeizeh said...

I liked Desegregating Wilderness by Keith because of the comparison of The Wilderness Act to the Civil Rights Act. I think it is very understandable than “At Risk”

Chidera Onyeizeh

Samontriona P said...

Both of the articles made valid points, but I believe that "At Risk" by Jourdan Imani Keith had a greater impact. I say that because Keith focussed on comparing endangered species to endangered humans which are under the categories of black, latino, or urban. It was interesting because on page 150 someone states "Oh, you work with at-risk youth." That stuck out to me because that term meant one thing when talking about the humans, and another when referring to the salmons.

Kiana S said...

In my opinion, "At Risk" was the more useful article. The way Keith depicted the similarities between endangered species and at-risk youth was very impactful. With the similarities shown, she also pointed out how we as a society treat them extremely differently. It was eye-opening while "Desegregating Wilderness" was just a bit harder for me to follow her point. It seemed to be along the same message as the "At Risk" article, but not quite the same hard-hitting manner for me personally.

Argos 1756 said...


Desegregating Wilderness made many comparisons to the civil rights act. Through the years being in school and being a person of color my background on the subject made this an easier read. Desegregating is something that many places have gone through and because of that I understand the author taking the time to write this and address these issues. The act of desegregating a place effects everyone in that area and outside of it one way or another.

Argos 1756 said...

Daeja Daniels

Desegregating Wilderness I found was an easier read because throughout the years learning about the civil rights act was a staple in history every year. Because of this I understand why the author felt the need to write about this topic. It address several crucial issues. The analogies and connections the author drew between nature and the civil rights act allowed for me to see things a little differently.

James Beverly said...

“At Risk” was the article that stuck with me the most. This article was able to show more of the differences of individuals rather than their similarities. This tactic in writing really shows why those individuals segregate themselves. Both articles were well at showing The differences and the segregation in nature, I did enjoy that from both articles.

Jada Baker said...

After reading the articles, I found "At Risk" to be more useful. Aside from being easier to read, I found it easier to make connections to. By relating at-risk people to endangered species Keith was able to stress her point to the reader in way that everyone could connect to.
-Jada Baker

Jasmyn Kloster said...

I found that Keith’s article, “Desegregating Wilderness” resonates with me more because it was the easier of the two for me to grasp the comparison between the wilderness and civil rights. I also agreed with the point of no person will protect anything they have not seen with their own eyes or they have not experienced. When more people are able to experience the wilderness they will be more willing to help protect and appreciate it.

Stella Nguepnang said...

Jourdan Imani Keith’s "At Risk" was more useful for me because it had an example I could relate to when it compared it to segregation and people of color. It made a better connection between animals and humans. It helps the reader see that the wilderness act is very much like the civil rights act.

Christen King said...

I really enjoyed reading "At Risk." It showed the lack of concern for humans and the very odd way of thinking in America. Tagging a child, usually minority, as an at-risk youth carries a completely different meaning compared to putting that same label on a fish (p.150). In regard to humans, "At-risk" is considered a limitation or a judgement, while in regard to a salmon it is considered a word for protection and their need for in life. Same word, but very different meaning in context. Keith made it very obvious that we put a lot of effort into protecting our wildlife because we recognize their value, but we're unable to do that with our own, usually minority, people.

Alishiana Ivy said...

After reading both of these articles and analyzing them carefully i have came to a conclusion that Keith's article “at risk” was the one I found more useful. One thing I really liked was how she was able to talk about segregation in animals and tie it to segregation in our own species. On page 150 “All youth are at risk, the risks are different, some are endangered”. This really was a clever way to get her point out because the readers can relate to it.

Taija Cook said...

After reading both of these articles, I found the " At Risk" to be the more useful article. The way the author compared endangered species to at risk youth really made the article more interesting and relatable to me. The other article was just not as interesting.

Marley McCoy said...

Between the two articles I think that I could understand and relate to "At Risk" alot more. I thought the author did a great job of comparing our youth to endangered species.

Anonymous said...

After reading both At Risk and Desegregating Wilderness by Jourdan Imani Keith, I found that the first story, At Risk, to be more useful for me. I was really interested in the quote she used that read " The 'at-risk' label is different for youth than it is for salmon. 'At-risk' isn't a protection but a limitation, a judgement, an assumption.". On a personal level, I feel like i can honestly relate to these words. I know how it feels to feel as if you're being judged or limited by something that you were born with, something that a person cannot simply change. These simple things like skin color or body type truly have no need to cause such colossal problems for America's children. Kobi P.

Anonymous said...

After reading both articles, I find the article “At Risk” most useful. This is because she highlights the difference of the word risk mean between endangered species and humans. She says “ They are protected under the Endangered Species Act.(149)” And she also says “I am acutely aware that I am at risk: Black. Woman. Alone. Camping. (149)” This shows how the word risk differs from humans and animals. Animals are protected when they are at risk. Human are looked down on if they are considered “at risk”. Thomas M.

TOMIKA COLLINS said...

I read both of the articles and thought about each one in great depth. After doing so I found that Keith's article “At Risk” to be more interesting. The way she compared salmon to people was great. This article was an easy read and just as easy to comprehend. It was interesting the way the author describes how not only is there segregation in humans but also in nature.

Jaleel Fuquay said...

After reading both articles, I think that "AT Risk" is the more useful of the two. I believe this because the author shows that their is a difference between humans and other species being at risk. These words resonate with me and other people because I am black. The system views us, like other species, differently. Whenever we mention that animals at risk, everyone panics and asks what they can do to help. When they talk about humans, there isn't as much urgency or care.

Anonymous said...

I feel as though the article “At Risk” was more powerful than the “Desegregating Wilderness” article. My reasoning behind this decision is that I feel I can relate to the article’s message. The article starts off by talking about the endangered animals and how we all go into a fray when we find out a species is about to die off. Then, the artist uses this idea to reflect on how society treats minorities. Jourdan Imani Keith says, “All youth are at risk-the risks are just different” on page 150. Keith is speaking to a white woman who automatically assumed that she worked with troubled- or “at risk” youth- when speaking of the diverse group of people Keith works with to become “wilderness leaders”. This is important because it isn’t right that the second someone who isn’t a minority hears of a group of youth who are people of different nations, they automatically believe they need help to get away from the wrong path. It is important to remember that everyone has struggles, but those who are categorized as minorities are seen as people who need help to be good people which is not the case. Jonathan S.

Anonymous said...

Jourdan Imani Keith’s article “At Risk” focuses the term “at risk” as it applies to humans, endangered species (chinook salmon), and the ecosystem. Keith’s article “Desegregating Wilderness” highlights the contrast of the Civil Rights Act and the Wilderness Act. After reading both articles, which one did you find most useful? Why?

After reading both articles, I found the "At Risk" to be more useful. I think it has more to do with the fact that you could understand what he was saying in laymen's turns. He equated humanity animals across the world with having one common denominator -- being at risk. When humans are able to picture themselves in these situations, change starts to happen more quickly because icy starts to hit home more. Toriel S.

Jada James said...

I felt like "At Risk" is more relevant to right now as well as being more easily understandable. The comparisons used in it also make it easily resonate with readers.

Chikelue Nkemeh said...

As being a minority myself, more importantly African-American, I found myself being able to understand Keith's "Desegregating Wilderness" much more fluidly because of the analogy's Keith makes to compare the wilderness's nature and civil right act.

Breonna Roberts said...

"At Risk" by Jourdan Iman Keith made the most sense to me in regards to comparing the words meanings. If you label a fish 'endangered' or 'at risk', it makes people want to protect it. At risk in terms of animals has a negative connotation like it would when a human is labeled the same, but it does not carry the same meaning. When a person is labeled 'at risk' they are treated poorly and like they are troublemakers and not worth the work. A lot of times at risk is a label given to black children that act out or are hard to communicate with. People fail to take the time to see where the anger might be coming from or why the child is acting out in such a manner.

Kalonji Rumph said...

The article the I found to be more helpful and relevant from my perspective is Imani Keith's "At risk". The last quote on page 151 read, "All youth are at risk-the risks are just different. And some endangered". You don't always need a bunch of words to raise a point, and what she said here is a perfect example of that. Keith's message is powerful and simple. She's saying that we should spend more time trying to save our "at risk" youth as opposed to forming premature opinions, judgments, and putting limitations on their ceilings. When we hear about an endangered species our first instinct isn't to judge them, it's to save them.

Diana Lienemann said...

After reading both articles, I found that "At Risk" would be more useful. Both articles made great points and discussed a topic that is not really talked about that often. I believe the "At Risk" article is more useful because it is more realistic for people to understand and adapt to. On page 151, the author writes "All youth are at-risk, the risks are just different." In "Desegregating Wilderness" she writes about how wilderness should zigzag through urban areas; some people will take that as living among the wilderness, and most people would not agree with that. Whereas mentioning that all children are at-risk, the risks are just different, is easier to comprehend.

Dejanee Geeters said...

I think that "At Risk" would be more useful. Both articles make great points and discuss a topic that is not often spoke on. At risk, in terms of animals, has a negative connotation like it would when a human is labeled the same, but it does not carry the same meaning.If you label an animal 'endangered' or 'at risk', it makes people want to protect it. As an African-American minority myself, I found myself being able to understand Keith's "Desegregating Wilderness" much more fluidly because of the analogy's Keith makes to compare the wilderness's nature and civil rights act.

Dejanee Geeters said...

After reading both articles, I think that "At Risk" would be more useful.Both articles make great points and discussed a topic that is not often spoke of."At Risk" by Jourdan Iman Keith made the most sense to me in regards to comparing the words meanings. If you label an animal 'endangered' or 'at risk', it makes people want to protect it."All youth are at risk-the risks are just different. And some endangered". Being a minority myself I found being able to understand Keith's "Desegregating Wilderness" much more fluidly because of the analogy's Keith makes to compare the wilderness's nature and civil right act.

Precious Middleton said...

I felt like both articles were useful and important. However, I felt more connected to "At Risk" because I have been or seen situation with 'at risk' teens. I was able to understand it a lot better than the other article. I live in Chicago where many situations could be avoided but aren't, and it puts a lot of kids in danger of doing the wrong thing.

Precious Middleton said...

I felt like both articles were useful and important. However, I felt more connected to "At Risk" because I have been or seen situation with 'at risk' teens. I was able to understand it a lot better than the other article. I live in Chicago where many situations could be avoided but aren't, and it puts a lot of kids in danger of doing the wrong thing.