Guest post: What NOT to do when Black Lives Matter stages a protest at your goal marathon

You’re in for a real treat today. Angry Runner found herself (rightfully) horrified by some online commentary and she felt compelled to write up a proper tirade about it. Since she shut down her own blog, I offered her this venue. I could say some bullshit disclaimer about how her remarks do not necessarily reflect the opinions and viewpoints of this blog, but nah. I agree 100% with every word. You’ll see.

Thirty years ago, I ran my first race. I was wearing middle-aged gym teacher shorts and Velcro shoes. It started with a whistle on a miserably hot stretch of pavement in the middle of a military base. When I finished, a volunteer handed me an index card where I wrote my name and time. (Though in fairness, pretty sure my mom helped me with this part because I was like 6.)

Over the next 10 years or so, I ran a lot of races like this. Low key. Low budget. McDonald’s cups of orange Gatorade that would burn your throat. No (or cheap) awards. Just you and someone’s actual stop watch.

grandpa

Not surprisingly, things started evolving in the early 2000s. Automatic timing and breathable fabrics became requirements. Once hard to find, running shorts for women began popping up all over the place. And suddenly all those assholes who mocked me for running in high school were now posting pictures on Facebook of “OMG MY FIRST 5K.” Soon “MY FIRST 5K” became “MY FIRST MARATHON!” And then…marathons started selling out, despite their suddenly much higher price.

Wonder why I’m telling you this? It’s not because I wore an onion on my belt (which was the style at the time). It’s because what was once a simple, cheap, and low key sport is now…A THING. Color runs. Foam runs. Bubble runs. All sorts of bullshit. Running and marketing have become entwined.

Shit evolves. I get that. Remember, I once refused to use a smart phone. (Oops.)

But the sad reality of road racing is that is has become something really only enjoyed by the privileged.

So, that brings me to the Black Lives Matter scheduled Twin Cities Marathon protest. If you don’t know about it, you can read about it right here.

Now, if I were running Twin Cities I’d certainly be wondering if I’d be able to finish. But quite frankly, I’d be more frightened by the behavior of some of those I see commenting on this planned protest.

So without further ado, let me tell you how NOT to react when BLM plans to protest your goal marathon.

  1. Don’t threaten violence.

this is shitty and racist

this sucks

So you’ve spent a lot of money. Maybe you’re going for a PR. Maybe you’re trying to hit your 50th state. I’d be worried too. However, stating that you’re planning to assault someone really just validates why BLM is doing this to begin with: you’re saying that finishing a race matters more than someone’s life. I’m not speaking broadly. These people are talking about carrying guns and breaking necks. This is pretty blatant.

  1. Don’t say racist shit.

this is fucking racist

You’re angry. And you’ll defend yourself by saying, “BUT I’M ANGRY.” But here is the thing: if your first reaction is to say something racist, you’re racist. In the case above this person FIRST breaks rule #1, THEN makes a racist comment.

But it gets worse, and there’s some homophobia thrown in there too.

homophobia and racism make you extra shitty

Interesting how homophobia seems like a non sequitur here. And I must say that I’m shocked that angry white man rage results in both casual racism and homophobia. SHOCKED!

im_shocked

  1. Don’t make this about runners.

this guy is definitely an asshole

According to this fellow, Black Lives Matter could get their message across more effectively by cheering for the runners.

nope

When I saw that I stared at my computer screen for a good minute or so because this person is actually suggesting that people would support the message of Black Lives Matter if demonstrators just stood there doing…what the majority of people will be out there doing.

Yeah, okay. If you don’t get why this is offensive, read this and get back to me.

  1. Don’t say “runners’ lives matter!”

fuck this guyOr really, any variation of “all lives matter.” But somehow “runners lives” strikes me as an even stupider false equivalency. While “all lives matter” is thrown out as a fake cry for unity, “runners lives matter” is thrown out as a reason to assert privilege.

privilege

Yep.

Because like it or not, you are privileged to run a marathon. You’re privileged to pay for it. You’re privileged to have the time to train for it. You’re probably privileged to be able to train in a neighborhood where people don’t assume you are running from the cops. You may not see it that way. But the thing is, this isn’t back in the old days where people would start with a whistle and write their names on an index card and be happy with shitty Gatorade. Marathons are major events. Expensive events. Expensive events that some of you are privileged enough to do every weekend. And hell, you have entire clubs dedicated to trying to run a goddamn marathon in all 50 states…that’s pretty much the epitome of privilege.

Before you ask “why would BLM target us runners???”…you need to think about that.

And don’t tell me that “BUT PEOPLE OF ALL RACES RUN MARATHONS!” Because that’s not the point.

giphy (2)

The point is to draw attention to a serious issue by peacefully interrupting a gathering of people who are in some way privileged. And while I hope everyone running can still find a way to finish, I can’t help but read over the reactions to Black Lives Matter and understand exactly why they’re targeting the Twin Cities Marathon.

giphy (1)

Currently based in the Pacific Northwest, you can hire Angry Runner for parties, funerals, and bar mitzvahs.

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91 thoughts on “Guest post: What NOT to do when Black Lives Matter stages a protest at your goal marathon

  1. Pingback: Guest post: What NOT to do when Black Lives Matter stages a protest at your goal marathon | A Fast Paced Life

    • Another white apologist for being born into a family with some money. And one that stereotypes white men. I’m SHOCKED because that never happens within the white liberal crowd, of which I am a part of but makes me want to vommit from time to time. Pick an easy target and go after them to the applause of dumb liberals everywhere. Yawn. You’re taking individual Twitter examples to prove your point about angry white men. I could do that with any topic and skew it towards my viewpoint. That’s how Twitter works….every crazy person has a voice. It’s weak and easy. What is this protest supposed to accomplish besides disrupting the lives of the oh-so-privileged runners and making them anxious? Will it inspire a friendlier rapport between those privileged runners and african-americans? I doubt it. Will it make those privileged runners more sympathetic to the very real problems that african-americans frequently have to deal with? I highly doubt that as well. But being the white apologist you are, you lack the backbone needed to think for yourself when it comes to BLM, which only embarrasses itself every week. “Don’t make this about runners”…..I mean it’s only a marathon.

      • I know, those people should stay away from the lunch counter when all I am trying to do is eat in peace. What is that protest supposed to accomplish besides disrupting my dinner? It makes me want to vommmit.

      • “Another white apologist for being born into a family with some money. And one that stereotypes white men.”

        WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT.

  2. Yaaaassss! I actually hadn’t even heard of this. I don’t follow many running bloggers anymore and although I do follow BLM activists and lots of journalists writing about this, it hadn’t come up.

    I can’t believe someone brought up dogs and hoses. NO. JUST NO. #postracialsociety

  3. I agree with your points, I really do. No need for racism or violence in this situation. I disagree with one part or your introduction. There are a lot of runners, (namely my wife) who have been running for another reason which is charity (raising money. I would agree that its expensive, but there are some things to avoid (chafing and blisters) that putting some extra money into will help. She and lots of others are and have been using this event to raise money to build wells in Africa. I know you’re not directing this post at people like her, but I don’t like the idea of assuming that all the runners are privileged.

    Check out why her and lots of others are running, and help out if you want too!
    http://www.teamworldvision.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=12311

    • I have every mixed feelings about this in a number of ways and for a number of reasons, and your wife may be raising money for a good cause, but that’s in part precisely because she is in the privileged position of being able to do that. Doing good is using your privilege to help others; it doesn’t absolve you of having privilege.

      • Question for dc: Why is using ones privilege to do good… bad? Isn’t the point to call the “privileged” to arms to do more good (aka be a force for change in racial inequality)?

      • dc, you are in a privlleged position ob being able to post on here. It also does not absolve you of having privlege. Same can be said of anyone living in America, in having the privilege of being able to plan a peaceful protest at a marathon or any other event or venue. That does not absolve any of us from our priliege. We are a country of privlege, so who gets to choose where the privlige line is drawn? Everyone has issues and concerns and causes and ideas. We all need a home, we all need to be safe, we all need to be to be loved, we all need to speak our mind. free speech is free speech. As disgusting as some of it is, it is still free.
        privileged or not.

    • Thanks for your comment. I want AR to respond to this since she wrote the post, but I can’t help putting in my 2 cents because you do have a point. But it’s my feeling that the BLM protest doesn’t detract from or prevent charitable organizations from raising money. The fundraising is already completed by race day. It’s not like they’re taking the money out of their hands at the finish line. And just think about WHY charities are able to leverage the marathon as a fundraising tool: it’s because there’s so much publicity and money already tied into the event. Otherwise they’d just raise money at…an underwater basket weaving event. As AR said in the last paragraph, “the point is to draw attention to a serious issue by peacefully interrupting a gathering of people who are in some way privileged.” No, not EVERYONE enjoys the same degree of privilege as the hobby jogger with the 6-figure salary, but the sport in general is a very public, very visible symbol of privilege.

    • I think DC and Marie covered this pretty well below: even using a privilege for a good cause does not absolve one from having privilege. Because protesters are targeting a visible display of privilege, I didn’t specifically call out any charity runners since being able to do this is STILL a privilege.

      I do want to note that this wasn’t intended to take away from the noble aims of any charity runner, it just didn’t really fit with what I was trying to point out.

    • Okay, but you don’t need a marathon to fundraise for a project. The do x thing for charity is a marketing stragety, usually to try to get more people to pay money to do a thing. It’s like the whole “buy this product and 1% of profits go to charity”- it’s just to get you to buy the product.

      And this kind of charity drive is actually hitting on what many Black Lives Matter activists nationwide are trying to draw attention too. Many African’s don’t have access to clean water mostly because of private interest’s fucking up their water supply- whether through privatization or through poisoning it (like what Shell did in Nigeria). The best way to address the water shortage in Africa (as well as domestic water issues) is to dramatically alter the way our economic system works so that the resources we use here do not require devastation to be wrecked on black and brown lives oversea’s. Most white people in the US refuse to acknowledge the root issue and instead do stuff like what your wife is doing, small charity drives that don’t actually address the root issue, do not give any real political or economic power to african people, and rely on kind of fucked up assumptions on african people and their capabilities.

      Not to mention, many white people will run these marathons to raise money for black people overseas while blatantly ignore the struggles black people face in their own city or in a lot of cases, advocating for political & economic policy that ends up destroying black people’s lives.

      I don’t know these organizers, but ten bucks says they are perfectly aware of charity runners and that is one of their targets.

    • The charity will still get their money even if she doesn’t run. I fundraised for a marathon last year that I couldn’t run due to an injury. The charity still got my fundraising dollars.

  4. Good read. I grew up in Twin Cities and appalled at the comments sections to these stories. Skin crawling stuff. I wonder how many of them I went to school with.

  5. I am disgusted by this. I am not a runner, but I know many runners and most of them are not privileged. Some of the runners I know have run races as milestones in their journey for a healthy life style. Some of the runners I know have ran races as milestones in recovery after injury. There are a lot of reasons people run and most of them have nothing to do with privilege.

    Yes running is more popular now with expensive events, but to say that every runner is privileged is no different than to make such a general statement about someones race, religion or gender.

    It is hard for me to take a group of protesters or their message seriously when they do things like block roads, highways or in this case the finish line to a marathon.

    When your actions have the potential to put others lives in danger the message you are trying to deliver is lost. When you are blocking roads and highways you could be preventing someone from getting to a hospital, a school to pick up a sick child, a love one trying to make it to a someones death bed, etc. You could be preventing an ambulance or a fire truck from making it to someones home.

    It also upsets me that this movement gets so upset when you say all lives matter. The fact that ALL lives do matter and I highly doubt that black people are not the only race to face injustice by the police or others.

    I do not deny that there are changes that need to happen in this regard. I will say if you want to be taken seriously protest in a manner that will get attention but not hurt people. Plan a march on the capitol, state and federal. Imagine the impact you could have if you were able to coordinate a march in all 50 states to every capitol on the same day. Or do something else, I don’t know exactly the right answer. What I do know is the extreme manner in which this movement is trying to get their message across is not effective. When you block roads you are making people angry and they are not angry at your injustice, they are angry at you. All that accomplishes is more hate. More hate will never spawn a solution.

    • “The statement, “All Lives Matter” did not arise in a vacuum. It was not born of a passion for the value of all life; it is not a world-wide social movement for justice. It was a response, a retort, a counter-point to the statement “Black Lives Matter.” While not everyone utters these words with this intent, the phrase nonetheless functions as a dismissal.” a quote from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-bedrick/whats-the-matter-with-all-lives-matter_b_7922482.html

      I suggest you read that article to understand why saying All Lives Matter is offensive to those in the BLM movement. It is exemplary of White privilege and White supremacy. That this country shouldn’t focus on the fact that anti-Black oppression has shaped this country from its inception. There is stats after stats after stats that show that Black people are the most oppressed people in the US. It’s not just injustice. This country and it’s systems was not built to enslave and oppress Black people. Please, I emplore you, to learn the history of this land to see this. From the moment the Europeans stole this land from the Natives, they have been stealing Black bodies to come over here and toil with back breaking labor for free to build it. When the Colonists rebelled against Britain and founded the US of A, they enshrined that Black people were less than human in the Constitution. Ever hear of the 3/5ths clause? This country and it’s White inhabitants, including the new immigrants from Europe, benefited grately from the free, backbreaking labor of Africans that built this country. The White House, the US Capitol Bldg, most of DC built before Civil War. The mines in the south, the cotton, sugar and rice fields. The banks. The mills up north. The factories up north. All of it built with or on the backs of Black enslaved peoples. Even after the Civil War, Jim Crow is it’s baby brother. Thousands of lynchings throughout this country, not just the South. the KKK spreading and existing as a legitimate organization amongst White America. Black towns and cities being burned and raized to the ground. Throughout this country. Even after the bloody Civil Rights Movement, we now have what some call the New Jim Crow, I call Jim Crow II. Instead of lynchings by hanging from a tree and burning the bodies, now we have lynchings by gun via police and vigilantes. Thousands of unarmed Black people have been murdered by police and vigilantes over the past 15 years, The school systems have barely improved, provided substandard education to Black kids, Employers still discriminating against Black people, often by our lovely unique names. Now, a Black man with a College degree is less likely to get a call back for a job than a White man with felonies without a college degree. http://www.nationaljournal.com/next-america/education/african-americans-with-college-degrees-are-twice-likely-be-unemployed-other-graduates

      This is what the Black Lives Matter Movement is fighting against. We are fighting to end White Supremacy and anti-Black Oppression. So to say All Lives Matter negates this and really means that Blacks need to stay in their place.

      • All lives matter. I’m sorry you read some subtext into it that upsets u, but really, they do. Maybe just quit hearing only what you think people are saying, and instead listen to what they actually say. The main article missed the main objection, and was wrong in virtually every particular. Now that even BLM realizes the stupidity of blocking runners and has backed off, here’s hoping for a safe and fun race!

      • First of all, I don’t believe that Europeans “stole” the slaves. I believe Muslim merchants sold the slaves to Europeans. “The Portuguese found Muslim merchants entrenched along the African coast as far as the Bight of Benin. The slave coast, as the Bight of Benin was known, was reached by the Portuguese at the start of the 1470’s” http://africanhistory.about.com/od/slavery/ss/Origins_Of_Slave_Trade.

        Secondly, I believe when you say Black Lives Matter, you ARE separating yourself from everyone else when you’re trying so hard to be integrated. I am not a German American, or a Norwegian American…I’m just an American–ONE nation, under God. Granted, there’s good and bad of every race in this country, but it seems you are perpetuating segregation more than helping it. I went to school with many Native Americans, one was even our homecoming queen. I didn’t even realize they were a minority until I got to college. To me, they were just my friends.

        Finally, I hope we can resolve this during my lifetime. Personally, I would like to see the Black Lives Matter group doing more positive events like mentoring juveniles who’s parent(s) may be incarcerated and letting them know that their lives matter, or helping a low income family who’s home may need repairs. I’d totally get on board with any of those types of events.

        PS, I’m not privileged in any way and I’m not a runner. I was a single mother of 2 daughters, still work 2 jobs at age 56 to make ends meet and hopefully save a little bit for a possible retirement. I care about all people regardless of their color, gender or religion.

    • When women were fighting for “women’s rights” (to vote), would you have yelled back “all gender’s rights”…no. Yes, we want men and women to vote. Yes all lives matter. However, the people are fighting for recognition are of a people who feel oppressed. To include both genders on a fight for voting rights, when one already has them, does not make sense. Neither does “all lives matter” from the black perspective today.

      Protests in and of themselves are not meant to avoid all possible inconvenience to others. I imagine that when Rosa Parks sat down on that bus seat and refused to move, she was a inconveniencing the other passengers on the bus. Guess what? That inconvenience was important.

      • Rosa Parks? That is a horrible comparison.

        Rosa Parks *directly* confronted Jim Crow laws and their idiotic legacy.

        BLM’s St. Paul chapter is simply piggy-backing off of higher profile events (State Fair, Vikings game, TC Marathon, etc). I don’t necessarily have a problem with that, but their leaders are going about it in a profoundly stupid way.

        The Twin Cities Marathon is not disenfranchising black people. Your comparison is bunk.

  6. YES! Here’s a great quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. which resonants loud and clear in this situation: “”First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”

  7. I support criminal justice reform, but think BLM is addressing the problem completely from the wrong direction. BLM attempts to peacefully disrupt events to get people to understand the issue. That is not a useful tactic because it assumes that regular people at the state fair, at the MOA, at the marathon, have an influence on policy. They do not. It is a demonstrable fact that those earning less than $250,000 per year have zero influence on policy outcomes. United States is not a democracy. The opinions of the people they interact with do not matter. If BLM wants to reform policy, they need to garner the support of the High Net Worth Individuals that compose the donor class. BLM needs to focus on raising money from the elite who buy Congress and subsequently make laws for their benefit. Until BLM recognizes that we are an oligarchy of the elite and not a democracy of the masses and changes tactics to match who actually has power, they will continue to have no influence on policy outcomes. The only other alternative is to coordinate BLM with a democratization and voter equality campaign akin to that mentioned by Larry Lessig and others.

  8. I really wish TWIN CITIES MARATHON would take a positive and supportive stance towards BLM. What if the marathon organizers said – YES!!!! What if they invited BLM to the table and worked WITH BLM and make something special and powerful happen?

    • That approach was already tried. They were given an opportunity to have a booth at the state fair, which there is a LONG waiting list for, and the leaders of BLM refused that opportunity. what makes you think that the TCM would be any different?

  9. so wait. now they are fighting against the privileged? I thought they were out to raise awareness about police brutality… or was it to protest white supremacy… I cant keep up with their “cause” of the week and clearly, neither can anyone else. The problem is what they are doing is illegal, which means it is no longer peaceful. They have no real direction, as an organization, which just makes it seem like they are out to cause trouble under the guise of protest. Its like they are just poking the cops over and over until they respond. once they respond they wont hesitate to call the racist.

  10. I agree with much of AR’s post, especially after reading many of the horrid Facebook comments, but I’m having a hard time with the last paragraph …

    “The point is to draw attention to a serious issue by peacefully interrupting a gathering of people who are in some way privileged. And while I hope everyone running can still find a way to finish, I can’t help but read over the reactions to Black Lives Matter and understand exactly why they’re targeting the Twin Cities Marathon.”

    If BLM’s St. Paul chapter truly want to keep this peaceful, its leadership (Rashad Turner) needs to be more clear on what they exactly plan on doing. They made the initial announcement saying they were going to “shut down” the event. Turner didn’t clarify until a couple of days later that there wouldn’t be any physical contact with the runners.

    You could blame the media response for any confusion, but BLM’s St. Paul organizers aren’t helping either.

    I’m all for shaking up the venue of protest (and not settling for same old marches outside the MN State Capitol that no one pays attention to). I want BLM to produce some tangible results and not turn into another faded bumper sticker. I just think some of its leaders are making poor decisions.

  11. This column doesn’t make much sense to me. Is she claiming the audience of hearts they want to change at the protest is the RUNNERS? The “privileged” runners? So that’s why they are going to ruin the event? To win the rich runners to the BLM cause? Poppycock. This protest, like all protests, is about disruption and news coverage and that’s it. It has nothing to do with privilege or the cost of running shoes. That’s a complete red herring. Was the $8 state fair ticket also too privileged? I’m willing to guess that 80% of the protestors have on shoes more expensive than my running shoes, and 90% pay more for cable per month than the cost of a marathon. That’s fine, but let’s not make this about something it’s not. A protest is all about “Look at me” and the only thing it cares about is cameras.

  12. Pingback: Episode 96: The Boys are Back in Town | Back of Pack Endurance

  13. I’m going to say it and blast away — the cause itself is worthy. People should treat people with respect. instead of bias and brutality. People should not have to worry about whether their sons or daughters will make it through their next traffic stop or come home again. Any people, any color. But that isn’t the message that’s coming through from these continuing protests in Minnesota — the Mall of America the Saturday before Christmas, the first Saturday of the State Fair, the first Vikings game, and now the Twin Cities Marathon. The message that BLM is giving, at least in the Twin Cities, is this: we want attention, so we’ll go where we can cause a scene. Try to stop us and we’ll call you racists to every media outlet that will listen. And that is bullying no less than what they’re protesting against. This is not activism nor do the targeted events make any sense in terms of actual discrimination or incidents having occurred there. The leader of the protest said that agitation is the only way to get a message across. This is not true either. The Twin Cities Marathon did nothing to keep black runners out. And running is not the sport of the elite, or at least not the elite alone. I took up running when I didn’t even have a place to call my own. I made 3.00 an hour and spent half a week’s paycheck on a pair of Nikes. I worked 10 hour days 7 days a week and went for a run after my shifts. My brother ran his first marathon while in school, and his second while he and his wife worked two jobs each just to make the rent. Yes, I have run with people whose outfits cost more than my entire wardrobe. And guess what else, maybe they earned that money. Maybe they deserve to dress nice. But no matter what people wear … you don’t get through 26 miles because you’re wearing haute couture, you get through it because you overcame your demons, worked your ass off and didn’t give up. That’s something that should be celebrated, not something that should be waylaid by someone who just wants to tear things down and piss people off. I don’t want BLM to hand out water, I don’t even like that image. I want them at the table when the issues come up, to hold discussions with the leaders in the community who can work together to change the things they really should be talking through, like how do we communicate with each other more effectively so that things don’t escalate, so that no one feels that it’s us against them. But a marathon is not that venue and depriving people from accomplishing something is not the way to make a statement.

  14. People run marathons for a lot of reason. They run because they want to celebrate beating cancer. Or surviving and moving out of domestic abuse. Or overcoming a disability. Or taking back their personal power. Or in tribute to their recently deceased parent/spouse/sibling.

    Running is one of the cheapest forms of getting your body in shape, if not THE CHEAPEST. It is why, of all the ways I might personally get my exercise, I choose running. Not because I adore it, but because I am broke. Broke after escaping an emotionally abusive relationship. Its not fucking polo. Or gymnastics. It’s putting on a pair of shoes and seeing how far you can make your body go. And you do it to prove something to yourself.

    I stand in firm belief of what BLM stands for. I stand in firm belief of the need for social protest. I think that visibility and hearing unheard voices is crucial.

    But for a lot of reasons I think this is just dumb. Dumb, and maybe even selfish. I think this has the high potential of alienating potential allies. And I know that you will judge me for thinking so. And that’s a damned fucking shame.

  15. BLM is the most disorganized, pathetic excuse for a group I’ve seen in my whole life. First they chant, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon” at the state fair, and now they purposely are going to interfere in a marathon. How this could be a group ANYBODY would support is beyond me.

    And this author doesn’t have a clue either. “The point is to draw attention to a serious issue by peacefully interrupting a gathering of people who are in some way privileged.”

    I thought BLM was trying to bring attention to policeman treating blacks unfairly? Now it’s to bring down “privileged”? I guess whatever is in fashion, huh?

  16. I think Angry Runner wrote a very thoughtful and articulate piece addressing some of the problematic ways that people were responding to news of this potential protest, but the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the protest would be misguided. In doing further research, it also appears that the people organizing the action under the BLM banner aren’t officially part of the BLM organization. The Mpls. BLM has been distancing themselves from it, and the head of the local NAACP has come out against it. It doesn’t appear to meet the principles that the BLM operates under, and it certainly seems to me to fall short of a number of the principles of nonviolent civil disobedience that MLK enumerated. I am white, and I think most of what the real BLM people are doing is very important, and I think white privilege is a real issue that needs to be addressed and is challenging for people to do, but I also think this plan of action is misguided, and I don’t think it’s racist to say so.

  17. To be fair, if we give into everyone’s histrionics just because they’re loud and threaten to interrupt your day, we’ll never get anywhere. The whole concept of “people don’t know if their kids will come home because they might be killed by police!” would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. Do these people hold their breath every time their kids get into a car? Get a cold? Go to the bathroom? You can’t live in perpetual fear of something that, statistically, basically never happens. If someone wants to call attention to unequal policing, unequal enforcement of the law and inequality in everything from housing to schooling…no problem, just don’t try to feed me a line that what you’re doing is so important because you’re saving lives. Please.

  18. Ok, look at my avatar picture, now look at my blog “The Ferguson Files”, now wonder what the Actual F is that woman doing? Yeah, working my white privilege card all over St. Louis for the past 5 years. I get that people run for lots of different reasons, but I seriously doubt anyone does a marathon for Gatorade anymore. You’re celebrating taking off that last 30lbs? Bravo, now go keep the weight off volunteering at your local food bank/soup kitchen/community garden. If you’re celebrating a life goal, then use your training time to volunteer at your local public school, community center, hospice or whatever. One woman is raising money for wells in Africa? That’s nice, but there are people in Detroit who need water too. In other words, I can bet dollars and donuts that almost NO ONE in St. Paul was talking about #BLM until this came up…..which is, as AR said……kind of the point.

    • They actually plan something about once a month to disrupt in Minnesota. August it was the Fair, September it was the Vikings game, now for October it is the marathon. Pretty sure people know about #BLM and are getting increasingly more sick of it. So can I have my dollars and donuts now?

    • Maybe you haven’t been to the Twin Cities… but it is full of liberal art major SJWs (as someone who graduated from a St. Paul liberal arts university..) – I guarantee people are aware of BLM. I would also expect the majority in the area agree with a need for change, but perhaps not this kind of disruption. It seems horribly counter productive.

      I get the need to create these changes, regardless of what is convenient for others. But wouldn’t joining in the marathon, passing out black BLM armbands to runners to wear in support, etc, give the movement a more positive reception than trying to interfere with people who have spent months mentally and physically training for an event? Maybe that’s just the runner in me – I’ve always wanted to run a marathon, but physically I just can’t. I’m not able enough. And I know there are others in similar situations who will be running that race. To think of their pain and struggle to accomplish something extraordinary for themselves being impeded breaks my heart a little. But that’s just me.

      I dunno. I’ve studied MLKs philosophy, met with freedom fighters, and be trained in non-violent conflict methods. I just don’t see how disrupting this fits in with those messages. If they don’t interfere with the runners themselves, then by all means, march/be a visual symbol for the cause. But remember MSP is full of allies. Don’t alienate them because they have personal goals that require ZERO privilege to attain.

  19. Reblogged this on The Positive Black Woman and commented:
    This post proves that you don’t have to be a certain race to “get it.” If you still don’t get it there are books out there. Some people like me try to live our lives in peace bringing unity between Black people and cops and then last weekend in Rochester, MN 4 educated Black women were stopped and harassed by the police as we were walking back from downtown in front of our hotel. We were so upset we were shaking. All the cop kept saying was “cops lives matter.” I guess she assumed we were apart of the Black Lives Matter movement and had resentment towards us. The racist rants that come about when the threat of disruption comes to something that matters to you is why BLM must exist. One book to understand the matter of White privilege http://www.amazon.com/White-Privilege-Essential-Readings-Racism/dp/1429233443.

  20. Reblogged this on See Mommy Run and commented:
    “Because like it or not, you are privileged to run a marathon. You’re privileged to pay for it. You’re privileged to have the time to train for it. You’re probably privileged to be able to train in a neighborhood where people don’t assume you are running from the cops. You may not see it that way. But the thing is, this isn’t back in the old days where people would start with a whistle and write their names on an index card and be happy with shitty Gatorade. Marathons are major events. Expensive events. Expensive events that some of you are privileged enough to do every weekend. And hell, you have entire clubs dedicated to trying to run a goddamn marathon in all 50 states…that’s pretty much the epitome of privilege.” Some thoughts on the BLM protest at the finish of the Twin Cities Marathon – not written by me but I couldn’t have written a post as good as this one.

  21. This blog as a whole fails to make much of a point. In the beginning it comes across as someone who sounds bitter about running as a whole because “they were there first”. With regards to the running fads, as beings with free will, we can pick and choose to buy into these fads as much or as little as we would like.
    Cherry picking Facebook comments in this era also does not serve much of a purpose. In the internet age a person can look at any issue and find both highly positive and highly negative comments regarding the topic. It is the nature of the beast with the internet, people tend to state opinions more extreme then they would likely face to face.
    Throwing around the word privileged with regards to running is a weak argument at best. With this you could argue anything we do in life makes us privileged. Having a beer is a privilege, owning a cell phone is a privilege, driving a car is a privilege, hell, waking up every morning is a privilege. So by this logic, these should all be ripe targets for protest as well. The fact is, a marathon is an all inclusive event that anyone can participate in. Yes, the cost could be a barrier to entry to some, but the cost is also not surprising considering the magnitude of the event. A smart phone will run you a couple hundred bucks, but almost everyone has one of those. Running a marathon is still cheaper then that and will certainly do a lot more towards bettering your life.
    To protest something that people have worked for and spent months training towards will only serve to further polarize the issue at hand. People have worked hard towards training for this and would rightfully be upset. Despite what some out there seem to be saying, completing a marathon is extremely difficult for most. Emotions run high near the finish line, and interrupting people near the completion of their goal is extremely disrespectful. If the point is to make people see some suffering you have experienced in your life, then the approach should be reevaluated. By this logic we should return to eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth.

    -2013 TC Marathon runner, who ‘gasp’, did 95% of their training runs in north and northeast Minneapolis. Nobody ever asked if I was running from the cops.

  22. Thank you thank you thank you!!!! Could not agree more!!! I was scrolling through some comments on the Star Tribune articles covering the marathon and BLM protest, and the comments are all embarrassingly awful and racist and so short-sighted!! If anything, these horrifying comments point out how big of an issue this still is and how flippant, dismissive and entitled so many people are about equal rights. I’m really glad you posted this! Especially being a runner yourself, I think it means more! Thank you!

  23. the theme of this post is “how not to react.” can you tell us how we ought to react? it’s easy to deconstruct everyone’s reaction and explain how it is inappropriate, racist or selfish, but much more difficult to come up with a better way to do thing. can you make any concrete suggestions?

  24. You have to squint really hard to see a hint of racism in anything that was posted. Of course nobody reading this article has rational thoughts, or you have some kind of comment filter on your blog to restrict free speech. Here’s the bottom line, a deer walks into the road and gets run over by a truck, who is at fault?

    The black lives movement is completely ridiculous to begin with, address the problem of abundance of criminal activity in the black community and then go after the police for accidentally killing someone by following procedure. Most of the people who are a part of it are ill informed and don’t listen to reason. They don’t know any of the facts they just want to take a stand to either say “hey look how not racist I am”, or the truer and more righteous over tones of pure black racism. Look at the fallout from the riots. White people rioting with blacks got attacked, because they just wanted a race war, but no that will get swept under the rug but this idiocy of someone wanting to run a marathon around a bunch of lunatics who plan on disrupting it with no doubt violent means is righteous because you and every other white guilt black apologist said so.

    You can decry me as racist all you want, facts are facts.

    PS. you really think that guy hates gays because he made a gay joke? You’re a joke anger runner, probably majored in woman’s studies or some other soft major with no real world application.

    • Yes, you are racist and your facts are wrong.

      Okay, so black people kill black people. This if fact.

      It’s also fact that white people kill white people. Fact.

      So … next time a police officer wrongly kills a white person (extremely rare that this is), I’ll brush it aside and ignore it because, hey! Why care? White people kill white people right?

      Racism is, in its basest form, thinking you’re better than another person because your skin is white/light.

      So, yes, absolutely. You are racist.

      • Again, no facts just utter stupidity. White make up more of the population so they get killed more by cops in accidents. Blacks are just more vocal and more likely to take up the bait put out by the media. Plus blacks always want the same narrative “we’re being kept down by the white man! the white man is the reason I’m broke/criminal/etc.”
        Look up the FBI statistics of cop killings and educate yourself.

        You, as a messiah of disinformation, are entirely part of the problem. Never again stick your head in something you don’t understand or know.

      • Whatever. Like most people, you will believe what you want and nothing I say will change that, so there’s really no need to continue to engage. You really just don’t care. Even if what you were saying was true, which it isn’t, but say it is: You still lack simple human compassion and still choose to cling to general scorn, disdain and apathy toward those whose skin color isn’t like yours.

        But karma is something else. I’d watch out, if I were you because you will be given the same regard and care that you give others.

        Conversation over.

  25. As a and resident and deeply devoted fan of the Twin Cities, I’m saddened by the horrible reaction to the impending BLM protest. We live in a metropolitan area that’s considered liberal and educated, but our Black population suffers some of the worst income inequality in the nation. If the BLM protest can help us remember that we as privileged White people are not the center of the universe for one second, then we should cheer them on.

    And, in regard to Kelly’s comment, my concrete suggestion is that we acknowledge the protesters and let them know we’re listening. That we affirm their frustrations and let them know we care. That we show them the health and safety of their children is more important to us than a race.

  26. Minnesota Statute 629.37 gives citizens the “privilege” to arrest anyone for public offenses committed or attempted in one’s presence, such as breach of peace, blocking roadways, marathons, etc.

  27. Thank you for writing this. I’ve heard a lot of media voicing the opinion of those in favor of ‘order’ but I’d like this perspective to be more widely shared too. As marathon runner (although only 1 in 2006) I support the BLM protest, their methods, and their goal.

  28. At first read I thought the author made some good points, but on deeper reflection I don’t think cherry picking negative comments makes the point that the event needs to be disrupted. This ends up sounding at least a little bit similar to a privileged white person pointing to the action of a black criminal and using it to justify prejudice against everyone with dark skin.

    I am outraged by the examples of police brutality. I DO think that black people in America experience prejudice, and it’s so very wrong. But I don’t see how actually preventing people from completing this marathon will achieve any meaningful result.

  29. I try not to put my views out about things like this and I really don’t care if it offends anyone. All of you sheep on this barking about how “all lives matter” is offensive and saying stuff about white privelage are exactly that sheep. BLM and AR need to do more research concerning marathons and who races in them especially concerning the past couple of decades. AR makes it appear that only those that run marathons are those that come from white privilege. So, let’s just look at who are the elected that win these marathons on a regular basis. Hmmm, Kenyans, Ethiopians, and others from Agrican countries. Last I checked, they are all black runners. So I am guessing that these black men and women are not privileged since they are not white. Your argument on that is invalid and just plain stupid. And I would further disagree that we are in a society run by white supremacy. Last I checked there are equal number of black American leaders in our country as white American leaders. Hell, our own president is a bi-racial that can quite legally and literally state that he is a black man. That being said, he could equally claim he white too. Being a child of two races, one could legally claim one or the other. But seeing as he is the President and leader of our country, I would also say that he is with out a doubt privileged. As with anyone in politics, or heads of companies. I would even go so far as to say that the leader of the BLM is privileged as are most of those who are planning on protesting at the TC marathon this weekend. And don’t attempt to preach that BLM is all about peaceful protest. The last time they marched was is an attempt to disrupt the MN State Fair. Here are some facts about that incident. The BLM leader was concerned that his rights would impinged upon that he called the police and asked if anyone in his group would be arrested. The police chief stated that as long as it was peaceful no one would be. The police chief further offered to escort the protesters down the streets and implemented a plan to reroute traffic sontheyvwould not be interfered with. The State Fair organizers even made contact with the BLM leader and offered a space for them to set up displays and booths. The BLM was wanting to protest that the State Fair was offering spots only to white vendors and that black vendors were it getting equal rights to setup. Funny that in the application to set up a booth does not ask what race someone is. Needless to say. The BLM refused. Now back to my point that the BLM is not so much about peaceful protests. When I was watching news reports of the protest I clearly heard BLM protestors using slurs and negative, hate filled speech directed toward the police escorting them. This was clear that they were attempting to instigate some sort of reaction from the police in order to insite some sort of physical confrontation. So there you go.

  30. This sounds disruptive, potentially dangerous, and not a clear, direct response to the event (I disagree with the premise that marathons are somehow fundamentally about race or privilege). The kind thing to do might well be to make signs and cheer for the runners, or to hold a peaceful protest on a side street.

    But then, no one listens, and not a thing changes.

    BLM needs to disrupt a lot of people if they want to be acknowledged. I do not support violence, but do support disruption to call attention to a very deep, very real issue. A vote doesn’t change the country. A movement can change the country.

    • This is certainly a lively dialogue you have generated. There is a great deal to be said on this issue and there is doubtless a broad misunderstanding by most white americans regarding the movement and meaning of BLM. Rather than try to explain it in this short post, if you really would like to seek the true meaning behind this, I recommend two avenues to begin your edification. Research African slavery and african american history; its easy to do today and there is so much most of us just don’t know and have never learned or have had access to. You will discover how africans were falsely labeled as inferior beings and savages, initially by british writers in the 17th century to justify slavery, and this myth was perpetuated by americans thru the next few centuries. There is nothing further from the truth, as you will discover.Look for instance at all the incredibly advanced African civilizations throughout history. Just do the research.
      And the second and most important thing is( and this is why I emphasize the research first) is to sit down and talk with some black americans. You will find among many other things that they are for treated, regardless if they are a doctor a lawyer a butcher or baker a truck driver or professor; every day of there lives by white americans; bank tellers, police officers, grocery clerks, and so on, as if they were inferior or of lower status, solely because of the pigment of their skin. I am a 62 year old white man. I’ve lived all over this country and I have many black friends and I hear this from every black man and women I know over and over again. So the question is how did we get here and how do we change this very unconscious attitude? I don’t think most white people know that they do this its become just an unconscious behavior. The last thing I’ll’ say is when a white person says “all lives matter” (or any variation of that ) in response to “Black lives matter” its equivalent to our founders saying “all men are created equal” while owning black slave themselves. (not to mention that they left out women, but thats another issue) Unless we look at the history and ask the right questions we will always be conflict. enough said

  31. Will you be as supportive when a protest blocks your access to the airport and you miss your flight? When a protest prevents you from attending a funeral for a close relative? Must you continue to be supportive if the next protests prevent you from getting to your job three days in a row and you are fired? It’s easy to shrug and expect privileged “others” to accept that nothing they value is as important as accepting someone else’s insistence that YOU be part of their protest. Will you be as righteous when you are forced to participate?

  32. Thank you for your thoughtful post. Looking at these comments sadden me. It’s hard to read that people don’t care about those with my skin color, that they willfully and stubbornly cling to the idea that black lives really don’t matter. They really don’t care that dark skinned human beings are being wrongfully brought down in the streets by small things when white people can do all kind of things, much more major things, and not be harmed for it.

    Article: Here Are A Bunch of Things White People Can Do That Black People Probably Couldn’t Get Away With: http://www.theroot.com/blogs/the_grapevine/2015/09/here_are_a_bunch_of_things_white_people_can_do_that_black_people_probably.html

    They don’t care that African Americans feel as though we’re at war all the freaking time. That we are constantly victimized and disenfranchised. They don’t care as long as their news stations, marathons, charity events or whatever aren’t interrupted by our small, annoying presence. They don’t care because it’s not their families. They can turn off the TV, the radio, whatever. They can be properly horrified that a, b, or c was gunned down, and then forget next month because it’s not their son, their daughter, their loved ones. So many, like those on this post, don’t even care that they’re racist. They see nothing wrong with what they’re saying. They see nothing wrong with their hate.

    But mark my words: What goes around, comes around. The things that white America is doing to blacks? It has to come back. It KEEPS coming back.

    Just like they flooded our community with drugs to destroy us, many whites now can’t stop their kids from overdosing; just like they broke up our families, many whites now lose contact with their families for years at a time; just like they pushed our communities to abort, now the number of whites are dwindling because their white skinned neighbors are killing their babies like nobody’s business; just like we’re being wrongfully killed, now, their lives are being taken by random gunmen shooting up movie theaters and schools.

    I believe with all my heart that America is writing a check it can’t cash and it keeps writing it. Keeps writing it, keeps writing it. America cannot do the things it’s doing to the black community (and beyond) and prosper. It just can’t. Two things:

    Proverbs 26:27 (KJV): Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

    Then, an old proverb that I remember hearing once. It’s definitely not exact, so forgive me if it’s not perfect. I’m sure you get the gist.

    The first group of people asked for your help, and you did not go. (Natives)
    The second group of people asked for your help, you did not go. (African Americans)
    The third group of people asked for your help, you did not go. (Hispanics)
    The fourth group of people asked for your help, you did not go. (The disenfranchised)
    The fifth group of people asked for your help, you did not go. (The poor)
    But then you needed help. (Whites)
    And nobody came.

    What happens when it’s white people who need help? Empires rise and fall. It’s the way of things. What happens when it’s white people at the bottom of the food chain? I wonder if, when whites become the minority (as soon as 2045) and, for the first time, YOU are the lonely white person in a sea of brown; I wonder, if when the switch flips and you’re desperate for people to come to your aid, if you’ll appreciate “All Lives Matter” when it’s only white lives that are being taken so callously?

    In the end, we all have to stand before God and given an account for our actions. I, for one, would love to be a fly on the wall when so many try to explain to Him why they held so much hatred and disregard for their fellow man.

    • You just cited a blog as a source, any credibility you would have had is nonexistant. You’re literally taking opinion and conjecture as fact.

      Here; however, are some facts:
      https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/tables/table-43
      >table showing the disproportionate rate of black criminals per capita approx 30% of all crimes committed by a black person
      meaning that if a person is arrested there is an almost 1/3 chance he is black.

      to explain this further:
      The Bureau of Justice Statistics reported that in 2004, state courts had over 1 million felony convictions. Of those, 59 percent were committed by whites and 38 percent by blacks. But when you factor in the population of whites and blacks, the felony rates stand at 330 per 100,000 for whites and 1,178 per 100,000 for blacks. That’s more than a three-fold difference.

      Then this info pulled from CDC for fatality by legal intervention (can’t hyperlink it because the portal is interactive) from 1999 – 2011:
      >2,151 whites died by being shot by police compared to 1,130
      now the media and anyone looking to promote an agenda will put a spin on that and claim that blacks only make up 13.6% of the population so it’s RAYCIST!!!
      When you look back at the other table you see that that 13.6% of the population is committing a third of all crime
      Meaning that the white’s who make up nearly 80% of the country are only committing twice as much crime as the blacks. So the numbers are about even. When you look at incidents of violent crime among black men thing start to make more sense. If you look at it per capita, yes blacks are killed at a higher rate, but it doesn’t make sense to look at it per capita, it only makes sense to look at it from the total pool of criminals

      Also Michael Brown was killed in accordance with police procedure, you don’t charge at a man who is pointing a gun at you. That’s just stupid. The fall out and riots that resulted were even more idiotic.

      Eric Garner died due to his obesity. Again he was resisting arrest and the police followed proper procedure but he was so fat the trauma caused him to die. If anything that should have been tried as manslaughter.

      I can’t believe you’re a writer, where is your journalistic integrity, do you have none? Honestly, that is just embarrassing. Both the system in place that allows you to continue to write for a living and spread disinformation, and you, yourself for writing,

      • To say that blogs have no basis in fact and are not valid sources of information is wrong, which I’m sure you know. There are plenty of blogs that give perfectly credible information, but I suppose that only works with stuff that supports your beliefs, right?

        Like I said, you’re going to believe what you want. But beware, that ish is going to come back. In spades.

        Toodles.

      • “Eric Garner died due to his obesity.” ARE YOU FOR REAL??? Someone repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” is … what, exactly?

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  34. I’ve read this entire thread and can only come to the conclusion that BLM is looking for more media coverage to what they perceive that ALL OTHER non-black Americans are doing to them. The rejection of “All Lives Matter”, as an effrontery to BLM only shows that they have no grasp of true cooperation amongst all people. By naming a movement in singling out one race, creed, religion or ethnic make-up only supports the segregation that was fought back in the 1960’s. We got past that era and now it is coming to pass again, with the exception that the segregation now is being set by those who were segregated in the past and don’t see the irony in this situation.

    BLM stopping people from going to the State Fair or finishing a Marathon don’t rate any higher in my personal opinion than the Westboro Baptist Church group of assorted nuts. They truly believe that causing others to for-go achieving goals or personal times with their family and friends will help galvanize support for their movement and their own group agenda. They couldn’t be farther from the truth.

    Doing what you’re doing, and I mean civil protest, is fine when used correctly. When used incorrectly, as in the situations noted above, it is no more than civil disobedience and therefore should be punishable by the law under the sections of our current codes that deal with the taking of others rights and freedoms. In essence, BLM are making others the slaves to their slave mastery by stopping them from doing as they choose, while being forced to follow the dictates of the BLM brain-trust.

    This is just my opinion and from talking to many people of all races, nationalities and religions, I have found this position to be one of the masses, not the movements.

    If you try to block the Marathon this weekend, good luck on ever getting your message through to the general populace, as they will continue to turn a deaf ear to those who shout at the wind without realizing that the wind is not to blame.

    • “it is no more than civil disobedience and therefore should be punishable by the law”

      Yeah, and that Gandhi guy really should have been stopped too.

  35. First of all, thank you for this post. I don’t express think I can express my thoughts as eloquently as Angry Runner and Cheaper Than Therapy, so I’ll keep this brief:

    “you are privileged to run a marathon. You’re privileged to pay for it. You’re privileged to have the time to train for it. You’re probably privileged to be able to train in a neighborhood where people don’t assume you are running from the cops.”

    YES. THIS. SO MUCH THIS. I started running half marathons when I lived in Philadelphia, which has neighborhoods that are very clearly divided by race and income. I cannot think of a better example of a place where being able to run is a privilege.

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  37. I hate running. Absolutely hate it, and always have. The closest I have gotten to the Twin Cities Marathon was setting up a tea table with coffee, croissants and jam with the NYT and my best bud on the side of Summit so we could cheer on my friend Gudrun in our bathrobes as she approached the end of the 26.2. “Good run, Gudrun!” …She shot us a withering glare. Not that I have been a lazy slob– my bud and I trained for two years for our third degree in Moo Duk Kwan. I just don’t get the why of running. At all.

    But the point here is, in spite of all the running culture cited above, is that BLM still needs to work to try to get people to even see why they need to exist in the first place. It is astounding to me how so many people just don’t have the ability to empathize enough to get that point. Unless, of course, they were born into it by way of not being a privileged white person. It takes such a dropping of who you are, and how you got here to be able to start to see why there is a reason for things like BLM that I think that for so many people it is just too hard and they can’t brook that leap of faith. And they naturally retreat into their view of any “other” as unjustified, unworthy and threatening. But the undeniable facts of life that are familiar to people who weren’t born into “privilege” are shamefully demonstrative of the truth that Black lives are worth less. This should not be true. Period. I think of Alan Page. An amazing and valuable person, in so many ways and experiences. And I think of him driving in a place like, say…Texas, where he may not be as recognizable as he is in Minnesota. Maybe nothing untoward might happen to him, driving at night. But the simple fact that anyone, like him– but especially him, would need to include in his checklist the possibilities that might arise that white people don’t even ever consider for themselves…. well.

    I’m a middle-aged white guy. And even though I grew up in Chicago, and have mixed with people of other races all my life, despite my love of Muddy Waters, appreciation for Malcolm and Martin, no matter how much Chuck D I listen to, I will NEVER be in the same position as those who BLM stands for. But I do give them the value of that very honest point: that all of us NEED to understand the validity BLM’s mission and reason for being. I think that if that gap could be crossed, the understanding of that difference alone, then we might be able to change things towards what we are supposed to be.

    As for understanding runners, and my lack of empathy for them, I think they’ll be OK without that. They should be just fine. I feel my increasing empathy for those who need it will be better served, and therefore, so will I.

  38. My husband, who is half Mexican, makes a really good point about privilege.

    He points out how lucky he is to look white. And that he has cousins on his mom’s (Mexican) side, who deal with far more shit for stuff he can get away with. Like driving through a white neighborhood. If he looked more like his mom’s family than his dad’s (and he his mom’s family name), he would have a different experience in life.

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