I’ve seen a lot of negative reactions from runners about the#BlackLivesMatter rally at Twin Cities Marathon; some saying it’s not the right place for it. Others making ignorant and offensive comments. To be honest a vast majority of the comments have been pretty disheartening for me to read. Some have been thoughtful, but nearly all conclude they shouldn’t be using the marathon as a place to protest.
Running is obviously extremely important to me, and sometimes I have to remind myself that a race is just a race. I’m running from point A to point B to prove to myself (and sometimes to others) that I can. That’s not to diminish the value I find in running. I think these races make us better, stronger people. It’s easy to let a race become bigger than it really is.
I think the Twin Cities Marathon is the perfect platform for a #BlackLivesMatter rally. Why? Because marathons are overwhelmingly filled with privileged white people. 90% of us are white (http://www.runnersworld.com/runners…/why-is-running-so-white). Over 70% of us are college educated and earn over $75k a year (http://www.runningusa.org/index.cfm…).
Thus, the vast majority of us don’t have to deal with inequality issues. It’s pretty easy for us to think about it when it’s convenient. Show support when it’s easy. Criticize when it imposes on what we’re trying to do. Forget that there are human-beings that have to deal with inequality issues every day. I’d imagine part of what #BlackLivesMatter is trying to do is get us to talk about it. In any capacity. And they have us talking. I’m not sure we’re focusing on the right things, though.
I’ve always seen the running community as an exceptionally caring and good group of people. We help each other out. We encourage each other. We raise money and run for good causes. We’re definitely good to each other.
I can’t help but wonder why so many are being so critical about #BlackLivesMatter using TCM to stage a protest? Why are we getting so upset and complaining about these minor inconveniences? Why are we being critical and threatening to run protesters over if they stand in our way?
Suddenly, and probably without realizing it, we sound like the opposition for equality.
This makes me sad and angry. I don’t like seeing a group of people that I’ve always thought of as good, caring people, lashing out against a cause that is undeniably good.
We can do better.
Instead of complaining we can choose to accept it. As runners we do this all the time. Let’s realize there’s a reason people are rallying together at our Marathon to chant “Black Lives Matter!”
Instead of opposing it we cant take pride in the opportunity to be a part of a worthy cause to promote equality.
Instead of being critical of protesters we can treat them like we would our fellow runners. We can realize that they too are humans enduring struggles and fighting to be better, stronger people.