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  1. #1
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    Ethnicity and diversity

    When I was riding 10+ years ago, there didn't seem to be much diversity. I recall one black guy who I saw regularly riding around town. A few people of varying ethnicity - Asian descent, Hispanic descent, etc.. but really not a whole lot. Most people out on the trails were more or less "white" or at least "white-ish".

    In the past couple months since I've returned to riding, I've noticed a much larger and diverse crowd. Particularly people of Hispanic descent, but a much wider variety in all areas.

    I'm just curious what may have changed? I think it's great. I love seeing people of all different backgrounds, out there enjoying the trails and having a good time.

    Has it always just been a matter of time, as popularity in cycling increases? Or maybe the population in my area has simply become more diverse. Whatever it is, I'm glad to see it.

  2. #2
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    I think until recently it has been a matter of socio-economic difficulties. Now that (some) minorities have more expendable income, we have been able to join in on some sports that may have been cost-prohibitive in the past. There is still a cultural hurdle to overcome when trying to move into a sport that is cast as predominantly "white". The way that extra income is spent is one example. In a historically poor culture (inner city minorities) owning a car, expensive jewelry, and things of that nature were symbols of success (regardless of whether or not you were successful, you sought these symbols) while a bike was seen as a tool of the poor. So there is still that stigma with owning a bike, and there is the drive to spend money on perceived symbols of success. There are lots of bicycling groups that are trying to get minorities into cycling, but that is mainly for mobility and not as much recreation, although the difficulties they are addressing are still the same.
    *Not a real mountain biker

  3. #3
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    I see a lot of Hispanic riders in GA. One of my riding partners is from Venezuela and has a large group of friends from all over South America who ride with him. Great group.

    Conversely, when I lived in central Missouri, one of my riding partners was black. We only rode on the roads as we were training for triathlons. This guy was an Army sergeant and looked like he could have been an MMA fighter or at least a pro football player. The number of vile, racial insults we had yelled at us from pickup trucks driving down the road was amazing. He shrugged it off.
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  4. #4
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    ^ Makes me angry reading stuff like that. Racism isnt dead... it just hides like a coward yelling out of car windows.

    Im a halfie. White and south american, but lots of hispanics in that region just look white anyway. Its pretty crazy the amount of racist shit you hear people say because they assume you're white too.

    I live in super diverse northern california. Still pretty white on the trails. I dont know, its an issue that I take pretty seriously (equality and all that), but I suppose its not something I want to think about while riding. Were all just on bikes, and thats cool. Ill reserve that social issue for another avenue.

  5. #5
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    I see a lot of people, you know human beings. I know crazy right?
    Lefty For LIFE!!!!! To have lived without passion, adventure, and thrill, is to never lived at all!!!

  6. #6
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    Here in Central Ohio, it is interesting that most of the people in "biker garb" and on boutique-y bikes are white, between 25 and 30 males; on the MTB trails I rarely see anyone outside of the demographic above; I see more "ethnicity" in the skate parks and just riding on the streets...though the couriers still also tend to be the same guys as the boutique-t types above...and possibly younger.

    The multi-use trails contain the most diverse riders - all ages, races, genders...
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by IFallDown View Post
    I see a lot of people, you know human beings. I know crazy right?
    An excellent perspective. But that doesn't mean that there isn't beauty in diversity. Which was my point.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by IFallDown View Post
    I see a lot of people, you know human beings. I know crazy right?
    This typically comes up whenever race is discussed in this kind of context. Someone will usually ask "why bring race into it?". The simple answer is that if you're not thinking about race, its because you're fortunate enough to be able to discount it. Most minorities DO think about race, in the way the sport is represented and in make-up of those who participate in it.

    I applaud those that notice, because they're not turning a blind eye and are acknowledging the inequity. If you never think about race, then you've never felt out of place when you're the only person of color at the bike/ski swap. You've never been accused of stealing a bike because of the color of your skin (like is happening in Florida or happened to me when I was 13). A similar sentiment is felt by many women when the topic of gender comes up. You should consider yourself lucky that you're the default. I'm not calling you out IFallDown. I'm sure you're an awesome guy, but those types of statements usually come from a position of privilege (not econimic, but societal privilege).

    So yeah, we should totally all get along and ride together. But lets make sure to acknowledge our differences and the difficulties that some may have faced to get to where they are. In this case, the trailhead.
    *Not a real mountain biker

  9. #9
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    Damn Obama....
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  10. #10
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    Kind of a strange way to look at things. I see plenty of Hispanics on the trails, as I live in Florida. A guy in Montana probably does not see too many blacks on the trails. In Mississippi, I am going to guess it is different. I really think what you are seeing is a changing demographic in a specific area. Otherwise, we would all see 16% Hispanic, 13% black, 5% Asian, and the balance white on the trails......


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by falconpunch79 View Post
    This typically comes up whenever race is discussed in this kind of context. Someone will usually ask "why bring race into it?". The simple answer is that if you're not thinking about race, its because you're fortunate enough to be able to discount it. Most minorities DO think about race, in the way the sport is represented and in make-up of those who participate in it.

    I applaud those that notice, because they're not turning a blind eye and are acknowledging the inequity. If you never think about race, then you've never felt out of place when you're the only person of color at the bike/ski swap. You've never been accused of stealing a bike because of the color of your skin (like is happening in Florida or happened to me when I was 13). A similar sentiment is felt by many women when the topic of gender comes up. You should consider yourself lucky that you're the default. I'm not calling you out IFallDown. I'm sure you're an awesome guy, but those types of statements usually come from a position of privilege (not econimic, but societal privilege).

    So yeah, we should totally all get along and ride together. But lets make sure to acknowledge our differences and the difficulties that some may have faced to get to where they are. In this case, the trailhead.
    You read way into my statement. I am in profession (law enforcement) where I see race/ethnicity everyday also from Florida.
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  12. #12
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    Great post FP.

    MTB is even whiter than skiing in New England, which is a bummer, because the BMX scene is very diverse.

    Planning on bringing a gay friend out with the regular local yahoos for a ride soon too. Sadly, I'm a little stressed about it. I would never feel that way based on someone's skin tone or accent.

    What can ya do, like OnePivot said, we're all on bikes. We'll figure it out.

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by IFallDown View Post
    You read way into my statement. I am in profession (law enforcement) where I see race/ethnicity everyday also from Florida.
    Then I sincerely apologize for misconstruing your statement. As you may have guessed, I have come to expect that response when advocating for minorities in any activity. People typically pick up on obvious cases of inequality, when applied to a lesser degree, privilege is not so lucid. But in this case, I let my prejudices get ahead of me. My bad.

    ApolloMike brings up a good point about demographics. I am the only Hispanic person on the trail because I'm one of the few Hispanic people in interior Alaska. In this case, participation in the sport reflects the population fairly well. Where things look different is when participation in an activity doesn't represent the composition of the population. If in a region that is primarily minorities, the bike club/university/whatever is predominately white, it may require a second look.

    I didn't mean to get on a soap-box, but I love cycling and I think we need to be pro-active in order to get more minorities involved. Mountain bikers are generally a friendly, colorblind bunch, but ethnicity needs to be recognized and maybe some hands extended in invitation to the sport. Don't get me started on winter sports...
    *Not a real mountain biker

  14. #14
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    I was about to say I have never seen a black guy MTBing, then I remembered that I MTB with my nephew and he is black. But, the only black guy I have ever seen on a MTB. Some Latinos and some Asians, but not a lot. Interesting topic, though. And, two of my boys are black and my wife and these boys (I have four boys) love skiing, and virtually never seen any black people skiing. Hopefully I live long enough to see this change to a balanced level.

  15. #15
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    here in Socal is very diverse. I see lots of Filipino riders, black is still rare, but they are out there. we all have smile on our face when riding.
    those filipino have nice rigs, but I smoke most of them...hahah.
    my riding partner is also filipino, he smokes me though...he is the only filipino I know that can smoke me.

    anyway, this MTB is mainly white sports, just look at the pros in world cup competition.
    same like NASCAR and ice hockey.

    by the way, Tinker Juarez is exception, non white pro that still kicks ass. Amazing endurance.

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