I crawled into a ball on my couch and cried.
A few days later, my son started our work by asking if we could take his preferred route. It passes through unmatched manicured areas of the surroundings. He felt different. It felt like running there now that there is a lot of way in the fish herds, out in the open, as if we were seeing objects.
No, I told him. “Some other time, I promise.” I could not bear it.
make no mistake, Running during black It doesn’t feel like a place like St. Louis on the streets of Seattle, where I went on a work trip last year and immediately felt that the racial tension was more thick and more pronounced. Nor is it like wooing the sidewalks of Fayetteville, NC, where Sonoia Sergeant leads a growing chapter of a nationwide support group Black girls run. When we spoke last week, Largent spoke of feeling racism in his community that was growing so close to a boil that he considered buying a small gun to keep in his training gear.
I don’t have that concern, but we live in America, and my son and I are now part of a movement. The number of black recreational joggers has increased during the epidemic, according to Sergeant and several other mobile organizers from across the country. One called it a boom. Everyone spoke of contradiction. We go out for health, a sense of freedom and happiness, even as a tribute to Erby – to claim our unequaled dignity with absolute vision. But we do battle a lot.
For me, this caution comes from personal history. My parents helped integrate the part of the city where I live started in the 1950s. He raised four sons here. We had many friends. And many neighbors are eager to show their hatred. During my grade school years in the 1970s, racial themes were regularly directed my way. I always had to be ready to fight.
The city is different now. Distantly wealthy, much less provincial. External racism is less common.
But Seattle is one of the largest major cities in the country, and is in a long field with white supremacists.
So as I run, I keep the present in mind and do not forget the past. I keep a watch on every street, every corner and front porch informing every person. All it takes is a call from someone who thinks I’m staring at the neighborhood, and suddenly I can be surrounded by police. Then what?
It is not just the concern of the people. Objects can become powerful symbols as much as Black Runner attests.