There’s no instructor on the planet like this one ☝🏽 He’s been opening the lines of communication about race and diversity, and in particular what it’s like to exist as a black man both in and out of @soulcycle.
(If you need to catch up, check out the posts on 12.4, 12.10, 12.16, 12.21 & 1.3)
The long and short of it is that existing as non-white in predominately white spaces is arduous, frustrating, and at times… defeating.
Do you know that sometimes I can go an entire day without seeing a single person who looks like me?
Do you know how many times I’ve experienced diversity training in an educational or workplace setting? ONE (and it wasn’t until 2015) •
Do you know how many times I’ve had to field racist jokes, comments about my hair, skin, body, marriage, my strength, attitude, education level, upbringing, and sexuality? COUNTLESS. (My favorite? Someone saying “Ash, I want to know what it’s like to have sex with a black girl, will you?) •
Do you know how many times a mother has asked her son not to date me solely because I was black? 5 •
How many times people have said, “I was afraid to take your class because you look scary?” Several (and likewise how many articles and data points exist about the fact that black girls are seen as more aggressive and mature than their white counterparts, and therefore get treated differently from as young as 5 years old?) •
How many times I’ve watched cleaning staff get treated as either invisible or as “help” vs an integral part of a studio family? You tell me. Sit back and watch for yourself one day. •
This isn’t about placing blame or pointing fingers. It’s about recognition and evolving our perspectives. It’s about (once again) DOING THE WORK. •
And quite frankly, I need to do the work, too. I’ve allowed myself to only accept the watered down, bullshit version of race in America that our schools so briefly touch on, and to assimilate so deeply into mainstream culture (which is white, heteronormative, and through a male lense) that I haven’t done the work on knowing where I come from. So, I’m changing that narrative. “I didn’t know” isn’t really acceptable is it? When the truth is, “I didn’t take the time to learn”.