Running While Black Is Not A Crime

Black Lives Matter protest against St. Paul police brutality
Shonda Buchanan
August 24, 2020

He dashed through the trees, cutting his feet on sharp rocks and his hands on bushes. Blood gushed from his wounds. But he wouldn’t stop running.

Many of the first Black runners in America were being chased by slave catchers – and some things still haven’t really changed.

Ahmaud Arbery’s murder in February 2020 by two white men highlights an unspoken fear white people often have of Black runners.

They view Black runners as threats or criminals, and report us to the police – for jogging! And harassing Black runners actually has a deep, racist history.

Today, the sport can provide Black runners with a sense of empowerment. But the history of punishing Black runners haunt us with tales of violence, degradation and historical trauma of slavery

A Black person running, in the white mind, equals ESCAPE, THEFT, or DANGER.

For centuries, a Black man running was thought to be escaping slavery. Ahmaud Arbery’s death re-invigorated this tragic similarity in a time of Black Lives Matter. 

What can we do?

Black runners, joggers and walkers recently took to the streets on Arbery’s 26th birthday, sharing stories of white harassment, white stalking and feeling unsafe running in white neighborhoods. 

We must challenge stereotypes of Black runners as dangerous, and keep taking up space! Why should we alter our movement for white comfort?

We have a quick favor to ask:

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