Don’t just jump into the comments section – first, listen to this podcast on racism in mountain biking. Here are some reasons why we think you should.
There has already been a Forum thread about this edition of the Downtime Podcast, but rather than post it and recommend it to you before listening to it, I’ve waited until I’d had time to listen to the whole thing. Having done so, I can recommend finding the time to take it in – there’s nearly two hours of discussion, which took me a bunch of school runs to get through and really concentrate on. In it, Eliot Jackson and Phil Young discuss racism in mountain biking, with interesting perspectives from both the USA and UK.
Here are 5 reasons why I think you should listen to this episode of the Downtime Podcast:
1. Historical context
It explains the historical context of wealth, race, slavery and colonialism in the UK, and how this has created an unequal society. This is definitely not stuff I was taught at school. Understanding it makes it clearer to me why I can be the beneficiary of a racist legacy, without personally being racist – and how that plays into almost every aspect of life.
2. It’s (not) the economy, stupid
It discusses the demographics of the UK, and gives good evidence about why economic means alone doesn’t explain away the whiteness of mountain biking. And it makes you think again about why our demographics are what they are – see point 1 above.
3. What is mountain biking anyway?
If you’ve ever looked at an ad or article and felt like you’re doing it wrong, or that it doesn’t fit with why you ride a bike, or that maybe what you do isn’t ‘mountain biking’, then I think there are some interesting points here about how the sport is portrayed. This podcast made me think more about how we define mountain biking, what it is that we get from it, and how that translates into marketing and media coverage.
4. We can all do something
Dismissing communities of people as ‘not being interested in mountain biking’ fails to understand and appreciate the differences in culture and life experience, and assesses the value or appeal of mountain biking and its marketing within our own cultural context. Whatever our role in mountain biking – riders, media folks, bike designers, brand owners – there are things we can do to help and encourage people into the sport that brings us so much joy and reward.
5. The best is yet to come
It gives some great examples of how mountain biking – the industry and the sport – could benefit from being more diverse and how that could grow the sport in ways we’ve yet to think of. This made me think that, with the right will, energy and action, there’s a lot of new and interesting stuff to come in the world of mountain biking, and I want to be part of that.
If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend you go ahead and give this podcast a listen. What will you learn? What ideas does it give you?
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