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What we read: June 26, 2020

Particularly relevant to CS and what we’re trying to build here was this article from Jezebel, which discussed the reckoning(s) at Man Repeller and Refinery29 as white women leadership have had to confront allegations of racist behavior (as well as white-centric site content). While we aren’t anywhere close to either site in terms of size or readership (nor do we necessarily aspire to be, at least not following their model), it has been a valuable lesson for me to watch how those sites have responded to the allegations. More, however, it’s been a good learning opportunity about what not to do.

Refinery29’s interview with Layla F. Saad reinforced the importance of websites doing authentic work to combat racial inequity and not just making statements as virtue signaling or because it seems like the thing to do right now. Saad said, “I understand that now media platforms are wanting to amplify melanated voices, share Black stories, listen to Black people, and that’s great because that’s what we’ve always been asking for. But do so in a way that doesn’t feel like you’re trying to consume Black people. Do so in a way where it shows that you respect their expertise and their value and that you’re not just using them so that your proximity to them can prove to everyone else that you’re good, that you’re anti-racist because you’ve got the Black voices there. These white organizations, while wanting to hear from Black people, haven’t yet done the work to know how to do so in a way that doesn’t cause harm inadvertently.” As the article headline stated: We can’t build anti-racist content on a racist foundation.

As we fight for racial equity, it is important to fight for Black women and Trans women too. Across the Black Lives Matter movement, the killings of Black women and especially Black Trans women have received less attention than the killings of Black men. As this article from Bitch Media highlighted, it is critical to highlight and fight for the rights of Black Trans women too, which is why the hashtag #BlackTransLivesMatter is an important part of the larger fight for racial justice.

It’s been a long time coming, but TrailRunner Magazine ran an op-ed this week affirming trans-athletes and asking that Trans athletes not only be treated as fully human but that they be able to compete as their affirmed gender. I’ve never been so excited to see an article in the main magazine from my sport, and I’ve never nodded so vigorously while reading an article about running. It’s about time: “Transgender rights are human rights.”

More on the running front, Fast Women published their interview with Samia Akbar, “the fastest known U.S.-born Black marathoner with her 2:34:14 at the 2006 New York City Marathon.” It was really great to hear her perspective as a Black runner; in the interview, she questioned why her time was the fastest time for a US-born Black woman runner and noted the general lack of diversity across the board in distance running in the United States. The entire interview is worth reading.

Finally, Mirna Valerio wrote about body autonomy and belonging in the trail running community. Long one of my favorite runners (and her book, A Beautiful Work in Progress, is a must read), I appreciate Valerio’s constant work for recognition and inclusion.

What did you read this week? Share in the comments.

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