If you want an "angry black woman", look elsewhere because I'll never give you the satisfaction

San Dimas Stage Road Race   Photo by Danny Munson

San Dimas Stage Road Race  

Photo by Danny Munson

 

You know what's far more exhausting than bike racing? Racism, sexism, and general ignorance. There is a famous quote by James Baldwin

To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.

I am not going to pretend I don't fit right into this. I'm am often very upset by the things around me, but I choose positivity and action as my reaction. Growing up as an African-American woman, I have learned how to detect immediately when someone is venturing off into a zone of hurtfulness. When people start with their off handed statements, or subtle racism I am prepared to flee the scene. It's the sneaky ones you have to be careful of even more than those who are blatantly racist and sexist. 

It's no secret that I am human. Your words hurt, and your actions hurt, but I keep reading and listening as a reminder of why I'm doing all of this. You keep me aware that there is a problem that needs fixing. Know that I am annoyed, and I am outraged, but you'll never see me "act a fool". I refuse to let ignorance light my path. I refuse to let down the folks who've put their trust in me to do the right thing. I won't do it. I will rise above it all, I will hold my head up high. I will never apologize for who I am, and I will show you that your ignorance will not get in my way. 

The picture above means the world to me. It was a moment of celebration for a win that I worked very hard for. Look around me, count the number of the African-American women. Go ahead? You might have a bit of trouble because there aren't any others. There were 42 women in this race, and 80 in the Pro 123 Women's field. I was the only African-American woman in this major racing event with 122 women participating. Knowing this, I am not satisfied with the state of things so I'm going to keep working to encourage progress and change. And with my Category 2 Upgrade on the horizon, I am one giant step closer to making that happen!

I don't think anyone is intentionally keeping women of color out the sport, nor do I feel a general sense of discrimination. I have had a few isolated incidents which are merely a reflection of individuals and not cycling at large. That is unfortunately just the way of the world. With that in mind, I appreciate all of the humans in the cycling community that have shown nothing but love and support. The humans who have chosen to be disrespectful and unnecessary can go float away on a tiny raft. FYI, I did not steal my bike from in front of a pub or anywhere, no one is going to kill me in for being in a black neighborhood, and feel free to drug test me, because my bloodstream is mostly banana chips and dried apricots.

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The great part about sharing your story with the world is that you get to experience the support from people all over the globe. Unfortunately you have to deal with the knuckleheads too. Guy, Ronnie, Alan and Matjaž should take a cue from Jack! 

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I'd like to end this on a positive note, so I'd like to say good work to Victoria & Hannah Duffey who have been doing spectacular out there this season.  I've learned that Hannah wants to go Pro when she grows up, and I couldn't be more proud. Keep tagging me in your stuff, I want to know all the things! Also, best of luck to Maize Wimbush in her first race of the season this upcoming weekend. I can't wait to hear how it goes! It starts with little girls like y'all! 

If you know of Any Quick Brown Foxes of any age that I should have on my radar, please share! Thanks!