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, I 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 ~