At Commen, we don’t tend take a public stance on big issues. We make stupid memes about being undertrained or getting injured, and try to offer a respite from the world. But not today.
What is going on in the USA is monstrous. I cannot believe our world is still at the point where this needs repeating, but the killing of black people for no reason beyond systemic racism simply should not be happening.
This isn’t a new issue, and it’s not one confined to the USA. The long-standing, ethnicity-based persecution of residents in the outskirts of major French cities including Paris comes to mind, as does the outlandish media reaction to the peaceful march and demonstration in the aftermath of the New Cross fire, which took the lives of 14 young people. What I am trying to say is that this issue is widespread, long-standing, and it affects all of us.
On slightly more subtle levels we see this still in the media’s portrayal of high profile people from BAME backgrounds, footballers Raheem Sterling, Chris Smalling, & Romelu Lukaku being recent examples. When you see the language used compared to the language describing their white peers it is clear as day, it is institutional racism, and it exists today. Not to mention the abhorrent racist language (often used as a prefix for a threat of physical violence), that is endured through social media in comments, tweets, or DM’s.
The running industry is not immune from racism and we need to recognise that. From a general lack of diversity and under-representation within company infrastructures (despite a high level of reliance on the performance of black athletes and sportspeople for marketing purposes), through to more direct forms such as racist abuse received by our colleagues, friends and club-mates either in person, or under anonymity – and with it, a level of impunity – on social media.
This isn’t something that will get better on it’s own. We need to look at this issue with our eyes wide open, and as an industry make a conscious effort to be more diverse across every level. But the first order of business is to stand up, educate ourselves, and not be silent.
Black lives matter.
Thank you for reading,
We are a small, and certainly not a cash-rich, company, but we did have some money earmarked for a run of socks later this year – we have now donated that money to Black Lives Matter and The Stephen Lawrence Trust. If you would also like to donate, you can do so through these links: https://blacklivesmatter.com/contact/ (Follow the donate link on the page) & https://www.stephenlawrence.org.uk/
If you would like to donate to other related funds in the USA, here is a list of causes that accept international payments: blacklivesmatters.carrd
If you want to help but are unsure where to start, here are a list of resources to assist you: blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#educate