The Chainlink

Worth a careful read. Tamika Butler talks about the same issues that we see in Chicago. The lack of infrastructure and bike share (Divvy, etc.) is one part of it but then there's the targeted campaign by police. The Chicago police target black bike riders forced to ride on sidewalks for their own safety i.e. no bike lanes. The Chicago police ticket them for riding on the sidewalks and then use it to try to arrest them for something else. It is long overdue we take a hard look at the systemic racism in biking. 

Chicago Tribune:

Police say the citations are in the interests of public safety. African-American bike advocates say the higher number of tickets in some South and West side areas could be caused in part by the lack of bike infrastructure like protected bike lanes, leading cyclists to take to the sidewalk to avoid traffic on busy streets.

But some bike advocates and an elected official expressed concern that police may be unfairly targeting cyclists in black communities while going easier on law-breaking cyclists in white areas. Blacks, Latinos and whites each make up about a third of the city's residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Bicycling Magazine:


As a Black person in this country, I could never have talked about bikes without also talking about race. That hasn’t changed. As the world is being ravaged by not one, but two deadly diseases—the coronavirus and anti-Black racism—that are taking Black lives and making it nearly impossible for my people to breathe, the racial inequities I was compelled to speak on then are still present. To truly make transformational change for all people who bike, we must go beyond a “Bike Month” or an occasional unity ride. We also must get beyond the narrative that only people who (too often self-righteously) make a lifestyle decision to bike are worthy of our targeted marketing campaigns, advocacy, and celebration. We must get past a strategy that assumes cisgender white maleness as the norm. We must get past an ethos of exclusion. Once we can get past these things as a bicycle community, we can finally celebrate what bicycling should truly be about—the power to be free and move freely.

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I hear you Jim about the terminology and semantics.  With both a myriad of opinions on the matter, and then a range of opinions on how best to express those opinions, it's all the more challenging.  This from The New York Times:

Can't edit so when I said "ef them", I'm going to clarify. It's my comment on the brutality, the military training, crazy huge police budgets, crazy military equipment they are given, and the lack of ability for any one police to call out another for illegal actions. It's broken. Police don't support the good cops, they protect the bad and dangerous cops. We've done nothing to adequately fund and train OTHER resources to address mental health, homelessness, drug addiction, racism, poverty, education, jobs, housing, etc. Instead, we have the police, treating them like a Swiss army knife but many are trained with military tactics, treating communities like an "enemy". 

Sure, you can dig up one opinion to back up a pro-police stance but I have to ask this question, have you had your head buried while the brutality and abuse many police beating peaceful protestors, spraying pepper spray, shooting rubber bullets, bean bags to the heads, the eyes, pushing the elderly, beating pregnant bellies, killing, etc.? Take the time to watch the videos of police across the U.S. beating up peaceful protestors who have their hands up, are on their knees, just riding their bikes, sitting in a car, helping the injured, etc. I don't know how you can come here with a pro-police stance saying we need to ramp them up when police organizations and unions are perpetuating this much violence. They are not making us safe and if you are a person of color, calling the police can be the equivalent of handing someone a death sentence because you couldn't bother to leash your dog. 

The bias in the criminal justice system is staggering. One review of millions of traffic stops found that black Americans are nearly twice as likely to be pulled over than white Americans, though white people drive more often (similarly, black cyclists and pedestrians are also more likely to be stopped by police). Police are more likely to target black people for “suspicion of crime.” Black people are more likely to be charged for drug crimes than white people, even though white people use and sell drugs at similar rates. Thirteen percent of the U.S. population is black, but 27% of those who are arrested are black. Black people are more likely to be detained before trial than white people, and nearly six times more likely to be incarcerated. A 2015 study found that an unarmed black American is more than three times more likely to be shot by the police than an unarmed white American.

An Urban Institute report on how to address structural racism, from how to close gaps in income and wealth and improve education to ending punitive policing, suggests that one solution may be what’s called “invest-divest”: Take money from police budgets and put it toward other community resources instead. Activists pushed for this in Chicago, where the No Cop Academy group campaigned against a $95 million police training academy, arguing that the city should spend the money on education, jobs, and housing. (Ultimately, the academy got the city’s approval to move forward, but the activists are still campaigning for similar shifts in budgets.) In other cases, activists say that more funding should go to trained conflict mediators and others who can help reduce violence outside of the police.

All lives matter.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Please stop.  Then listen.

This piece was written a few years ago and is still very relevant. Give it a read.

For too many centuries, black people have been treated as if their lives did NOT matter. We can't afford to ignore the damage that this has caused.

I absolutely agree with what Yasmeen said earlier. 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the article. Always good to hear from you. 

Really Bob? Ok, let's go there. 

Those in the Black Lives Matter movement say black people are in immediate danger and need immediate attention, like the broken bone or house on fire.

Saying “All Lives Matter” in response would suggest to them that all people are in equal danger, invalidating the specific concerns of black people.

“You’re watering the house that’s not burning, but you’re choosing to leave the house that’s burning unattended,” said Allen Kwabena Frimpong, an organizer for the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter. “It’s irresponsible.”

More to the point: It is a given that all lives matter, said Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, an assistant professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University.

“That has always been an assumption,” she said. “The entire point of Black Lives Matter is to illustrate the extent to which black lives have not mattered in this country.”

Larry Barnett, a retired Carbondale District 95 educator and pastor of St. John Praise & Worship Center in Pulaski, and an African American, said that people who feel the need to yell back “all lives matter” when they hear chants of “black lives matter” are seeking to minimize the damages that racism has caused people of color. He said that it’s somewhat like another phrase that he’s heard white people use in the face of claims of discrimination in workplaces and other settings — “there they go again.” It’s “a slight of hand, an illusion, a distraction,” he said, that moves the focus away from investigating and addressing the prejudicial policies or people in question.

John Holst, pastor of Zion United Church of Christ in Marion, who is white, said that, to him, the phrase “black lives matter” means that African Americans want and need to be heard. “All lives matter,” in the manner it is typically spoken, is an “empty retort,” he said. “It’s just ‘be quiet,’” he said of how the phrase is used to shut down conversations about systemic racism. “And that’s the part where we can’t even get to the point of having a conversation.”

Yasmeen, kudos for trying and well put.  Hard to imagine anyone doesn't understand exactly what they are doing when they use this retort at this late date. No plausible deniability -- which leaves me to assume Bob is not interested in an exchange of ideas or learning / growing / evolving. Just three words of negation, which he went to the trouble of posting in each of the  two treads regarding racism.

Bob, I don't know you from Adam or Eve (or Steve), and you might be a thoughtful, interesting, kind person -- but Jesus H. Christ, you must understand by now what an objectionable negation "All Lives Matter" is in response to "Black Lives Matter." So, what is your point exactly in sprinkling that into this discussion, where I believe the words Black Lives Matter surfaced ONCE, in identifying Alicia Garza as a co-founder.

Yasmeen is the only person  on this thread I have ridden a bike with. I know everybody else only by their comments on  this forum. I assume we are all  caring  people.  Bob, you  are taking heat for your pithy comment, "All lives matter."  In general, yes. They all certainly matter.  The problem is that  in the context of this thread and in the context  of the conversation  about black lives literally being  snuffed out by police officers, civilians acting  under  the  cover of  law, and of the reality of racial suppression that  has continued in this  country since 1619 and has been undeterred by the 13th Amendment with new life (or death) since Reconstruction, we are  focusing on  black lives.  in  the context of this conversation it  is the black lives that matter.  If I  roll through a stop sign I am confident, as a 62 year old  white  guy,  that  I will survive that situation.  I have no fear. If I  am  riding with a black rider,  he or  she may have fear and will  likely be upset with  me for putting  him/her into a dangerous situation and  until that  fear is abated and until the  easily detected difference that the color  of one's skin no longer makes it more dangerous to do any of the things I take for  granted, it is the black lives that  matter  and it  is the  black lives that are  part of the conversation.  None of us are misanthropes and clearly we care about all humans and all lives indeed matter.  Saying so, saying  so here, is not  seen as a unifying  message  of  love  but as a middle finger to  those  fighting  for the  black lives and  especially  to those black lives desiring to  continue living. Yes, all  the lives matter and the best  way to  express that is focusing  on the lives that can no longer tolerate being killed in their bed or while on  a jog or because a cop wants to display a black man as his  trophy under  his knee. So,  as we talk about race and bikes we have  to  say and we  have to  hear that black lives matter. It  is a sad state of  our  nation that the obvious needs to be repeated, but it  does and at the risk of  sounding  repetitive,  I  will  urge  us all  to  remember that black lives matter. 

Love him or hate him, Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bike fame apparently was getting some heat for not speaking up about BLM. In reply, he wrote, what I found to be, an interesting and informative piece on why there are few black people on bikes. 

I think some folks on here might like it.

Bicycle riding doesn’t inherently favor white males over other colors or genders, but bicycle politics and culture have.

Thanks for sharing. It's a long article and lost me after a while. I am glad he wrote what he did. I also see a Rivendell as problematic for the following reasons:

1. Their bikes "for women" are actually built for men's shorter legs, longer arms making it painful as a woman to ride their bikes unless you are built with shorter legs and longer arms. This is perpetuated by models like the Betty Foy that was led by a man. They do not know how to handle it if the bike doesn't fit a woman.

2. Their bikes are specifically for white males at a price point (and geometry) for who can afford a very nice expensive bike.

3. Leadership across the board is white men. No women, no people of color in leadership and/or design roles.

Idk, maybe he addressed it but I didn't get that far. They need to do better. I realize they are a niche but this is common in the bike industry and in bike advocacy and in those that design bike infrastructure. 


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