Advance Notice

twitter

Within the next day or two I’m going to publish a post about my experiences with the cycling community. Specifically, I will be talking about how I don’t always feel welcome and some examples of things others have done to make me feel unwelcome. I tweeted about this earlier in the week, and by the looks of it (all of 3 favorites…), my upcoming post may be about as welcome as I feel. 

I tried to keep it as short as possible, but that was hard because it’s a complicated topic. I wanted to add a ton of disclaimers, but that just made it longer. So, I opted to create this pre-post post so I could do both. 

Disclaimer #1 — I love the bike community 

Truly, I do. I have met great people that I really connect with, and have had some really fun and lively conversations. So, I would like to make an advance request that my love and dedication for the community not be questioned just because I’m shining a light on a few of its flaws. How can we get better, more inclusive, as a community (or industry or interest group) if we don’t even acknowledge our faults? 

Dislaimer #2 — I think most people have good intentions 

The intentions debate is a distraction from the real issue. By pointing out to someone that they said or did something that was bad does not make them a bad person. How many times have we said, “we all make mistakes?” Well, I don’t think enough people really take that to heart. Or, they apply it to trivial things like forgetting to eat breakfast. It is hard to admit you made a mistake like, just said something that was racist. But it sure is a lot easier to argue that your good intentions absolve you having actually said something that was racist. 

So, I ask that you keep my perspective in mind as you read my post. If you see something you did(or do) in my post, please let get of the need to explain your intentions. Trust me, I have already assumed that you either had good intentions or no intentions at all. I very rarely ever assume that anyone has negative intentions. And honestly? I wouldn’t bother writing something like this for people with bad intentions. Why bother? They have bad intentions. Waste of time. 

So, please remember I’m not calling you a bad person. I’m not calling you a sexist. Or a racist. What I am saying is that you’re a usually swell person who wants to be inclusive, but who happened to make a mistake

Disclaimer #3 — I follow a systemic approach

In all of the work that I do (side note: my “day job” is researcher-activist in the field of gender-based violence, with a border focus on systems of oppression), I approach everything from a systemic/societal-level approach.  

That is why I never get caught up in people’s intentions (see above). My default positioning on this issue is that systems of oppression have been deeply ingrained and embedded in our society. None of us are immune from it. No one. Not me, not you, and definitely not the cycling community. But, everyone has a responsibility to learn about it so that they don’t just keep on perpetuating the status quo. 

Disclaimer #4 — I didn’t talk about everything 

There is much more I could talk about in my post, so please don’t expect to see everything in there. I worked hard towards ensuring it was an intersectional approach to the issue. I state clearly that I’m not trying to speak for others. There is more to talk about, I’m just another voice out there regarding this, and I’m not going to be the last. 

Bye for now!
~ peace ~ love ~ dogs ~ bikes ~ coffee ~

About these ads

15 thoughts on “Advance Notice

  1. I value your opinion, it was taking with you that stopped me from referring to ladies as girls in my blogs. I had no bad intentions at all, and had no idea it bugged people.

    I guess what I am saying is brig it lady. I value your opinion and if I am doing the things you talk about I can make the decision to change. But regardless, I will take no offense.

    Like

    • Aww thanks :) that means a lot! And yes, when it comes to you, Tony, I can without a doubt say I’ve never–nor would I–question/ed your intentions. You can consider yourself permanently on my “this guy has good intentions” list.

      Like

  2. Looking forward to reading it. In my experience, the times when people talk about the tough stuff is when I realize just how much the things I thought were personal really are political. Even with your disclaimer, people are probably going to tell you that you’re wrong. A while ago I wrote about an interaction I had, and a commenter basically said, “that’s not sexist, he was just trying to hit on you.” And that commenter is the sustainable transportation planner for the City of St. Paul. But that’s a different story.

    There are people out here who will validate your experience. I like your sign-off; it reminds me to focus on the things I love. For me:
    ~ peace ~ love ~ kitties* ~ bikes ~ coffee… and the women I ride bikes with. They get it and inspire me every day. ~

    *sorry, I’m one of THOSE people. There’s a kitty curled up on my legs right now. :-)

    Like

    • I don’t think I have the words to properly respond to this. Too many warm fuzzies are swarming over me. Can you comment back with a link to the post you refer to? Not only do I want to read it, but it is also relevant.

      Kitties are cool too :) never apologize for loving pets! Haha

      Thank you, thank you, a million times thank for your comment today.

      Like

    • I couldn’t agree more! I linked to your post because it’s exactly what I’m talking about in my post (it’s finished and scheduled for tomorrow. Are you on twitter?

      Like

  3. Pingback: The Cycling Community Can Do Better | echo in the city

  4. I guess I’m trying to figure out what common attitudes/behaviours signal to you, coolness from guys towards gals in the cycling community. Or is it more different types of cyclists ie. racers /hammerheads vs. rest of the world?

    Of course, even the hammerhead cycling world gets sheared down the middle between guys and women.

    For certain various cycling groups can be standoffish. It depends the participants/groupie members. For certain, if a cyclist doesn’t have good/safe cycling skills, the s/he is looked down abit.

    Even in the friendliest cycling circles –and that maybe for chic/fixie bike circles or cycling advocacy groups…there can be cliquishness. But like any social group, it does take time to understand any internal lingo, common passions that bind people together.

    I will say that for along time, cycling advocacy in Toronto and Vancouver were predominantly white folks…which is dumb because both cities have VERY high % of Asian descent residents (I believe both cities are at least 20% or more) and Toronto has Canada’s largest black community. Now, it’s changed slightly to include more Asian-Canadians in cycling circles.

    I actually care less about the gender dynamics, but more the white, non-white dynamic, because this is also reality in big Canadian and U.S. cities when one talks about inclusiveness in cycling at all levels : racing, mountain biking, commuter and touring.

    Like

    • Hi Jean!

      I never got caught up with the different cliques in cycling too much. The roadie vs fixie vs etc etc. So, my posts really aren’t about those conflicts. Really, I’m pointing out and focusing on how the broader systems of oppression (like sexism and racism) are present in cycling. Your example is a perfect one: Even though Torono and Vancouver have a high % of Asian residents and a large Black community, the movement was still dominated by white people. THAT is exactly what I’m talking about here.

      Like

  5. Pingback: But Elly…you’re talking about ME! | echo in the city

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s