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No one called any one a racist, just a good question...(39 posts)

No one called any one a racist, just a good question...Djudd
Aug 4, 2002 7:12 AM
In a post below "legs" asks a very good question about the non-diversity in the pro peloton. Most responses were in the spirit of the question. Inevitably, however, someone thinks they are being accused of being a racist and goes crazy. Lack of diversity is not necessarily racism. I think the peloton would benefit from diversity of all kinds. Just as the addition of Americans was beneficial so would be racial diversity.
When John McEnroe made the same statement about the need for tennis to reach out, certain quarters got over-sensitive and screamed they weren't racist when that was never the issue.
Thank you legs for the question and thank you Doug Sloan for the picture.
It wasn't necessarily a good question.Lazywriter
Aug 4, 2002 8:19 AM
There is no big conspiracy going on in cyling. If one is going to question why there are no blacks in the peleton, that person should then question why there aren't other races that aren't represented.
Certain races are overrepresented in some sprts and underrepresented in others. It is that simple. If you go into the inner city (I am from Brooklyn and grew up around more diversity than most of you here) young kids think cycling is stupid, "gay", boring and uncool.
That in and of itself deters kids from being interested. Basketball and football are "cool" and therefore the masses flock to those sports.
Golf is the one exception where I can see a more obvious elitist and racist phenomenon going on because it involves clubs that exclude people. But cycling is simply not appealing to most minorities in bigger cities. The cost of the sport is also a deterrent is some ways but skateboarding is a relatively cheap sport but not popular amongst black people (for the most part). I work with emotionally distrubed kids most of whom are black and hispanic and they consider sports like skateboarding and cycling for "crazy white boys".
I have a Lance Armstrong "what are you on" poster in my office and other than the muscles in Lance's legs, they show no interest in the sport or the bike. Is that representative of all inner city kids? No, but I think a generalization can be made.
If there were a capable black, blue, green or whatever color/race capable of beating Lance, they would be on a French team. This whole concept that there must be Diversity and multiculturalism in everything that exists is silly. Do you think the europeans and south americans are crying that there aren't enough americans in soccer? NO. It is what it is.
I agree with Lazywriter for a change.Jon Billheimer
Aug 4, 2002 8:58 AM
Ethnic diversity is not the end all and be all of anything. The answer to the question really is simple: there are cultural biases that influence sports preferences.

With respect to the health and future of cycling I think the reality and perception of fairness is a much more timely issue. The perception and reality of widespread cheating by athletes, the tacit support of coaches and sports federations, and weak-kneed regulation and enforcement of the rules by the UCI are far more urgent issues than ethnic representation in the sport. BTW, the same thing can be said for the current state of figure skating.
Ethnic diversity, my .02Juanmoretime
Aug 4, 2002 11:17 AM
Living in the Midwest and partipating in many multisport events since the mid eighties, I find it surprising to find ethnic participants. This included the old Coors Light series and Powerman. I welcome all competitors although I find these events to be pretty much a whitey thing. Watch the Ironman Triathlon and you will find probably particpiants of color less than one percent. You find a higher number of ethnic participants in running events, I.E. The Chicago Marathon. Why?, who knows, their loss not mine.
volleyball in Peru(s.america) is a girls sport.colker
Aug 4, 2002 12:15 PM
peru is a serious contender to women's world title but their masc team sucks..
no one cared for volleyball in brasil and suddenly it became a craze. why? a talented generation and LOTS of marketing.. want to sell cycling to the masses? just do it. SELL it. culture is more and more a matter of marketing. am i being simplistic? sligtly but look what happenned with us soccer: it was non existent 10yrs a go. i bet that in 10 yrs more usa will be in the world cup finals. how? sports marketing.
as long as there is money, race and even national character issues become irrelevant.
The question was not bad . . .ms
Aug 4, 2002 2:31 PM
In my view it does not hurt to ask a question -- so long as you are willing to accept the answer. And, the answer appears to be that there is not a conspiracy to keep cycling white, but that the interests or biases of potential cyclists keeps them from the sport. My concern is not that racial barriers exist to the sport, but that there are economic ones. Is is a (relatively) expensive sport to enter and there is not a structure (such as little league and high school teams in football, basketball, etc) to encourage all kinds (black, white, brown, etc) of young riders.
Its the world we live in....cyclejim
Aug 4, 2002 3:05 PM
Are there economic barriers to entering cycling? Hmm not really, they are no more than in most sports. You can pick up a bike for less than $100, which is about the entry level for lots of sports. A pair of basketball shows can easily run over $100. A football helmet, jersey, pads, shoes, etc all add up. I definitely do not think cycling is any more expensive in the entry level than most sports out there.

Its the interests of the kids in question that stop them from riding. Most kids, (of ANY color) do not think cycling is exactly a cool sport (even with a role model like Lance), I would agree that perhaps this holds true more for some races than others.

You can't force or push diversity just "because" - that makes no sense at all. If there were valid barriers that were holding back certain races from entering cycling I would COMPLETLY agree that they would need to be broken down and diversity then encouraged. Fact is, I think that cycling is just as accesible by any race than another.

Obviously there isnt a Little League for cyclists, than again there are lots of smaller, less popular sports that don't have this either. It doesn't really have anything to do with cycling, its just not as popular as football, baseball, hockey, etc.
It was a very good question and remains pertinent...Djudd
Aug 4, 2002 2:33 PM
Every sport, in fact everything benefits from diversity. Why can't we strive for diversity in every phase of life. Reach out. It is not easy but things are more fun and better when there is difference.
Lazywriter, maybe your kids were not interested in the Lance poster, maybe you never talked to them about cycling.
Equating lack of interest in a poster and the entire sport is at best dubious reasoning.
Here in DC there is a bike shop in the heart of the city that offers kids free bikes if they come to the shop and learn bike repair. I have been there and found the kids
fascinating and enthusiastic in their interest in cycling.
I actually did talk about cycling but the kidsLazywriter
Aug 4, 2002 3:09 PM
were simply obsessed with Alan Iverson. They could have cared less when I told them about Lance almost dying and coming back to do what he did. I knew he was a better role model than Iverson and all the other hoodlum athletes, but that is what they wanted to emulate. It really is that simple. In the inner city, "thug life" is admirable.
If you did the work I do you would see this clearly. It is not a value judgement on my part, but just a realistic observation. Even where I grew up there were characters in my neighborhood like "Mad Dom Hood" (I couldn't of made that name up) and "Crazy Albi". These guys were "celebrities" in Brooklyn.
Point being, cycling isn't and will not be cool for most inner city kids of whom are disproportionately black and phenomenal athletes.
Dubious reasoning??cyclejim
Aug 4, 2002 3:11 PM
I think what Lazy said about the interests is quite a valid point actually. Most kids of any color dont give a crap about cycling.

I agree with your statement that things benefit from diversity, but at the same time I am very wary of encouraging diversity just "because" it makes things better.

If there are barriers of some kind stopping certain races from entering certain sports, that is horrible and should be stopped. I just dont see it in cycling. If people want to get involved and ride they can.
In turn I am wary about the answer:it is what it is...Djudd
Aug 4, 2002 3:58 PM
additionally what is wrong with encouraging diversity because it makes things better...what a perfect reason to do anything-because it makes things better
Because sometimes it doesntcyclejim
Aug 4, 2002 4:08 PM
Some attempts to encourage diversity are misguided and do not make things better. You assume that they always do. I disagree with that statement. Look, how about telling me a few of the ideas you have to encourage diversity in cycling.... I may even agree with some or all of them.
Not what I see.aeon
Aug 4, 2002 8:36 PM
Yeah, you can pick up a bike for 100 bucks, but I mean, this is the board that says you can't get a decent race bike for less than 1000. The clothes, the race fees, it really builds up. You have to learn maintance fast, have some tools, and space to store and work on your bike. Plus of course a computer with internet access really helps find these things out.

A person without means really can't afford all this. Plus there's the usual transportation issues, the "coolness" issues (who REALLY wants people to know they dress in tights all the time?), and the snobishness of a lot of racers. All that adds up to not much reason for an inner city kid to take it up.

But what do you need for basketball? A ball...
Diversity.....Starliner
Aug 4, 2002 4:45 PM
As I said in the other thread, diversity is not necessarily a good thing, if it is forced. I see it similar to how I see food: it is best when it occurs naturally. If it is created with artificial ingredients, it may look good on the surface, but upon closer scrutiny it ends up being artificial as the ingredients it is made of, and not something desirable.

Sure, it would be nice to have more diversity in the sport- if it occurs naturally. Role models can be very important, but as Tiger Woods and the Williams sisters show us, not necessarily of the same color.

I don't think it is an issue we should allow us to feel that the sport is lesser than it is. Keep the door open and the welcome mat out, but I'm not going to force them in-they have got to want to enter on their own accord.
Bingo nmLazywriter
Aug 4, 2002 4:51 PM
I asked this question about a year agojtolleson
Aug 4, 2002 3:13 PM
and got a different kind of hostile attack; accusing of being "too PC" by some and the question labeled "patronizing" by one of the board's african american cyclists who said he did not need my white "pity."

For whatever reason, this dialogue brings out the worst in people. That's why this go 'round I didn't participate.
Please participate, you can't be "too pc"...Djudd
Aug 4, 2002 3:53 PM
PC means being sensitive to other people and cultures that is all. The other stuff is just myth.
What is wrong with encouraging diversity for its' own sake? I say again, in any situation in life, the more diversity the better for all. Everyone benefits. A few years after baseball was integrated Curt Flood broke ranks and created free agency which benefitted every professinal baseball player. Twenty years ago if you said a young man of color would be the most popular attraction in golf you would be thought to be crazy. Who knows what a little diversity would do for the pro peloton.
Still not sure about what you want to do...cyclejim
Aug 4, 2002 3:56 PM
How about some specific examples of what things you would do to encourage cycling to other races? That might help me to understand what is it you are trying to do.
the example I gave with the bike shop is a perfect...Djudd
Aug 4, 2002 4:05 PM
I am not saying there is going to be a whole movement of kids jumping on Treks and racing for the Galibier. I am saying that is not foolish to ask the question. There is not a conspiracy to prevent people from riding but asking the question does not mean you think there is or that racism (or the accusation thereof)is behind it.
I think that was a great example you gave...cyclejim
Aug 4, 2002 4:10 PM
Those are the kinds of positive things that we can do in the community, I just have a problem with some of the poorly conceived attempts to encourge diversity that I've seen in the past, just for the sake of being diverse. ....And I don't think the question made it sounds as if there was racism in cycling. I think that is pretty obviously not the case.
Oh Christ!!!! Enough with all the diversity is needed BSLazywriter
Aug 4, 2002 4:28 PM
Like I said earlier, if you really "care" about minorities and their ascension in society, then look at your office and start filling more of you and your coworker's positions with minorities. Getting a few to take up cycling does nothing for racial equality. However, when they start filling your jobs, then slowly but surely they economic inequities will disappear.
Dramatic point, I agree but it is at the real issues of whether people here really want equality in society. 3 0r 4 blacks in the peleton doesn't do jack sh$%. Bicycling is big in the inner cities, but it usually involves theft. I am not kidding or being "racist". Bicycle theft is huge in New York and Chicago. Many articles and tv clips on it to prove it. You can give as many bikes as you want out to poor kids in Camden NJ (one of the most depressed areas in the country) and they will collect dust as the kids dribble their basketballs down to the park. It is just what some people prefer.
I am telling you, most inner city people see a guy in tights and jersey and think they are "fags". It really is that simple.
How do you "work" with emotionally disturbed kids...Djudd
Aug 4, 2002 4:34 PM
kick them in the face when they ask you for help. Your response is silly and senseless.
I work within the realm of reality and not someLazywriter
Aug 4, 2002 4:51 PM
bs politically correct nonsense. To react and relate in a genuine way is crucial or you will be sniffed out as fake and you WILL be rejected. People don't like to be patronized and I assure you I am loved by the kids I serve and served because I am genuine.
I deal with kids who were raped by their parents, beaten unrecognizably and branded. The last thing they want around is some pseudo-liberal, politically correct white male trying to tell them that they need to act more civil in order to cope in society. Shut up, you know nothing about the real issues or you would see my point.
You don't know me but you are silly and probably a liar...nmDjudd
Aug 4, 2002 4:55 PM
Liar????Lazywriter
Aug 4, 2002 5:12 PM
About what? What I do for a living? I am a social worker with graduate degrees if you need to know. I know of what I speak and speak of what I know. I was once naive and idealistic (still am idealistic)to think I could save the world until I saw the true horror. Not from some Dateline NBC show like most people, but by building relationships with people who suffer.
All the lip service people pay about diversity blah blah blah,is all noise to me. Most people say they care but they really don't.
Liar????legs
Aug 4, 2002 5:24 PM
let me speak a language you might understand..
lazywriter.. your responses seem very axis II...
enough so that it would surprise me to find out that you are doing any clinical work...

the name calling and quick assumptions seem to be qualties that would normally be less pesent in a mental health professional...

your responses are very black and white (no pun injended)and seem to lack any possiblity for healthy ambivilence.. and you seem hell bent on throwing insults..

in fact.. your responses seem entirely pathological and a little scary..
take a step back...
its a discussion board.. not an attack board.. not an 'only lazywriter knows board'..

its gonna be ok...
I'm not pseudo anything and I am a politically correct ...Djudd
Aug 4, 2002 5:03 PM
black male. So take your assumptions and GTH.
Hey Djudd.spankdoggie
Aug 4, 2002 5:42 PM
Lazywriter is a honkey cracker jackass.
Don't let him get to you.
He rides a Litespeed, and for that he loses all credibility.

Love and tears,
Happy riding,

spankdoggie
I think legs post above hits it right on the head...Djudd
Aug 4, 2002 5:53 PM
he is too judgemental and reactionary. What was intelligent discussion becomes a pissing contest. I hope he is less so with the kids he supposedly works with.
SpankyLazywriter
Aug 4, 2002 6:37 PM
Hey you little douchebag. Yep, I ride Litepseed and proud of it. Don't see how that affects my credibility, but most of what you say is retarded. A "honkey cracker"? hugh That isn't very nice. You are a fool. LOL
Lazywriter whole card: peeped!!!...nmDjudd
Aug 4, 2002 6:44 PM
Lazy...spankdoggie
Aug 4, 2002 6:56 PM
I am not little. I am 6 foot 180ish lbs, and I am a powerlifter. I am 33 years old.

I am not interested in kicking your ass, but I certainly could if I wanted to.
I find you interesting.
In real life, I would ride with you, and let you draft behind me on your litespeed.

On this board you are a jackass in my book.
Hit me with some swear words,

Jackass,

spankdoggie baller
thank you cyclejim...this is all I was talking about..peace nmDjudd
Aug 4, 2002 4:38 PM
in any situation in life?Starliner
Aug 4, 2002 4:53 PM
An example of a conscious non-diversified situation is an all-girls school. Is this wrong, and why?
re: No one called any one a racist, just a good question...legs
Aug 4, 2002 4:59 PM
thank you for understanding my intent..
and yeah.. i second that on mr sloan... he seems like a cool one...

the negative comments towards me have been disheartening and mean spirited...

I feel really bad for the poeple that dont get it...
for the most part I think your question was answered in the...Djudd
Aug 4, 2002 5:47 PM
spirit it was asked. There are some (very few) who take the question as a call to arms and answer accordingly. too bad
I am black and enjoytaar44
Aug 4, 2002 6:54 PM
cycling. Will my life be any worse if a black person never competes in the TDF?? F**k no!! Blacks compete in several other sports and there are enough of them to be role models to black kids. Road bicycling is simple a sport that black kids dont show interest in. No big deal. They can try other sports.
Ditto...aet
Aug 5, 2002 7:56 AM
i'm black and i started riding when i was 30. i don't even think i was aware of amatuer racing when i was a teen. certainly did not know anyone that did it. one of these days an athletic black kid will decided he thinks it is cool, will maybe become a famous pro and then maybe more will. or maybe not. no reason to get mad, though.
Praise the Lord, here is aLazywriter
Aug 5, 2002 2:01 PM
black guy telling you exaclty what I have been saying. Inner city black kids are not interested in the TDF or cycling. Doesn't mean that all black people don't like cycling, but in order to get a few at the pro level, there will have to be many more on bikes at young ages.
Look at how many awesom black basketball players there are that don't make it to the NBA and compared to cyling, there are 10s of millions more kids playing ball than riding bikes at competitive levels.