Black Runners Fear Violence On The Trail


For people of color, going outside for a jog, or any number of activities, can sometimes mean what one writer has called an “exhaustive mental checklist" to avoid a racist encounter, or even violence. 

Ahmaud Arbery, a 25 year-old black man, was out exercising in Brunswick, Georgia when he was followed by two white men in a truck with a shotgun, who said he resembled someone wanted for robbery. The two men in the truck, a father who was a former police officer, and his son, fatally shot Arbery. Arbery’s family’s attorney says the Justice Department is now investigating the shooting death as a hate crime.

Meanwhile in Minneapolis, four police officers have been fired after one of them knelt on the neck of a black man named George Floyd, who was pronounced dead at a hospital. And over the weekend another video emerged out of New York City, where a white woman named Amy Cooper called the police on a black man who was out bird watching, and had asked her to follow park rules and leash her dog. She has since apologized and lost her job, but it’s sadly the latest example of a person of color going about a seemingly banal activity, like birding, or jogging, that turns into something that is at best unpleasant, and at worst potentially deadly. 


Kurt Streeter, covers sports at The New York Times

Erik McDuffie, an avid runner and Associate Professor of African American Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 

Maria B. Stanfield, Ambassador for Black Girls Run Detroit

Helen Neville, Professor of Educational Psychology and African American Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, President-elect of the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race (which is a division of the American Psychological Association)