Boy, bye! There's room for more than one African-American woman at the top!

Ok, let's cut to the chase here with a few things I'd like to address.

  1. There is room for more than one African-American woman to succeed
  2. You can support someone without tearing someone else down. 
  3. Women can speak for themselves. 
  4. Positivity is pro, and just generally better received. 

It's no secret I enjoy getting lost in the comments section. It's usually comments like "why you gotta be so racist?" or something about how black people have superior calf muscles.  There was also this gem recently...

"<------american citizen. i am a true heinz 57 american. and proud of that fact."

If anyone knows what a ketchup American is, let me know... 

Ok back to my point. Sometimes in the comments section some dude (IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A DUDE) will comment something along the lines of. "This black girl is better, or should be more respected than Ayesha who's a NOOB who's getting way too much attention". 

Beyond me singing Beyoncé's "Sorry" in my head every time I see this happen, here are my very real issues with those types of comments. 

  1. There is room for more than one African-American woman to succeed
  2. You can support someone without tearing someone else down. 
  3. Women can speak for themselves. 
  4. Positivity is pro, and just generally better received. 

There's a pattern here right? I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes, or steal anyone's thunder. In all sincerity, I am trying to bring attention to something that I feel very passionate about. I know that I can only speak for myself in the process. With that being said, I do recognize that there are a handful of other women of color that are out there doing their thing, and I think they are amazing as individuals. I WANT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US TO SUCCEED. 

I'm going to say that again. 

I WANT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US TO SUCCEED. There are so many white women in the peloton. I think the world will be ok if there's more than one African American woman zipping around with them. Amitrite?

We are not all scrapping for this one mythical spot. In fact, none of the girls mentioned are even racing road. Think about that. There are so few of us, that there's not more than one or two African American women (that I know of) trying to go pro in the same discipline... If this doesn't make you want to lift everyone up, then shame on you. 

If you want to build up these other women, share their stories. Talk about them as individuals and accomplished athletes. I enjoy sharing their stories. I get so excited whenever I see a brown girl in a race! I find them, and introduce myself if I can! Just because there are only a handful of us, doesn't mean you have to constantly compare us to one another. We are individuals and deserve to be recognized as such. By all means, comment what you want, but you'd have a far more positive influence by posting messaging about them on your own wall, or on your own posting in a group. There is room for everyone.

Women can speak for themselves. Not once has one of these women approached me directly and said anything negative to me or about me. If they did or wanted to, that is well within their right, but I get so annoyed when men feel the need to speak on the behalf of us poor defenseless women. I have said it before and I'll say it again. If I don't become the first African-American professional road athlete, I won't feel like a failure. I started on this journey to fill a void. If someone else beats me to it, that means we're well on our way to that representation I was seeking. That would mean there are at least two elite African American road cyclists doing it big. I want other women to go for it, this is not a Game of Thrones, so hush that noise immediately. I'm all about spreading black girl magic far and wide. 

Representation is my priority, more African-American women means more representation. These feelings are not exclusive to cycling. 

We are all queens. 

 

Photo by Lorna Fortuna 

Photo by Lorna Fortuna