Running While Black
Recently, the Centers for Disease Control recommended that everyone cover their faces each time they leave the house. The reasoning is that covering noses and mouths to keep droplets in will assist in flattening the curve. My social media feeds have been covered with call-outs, shaming anyone who violates this simple rule, especially runners. Why doesn't everyone just comply already? It's the safe and unselfish thing to do!
People of color think about safety more than many of us ever will. Face coverings don't make the (white) people around them feel more safe, which in turn makes POCs LESS safe. The further a body attached to a covered face diverges from bystander perceptions of what a runner looks like, the greater the danger that runner may face. It's a calculus people of color have to make every time they leave their house, "does my outfit SCREAM 'athlete' loud enough that people will think I'm training instead of running away?"
We subtly referenced this reality in our store with a simple t-shirt that says, "THIS IS WHAT A RUNNER LOOKS LIKE!", but that isn't enough to convince some people that a runner with dark skin jogging before the sun comes up isn't casing the neighborhood. Today, we have invited Sara and Misasha of the Dear White Women podcast (subscribe to their newsletter here!) to moderate a discussion with Sponsored Athlete Nikkia Young, ReBuild Coach Lovey Roundtree Oliff, and our beloved Dalia Kinsey of The School Nutrition Dietitian Podcast and the Body Liberation RD Instagram account to discuss how our feelings are, and have always been, directly tied to their safety.
We are not truly #inthistogether, which is why conversations about different experiences are vital. To be clear, these are three college-educated, skilled women with considerable economic privilege; all three live in predominantly white neighborhoods...some POCs face even more challenges. We invite you to listen in spite of any discomfort you may feel, that is where real, lasting change begins.
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Dear White Women
Nikkia R. Young, Sponsored Athlete of Fitness Protection Program
The School Nutrition Dietitian Podcast
Lovey Oliff, ReBuild Coach, Fitness Protection Program
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