The Visual Episode:
Running While Black
More About This Episode
This is a special collaborative episode of The Run Wave podcast with Jay of fit health well podcast we’ll be discussing running wild black and the Ahmad Aubrey tragedy. Let’s get started.
Welcome back to another episode of the run wave and fit health well, podcast. Today we are doing a collaborative effort to talk about running while black.
And you know, we came up with this concept because of the wake of no tragic killing of a Ahmaud Arbery. And again, this is Jay Denson from fit health well, and we just wanted to do something as black runners and create a forum in a space to speak on the experiences that black borders are now facing as a result of this.
Yes, and I was so happy when you contacted me and You know, ask if we should do something because I was just, I mean, when the model every situation went down, you know, it really hit home because we are runners and we casually go out for jobs. That’s part of our daily routine. So this this, this tragedy is, which is what it is it really hit home for me and I was so happy when I got that dm for you to get together and work together and do this show.
Thank you for that. And yeah, definitely like, Well, you know, I’ve been following you for some time as well. And, you know, I felt that if there was ever a time for us to work together, this was actually the perfect topic for us to combine combine on both platforms, right, and being back runners, you know, advocates of just health and wellness or overall, what I wanted to do and what the goal of this specific episode was, is to come up collectively just have some collective minds come together and come up with some ideas right? Because do I We have black men in groups, we have black runners, and the black man myself, you know, I tend to operate in the world and defense mode. And what I mean by that is, you know, we get the stigma and women to black women, so of the angry black man or the angry black female, and, you know, it sounds even when we’re running and things like that, you know, one thing that’s always in the back of my mind is like, should I should I wear a hoodie? I live in Canada now, I moved from New York to Canada. And, you know, throughout the year, you know, it’s a little bit more cooler than it is there, you know, than it was back home. So, you know, again, like, these are things that, you know, I’m really sorry to say this, but like, our white counterparts don’t have to think about like, okay, you know, if I put down if I put my hoodie on because I’m cold, how would I be perceived going into the world? And, you know, without, you know, without myself just getting into the causes and the effects of why he died, you know, what I saw was a young black male alone. And that was that was jarring to me. You know, he was running, he was alone. And there are times that I’m running, and I’m alone, and no one knows the story. And no one in any neighborhood that’s not familiar with me know who I am as a person. And to be quite honest, and I’m gonna be really candid when I say this though. I don’t feel like outside of law enforcement. I don’t feel like I should stop for any white person with a gun, or any white person who tells me to stop.
I think we all will feel that way especially growing up in the north, because that’s just not a norm here. You know, we there’s no I mean, we can have gun permits and have a weapon but there’s no right to carry in New York City in New York period. So that’s, that’s something foreign to us. You know, just seeing people walking around with shotguns. I’m seeing this on CNN and it’s just like crazy because that is not our normal here. It’s, it’s, it’s really out of sight out of mind for us. But when we decided to do this collaborative effort, we put out a call to on our social channels. To on Instagram, Facebook, etc. And this is going to be a new type of format for us, we’re going to have some voicemails that will listen to, we’re going to have one on one interviews with runners. And we’re also going to have a roundtable discussion with other podcast hosts, which we’ll introduce to you all later on. So, first we will get into user submitted voice notes. So first up, I’m going to play a voicemail from Les runs. He is a New York City based runner and he just wanted to send in his thoughts and feelings on what it’s like running wild black, so I’m going to go ahead and cue that up.
Hello, everyone. My name is Les. I’m a black male. And these are my views and only my views of running wild black. I currently reside in New York City. And running while black is interesting. It’s fun. It’s awesome. It’s also dangerous. It’s also scary. It’s also just a burst of energy. There are many, many feelings that occur when you’re a black man running in the streets of New York City. When it comes to me running in an urban neighborhood that I’m familiar with a culturally diverse neighborhood in any borough, I felt great. You know, I get smiles, get waves. I’m locked in. I don’t have to really look over my shoulder too much. I mean, this is New York City. So once in a while, or you know, you might get a couple crazy hecklers, which I tend to ignore because, you know, it’s not gonna end well or it’s just not that energy’s not just good. It’s not good for run at all. So I don’t even entertain hecklers or Cat callers or whatever you want to call them, is just negative energy. And that’s not the energy I look for when I go on a run. Because most of the time, you know, I’m either training for something or I’m trying to meditate on thinking I’m like, in deep thoughts. So, but yeah, running, you know, as a black male in New York City in culturally diverse urban neighborhoods or even suburban neighborhoods cynical to diverse, I feel safe, I feel good. But when it comes to running and predominantly white neighborhoods in New York City, I tend to look over my shoulder a lot. I get all types of glares at times. I mean, this is clearly not on every single run, but there are days where like, I just keep running, I don’t stop because, you know, if you stopped and you end up engaging in like a verbal discussion or verbal conversation. And then it could either go two ways, you know, it could, it could be a mutual understanding, or it could be a way where authorities are involved or could get physical. So I tend not to engage in any of that when I’m running in predominantly white neighborhoods, I do think about, you know, just minding my business and making sure that I’m safe. So, you know, I tend to clearly look over my shoulder and I tend to just be more observant of the road of whether I’m on the sidewalk or if I’m on the street, cuz it could, you know, could go any way and these are just things that happen when you’re running wild black in New York City and predominantly white neighborhoods, whether I’m in an urban neighborhoods are a suburban neighborhood that’s predominantly white. Just this is just how I Phil, but, you know, I’m working towards trying to understand and help change that narrative. Because no matter what happens, I’m still running in the streets. I’m still gonna run in urban neighborhoods. I’m still gonna run in suburban neighborhoods. And I just, you know, I’m training for life.
That is a good one training for life. So what what was your take to do you? Did you have that feeling as well like running the streets in New York City?
Absolutely. So, um, you know, when what stood out to me was when he said when he’s in culturally diverse neighborhoods, right. And, you know, that’s telling because with myself, you know, I grew up in a browser born in Brooklyn, Kings County Hospital, and you know, whether it was Brooklyn or the Bronx, which was predominantly Hispanic and black. So, you know, I just grew up around just people that were minorities. Rather, and you know, I’ve never felt safe weather. I mean, I’ve never felt unsafe operating in those circles when I was, you know, just going to the store running when I took up running, you know, they were it was very encouraging but you know, again like when I started running up states and the trails and you know, there was always kind of just this feeling of like, Okay, I need to be cautious now right when I stepped outside, and it’s something that I’m pretty sure a lot of, you know, black people can identify with. This isn’t on running. But this was something that if you guys can look this up, and what you’ll hear today from me on now this which is a democratic video site, on there was a truck driver delivering. He was delivering goods to a gated community. And when he delivered it, he received the door the door. Inside the gated community, there’s a key code so he received it from the person he needed to deliver it. So he was prevented from leaving because the president of neighborhood watches committee wouldn’t wouldn’t allow him to leave. Now I say that to say this again because he’s a person of color he was stopped. And this happens constantly, whether it’s, you know, a delivery or whether you’re going to see a friend or running. And you know, the reality of the situation is when we when we speak about white counterparts, you know, they operate and they move freely through the world with no question no question whatsoever and it’s just almost like okay, our pigmentation is a preconceived notion of trouble you know, and you know, we we just have to watch her tone or we have to you know, not be in a space too long you look at Starbucks and what happened to the young men waiting for their tutors that happened here so you know, again identify with that so much with with with Carlos and I’m even making a move to Canada here even though the comment isn’t, I feel like they really aren’t and I’m thankful for this. They aren’t as culturally Culturally divided as they are in the States, but I do, I do have a raised level of awareness.
Yeah. And I’ve run with Les. We’re both in the Adidas runners community, he’s a crew runner. And we run through a lot of culturally diverse neighborhoods, but you know, New York City goes, you can run for 20 blocks, and it’ll be predominantly white, you get up into the, you know, the one 10th 120s and neighborhood starts to change. So, you know, it’s interesting running in New York City because we are more free and open when we’re in communities of our own but when when those neighborhoods change, you know, we move a little bit differently and, you know, we’re just a little cautious and more aware of our surroundings because running while black is just it’s different and we have to acclimate to our surroundings and move accordingly. So we have another voice note, from a Georgia. Based runner Gk Smith he is really active in Atlanta running community. That’s how I met him. But he lives in Decatur, Decatur, Georgia, which is about seven miles I believe outside of Atlanta, so it’s pretty close. So he has an actually a pretty interesting story to tell. So I am just going to play his audio.
G.K. Smith 12:28
while running, a pickup truck with three occupants attempted to run me off the road. When I reported to the police department, I was asked by the officer did I remember the plate.
My response to the officer
was I was fleeing for my life and therefore did not look at the license plate.
Since that day, I run armed.
Now, Gk is in Georgia, the same state where the Ahmad or every tragedy has happened. And he was out for a normal run. And he was run off the road by a pickup truck. I don’t know who is paying attention to license plates when they’re running and someone is trying to, you know, kill them trying to run them off the road. So, you know, when he told me that story, I was just, I was shocked because when you think of that part of Georgia, you don’t think those types of things would happen. And for him to now have to run armed carrying a weapon is I mean, it was eye opening for me. I mean, my parents moved to Georgia about four years ago. And the first thing that they did was get licensed to carry, which which blew my mind because my mother You know, she’s like a 60 something woman and she grew up in New York City her entire life. She’s never owned a weapon ever but she moves Georgia, and the first thing she did was become a registered gun owner and she has a license to carry, which is is crazy to me. But
isn’t that something else is just added to that, right? Because I grew up in the South Bronx. Right? So Washington projects are pretty much a large part of my life, you know, had had family members that were in gangs and have friends that were in games, never, ever, ever have ever felt the need to get a gun. Right? You know, again, because I wasn’t involved in that type of life. But however, you know, that environment to most they would say, oh, man, it’s dangerous. And, you know, you see the news stories of Southside Chicago and things like that. But what does it say when you leave New York,
right or a place where of
you know, whether they deem it high crime and you go buy a gun for essentially, I’m just gonna say it for white people, right because he
lives in the suburbs, it’s not like she’s in the hood. Exactly right. in the suburbs,
you’re because now what the process as I’m processing this, it says if you I’m saying, I’m thinking about Trayvon Martin I think about him armory, and I say, Okay, well, now I need a weapon to defend myself, because what happens if I’m out for a run by myself? And I’m not and then you know, then while I’m dead, everyone’s debating whether it’s my fault or not. Right? And it’s just yeah, that’s just something that just stood out to me you know, as I listen to that audio and you commented in that into that is, hey, look, you know, you live in a in a community, your time with people that look like you in there is violence, and that’s true, but right now I’m going to move to the suburbs where there are white people and they’re just afraid of us. And I don’t think we’re not afraid of them because I’m not afraid of any occasion me or anybody for that matter, however, but you’re it’s coming from Mr. Frame office. Carry
okay. So we are going to bring in our first guest of the show. His name is Carlos Patterson. He is a New York City based runner. And I will let Carlos tell you a little bit about himself when he comes on. So let’s bring on Carlos. Please welcome Carlos Patterson to the show. Like I said, Carlos is a New York City area based runner. Yes. And I will let you tell the audience a little bit about yourself.
I’m grew up a competitive swimmer, which moved me into triathlons. Did about eight triathlons took some time off business kids. guys know how it is. So I took like 10 years off and one To jump back into triathlons and work on my second strongest, which was running, and kind of got tied up with the running and trying to accomplish my, you know, the majors, so, four out of six, and was on schedule to finish last two this year, Tokyo in Boston and Tokyo got canceled and Boston is postponed until September 14. And we know you know, that’s kind of opened a So
yeah, that’s a little bit about myself. And I’m also a life coach.
Unknown Speaker 17:46
That’s awesome. So when the whole Ahmad Aubrey tragedy happened, how did that affect you and your family and how did that Make you feel and affect how you’re, you’re moving now with your running.
my family’s reaction have affected me a lot.
As soon as it happened, sadly, I had the video sent to me by my son as 13 years old. So, prior to this, his his introduction into the real world was when Trayvon Martin was killed, and I had to have that talk that a black father has with a son.
That even though you’re in the right,
how you have to
you have to take it easy, at least to I get there. And what’s a tough introduction because I believe in allowing kids to be kids for as long as they can be. But when he sent me this, this video of a moto rb, it really hit close to home because it’s not that the brother was just, you know, he was just a runner. But it reminded me that this is a black thing that’s becoming more and more prevalent and easy to swallow for America because, you know, the political climate that we’re in right now. That is allowing these racial undertones that have built this country to now pull themselves to the forefront and and be comfortable in the way they move and the way they react.
oh, that that was very, very hurtful I think will hurt me even more, and that is that this happened two months ago. And these guys haven’t even left the country. I tried to flee the bonus of just hanging
out both Yeah,
they just have a breakfast and dinner. Anna and you know is all with life? And I’m like,
No, at some point, just studying history, you know, as a people
when you feel like the the the system that you believe in that you’re trying to give some hope, some altitude to it’s not working for you then what happens? I mean, we all know what happens. And I think us as a people
because I’m black all the time I’m running some time.
So Exactly. You know, I think, you know, this is as I’ve been saying is is a human rights issue. You know, this is not a civil rights issue. This is a human rights issue. When you feel you can take a life and, and that’s it. You know, I see people up in arms when something happens To a dog I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. So there are quite a few dogs around here.
And I’m always having
I’m always having to educate individuals that, you know, they have their dog leash halfway across the sidewalk. And we try to share the sidewalk, and, you know, have to educate them on do I suppose to stop? Why you and your dog figure out, you know, the sidewalk situation? And, you know, just just common courtesy. So, you know, to me certain things as a human issue. We’re trying to, you know, share this earth. And if this is how we’re reacting, I want to leave this for a little better for my kids. And what am I gonna say, How do I explain this? You know, how do we as people in this day and time 2020 How do we as people, you know, explain this. I just did 15.5 Mouth today with the group individuals and, you know, we did our social distancing and things like that, but I must tell you, when I do run, my family’s reaction was like, make sure you hit somebody. So those early runs those late rounds that I normally do because I’m putting in mileage, and just you know, running as me zoning out that’s my, that’s my free space right there. That’s to even though I have to deal with racism and this and the struggles I have in the business and all these other things, I don’t have to deal with it at that moment. And now to hear that this happened, you know, all this extra pressure to ensure my family that I’m gonna be okay. Each time I leave this house to go work out to stay healthy.
Is is very alarming.
And you know, to see my my son a little little unnerved by me going out and you know they already uncomfortable when I lead a country and do these races and stuff like that and I’ve always traveled but now for this to happen at home
where do we go from here?
And I have a 13 year old son as well and I you know, he doesn’t understand when I tell him that you can’t be going out because he walks to school we live about a half a mile from his school so he walks to school and during the winter it’s it’s dark when he leaves the house and he wears a hoodie that’s all kids wear these days are hoodies like they live and die by the hoodie. I don’t get it. But he doesn’t understand like I explained the whole Trayvon Martin situation to him, you know, why you need to be more aware of your surroundings. And you know, put a hat on you don’t have to wear your hood to walk to school and just sometimes it’s hard to explain to these teenagers, you know, the right that it’s not exactly the wrong thing to do, but you just need to move differently to keep yourself safe. And I found it hard as well to show I haven’t shown him that video yet. And luckily, he hasn’t come across it on. He’s not big on the internet. So he hasn’t come across it yet. But, you know, he comes in and he watches the news with me. I’m on CNN every night watching Cuomo and lemon, you know, talk about this situation. And he asked me, you know, why was this kid shot? What did he do to deserve this? And, you know, as a parent, I just find it hard to explain to have absolutely the situation because being in New York, I mean, we deal with this, but we don’t deal with it like that. You know, so, you know, Jay, what do you think
he called it? I mean, you know, again, like it’s us, operating in a bubble and preparing, you know, the next generation right, as both of you guys mentioned on your children have How to Dress, Watch your tone. Um, you know, watch what Watch where you’re going, make sure you have someone with you. It’s we are, you know, as black men and women, you know, we operate in a bubble and in defense mode, and it’s something quite honestly, that our white counterparts don’t have to deal with. They don’t think about them, right? They don’t think about their kids, you know, when you go to school today, you know, make sure you don’t have your hoodie on, you know, make sure you don’t have the wrong colors, and you’re in the wrong neighborhood and things like that. And, um, Carlos wanted to ask you as well, too, because, you know, these were text messages that I got on once Omar got killed, you know, what are your thoughts when you know, you, I got text messages saying, BJ, be careful, you know, um, you know, just make sure you’re safe and Call me when you get back. And, you know, you get these messages and stuff like that, and what are your thoughts when we have to move to society like this?
It’s upsetting, you know?
40, 41 years old. And I grew up in Brooklyn, born in North Carolina, and I spent many summers in North Carolina. So when you grow up in an 80s 90s, Brooklyn, and you make it through that Flatbush and best way it was a lot of gangs and so on and so forth. And, you know, you you lived at a time where you know, you do what you have to do to make sure you you get through life. And to see that this is here, that this is present, the worry about me at 41 years old, you know, running, staying healthy. I mean, this is like at some point in your life. You know, I went away to college, and it was sad. But even you know, going away to college, just leaving Brooklyn making it out of Brooklyn. I felt I was successful. Mm hmm. I I went to sixth funerals, my senior and Joanie, between those two, have friends that are new. And just making it away to college. I felt just successful to just make it out. Now that this is happening here, and like I said, I was born in North Carolina, where you, you know, you make two rights on the left. And you see Dixie flags everywhere. It’s claims meetings. And there was, you know, at times words being exchanged, you know, and there’s one thing that, you know, I must say I appreciate about the south, is, you know, you’re not inviting me to dinner and I’m not inviting you to dinner. So there’s, there’s an understanding of expression of freedom of speech and point of view. We’re here in New York and the North. You can work with these people every day. You really don’t know their point of view on things until my son Try to marry your daughter. Yeah, hello, or something like this happen. And we see a blanket of silence, where if something was happening to a pet, who here outcry of support? But you know, this has become an all too often, you know, I’m losing hope in the politicians. I’m very involved in communities I hit town hall meetings. You know, I have a very lengthy real estate investor background. So I’m very active in the community and trying to educate people of color. You know, that worked so hard to get these mortgages in these homes, how to keep their homes and how to keep what they built here. So, you know, just to see this happening, it is disheartening, it makes me angry. And a lot of the frustration is because the loss of hope and The system
you know, don’t support you, but you’re always hopeful that we’re getting better. You know, that’s the thing. If you feel like we went so far, I felt like we were so far back with this. And it’s just constantly constantly happening when no convictions. There. Absolutely. I don’t know what I mean, even before Trayvon, there has not been one conviction. And there are at least in the United States, on large, at least seven to 10 of these murders happening, you know, back
and we don’t know about because they don’t make national news.
Yes, absolutely. This one was about to get swept under the rug. So you know, it’s just, you know, at some point, you know, where do we go, I can’t worry about what they gonna do, but us as black people, what do we do? You know, and I’ve been looking for optimistic passive approach because I am a parent. But at this point, if I if something drastic, then I’m going to be parents to who? You know, it’s like, what have I done for my kids?
And you know, what’s a bring up you you brought up the how people. White people get outraged when things happen against animals. You know when I was talking to my coworker weekly check in my white older coworker, yes. And, you know, she asked me, How did I feel about the mod or the situation and I don’t like to get into these discussions with them because it’s just, it’s not gonna end well. And you know, that the first thing she brought up was, well, Michael Vick did this. Like, what does that have to do with this? What does it have to do with this? These two men shot and murdered a young black male that was alpha job. What does michael vick fighting animals Fighting having animals fight have to do with this man losing his life. And you know, that’s where I just have to end the conversation because it’s sometimes there’s just no point in going back and forth with certain people because they they just don’t get it. They don’t get what it’s like black America, man accident briefly can run run tours in Paris and the owner
had blackface, right? His mother was happy mother’s day now to blackface. And in terms of the context, I learned about this photo, online, so when I saw the photo, I said, Okay, you know, what, we need to raise awareness because us as black people, where we are so supportive of everyone else, that you know, your decision is whether you want to support it or not, but I need to raise awareness to this so I posted it. And speaking to Kim’s point on Facebook, because it was it was it was the little bit of drama did play out on Instagram, because the director was the owner But there was a conversation on Facebook and the cardboard Oh, two photos of the two arm.
I still have that.
Right? And he’s like white girls, and it was the other one a Dave Chappelle skit where he did.
Yeah, I saw that.
And how was that? You know, first off, how is that relevant? Like you’re making a point from two fictional characters. And the point I made to him was, I didn’t No one said that. That was okay. However, like, that’s not a comparison to have to have blackface, which has been going on since the early 1900s. And prior to that, and like we just Kim said, You know, I tend to, I see it, I’ll probably make one comment to the most to kind of drive the point home and I’m moving on, right because this this this is and this is another reason why I’m glad you participated in this and had this collectively is because when we have discussions outside of black people in our community, they don’t get it. A lot of times, right? They don’t understand they don’t get why a lot of these things are offensive to us. And they don’t get why we have to move the way that we move through life. And then when you’ve seen it, you’ve seen it happen to Trayvon Trayvon Martin, and you see it happen. And so I’m on robbery. Now. These guys aren’t on trial in their deaths, right? It’s like new videos coming out. Well, what was he doing in the house? It doesn’t matter. Like nothing. It doesn’t matter and what bothers me the most. And as I talk to, you know, running groups of black men, particularly is that what’s good in Carlos, you didn’t hear this when I had the conversation. I’m not sure with Kim was I just saw a young black male alone by himself. Because if it was two or three black men with him, it would have been different. Absolutely.
Absolutely. And totally different. You know, we’re at a place right now to where, like I said, you know, we’re at a crossroads. And it just so happened that, you know, I’ve, I’ve said, through this quarantine time that we’re in with this whole COVID you know, thing that we’re dealing with, it’s gonna bring a lot of things in the dark to the light, both within within ourselves. And I’m having a lot of economic discussions with other business leaders. And I actually even jumped on a Harvard economic a conference call and economist and everyone is just saying, you know, America just need to basically economically repent and go through this recession, and deal with the hardships so that we can be in a better place. But in saying that, it just feels like you know, everything is coming to the light and issues that we’ve been sweeping under the rug for far too long. You know, I, I tell people straight up, you know, I have white counterparts, white friends, and it’s that, I don’t believe, you know, I treat a child like a child an adult like an adult. So I don’t believe If you don’t get it, because you do get it if you needed to switch places with me because you will say no. Exactly. So that lets me know you get it, you get it, but you want to stay in your world. And that’s every human being, you know a life coach and we always want to do what’s comfortable. You know, when people ask me, they’ll ask Hi, you know how you did something and speak you know, that they thought was amazing, you know anyone else? It’s a mindset, but you put yourself in a position to where people naturally don’t want to be uncomfortable. That’s just a natural human quality. And when they’re felt that they’re uncomfortable. For example, these individuals that are you know that they have guns that I don’t even know why any citizen should have because what are you going to hunt
assault rifles, assault.
rifles you know i mean that that to again you got the NRA which is linked to white supremacy How do we know because we can have mass shootings in Canada Canada can change laws but we refuse to change laws because the lobbyists from the NRA and all these other Federation’s will not alter that amendment in no form of fashion is putting a lot of these senators and congressmen kids through college is paying for that second home that vacation home. And there’s not they’re not budging on this subject. You know, it doesn’t matter how many mass shootings but there’s no reason why you have individuals comparing them being quarantined for their safety. And for those individuals that are putting their life on the line, they’re able to with hatred, you got to freedom of speech. Why gotta be hatred? Yeah, so why why you gotta have an assault rifle. I just saw an individual with a weapon. That was not supposed to be bearing arms. I believe it was in Michigan somewhere. And that was the nicest apprehension of any cops that would a person with the gun. He had a gun. And he didn’t know that in this state. I guess he must have came there for the rally that he was not supposed to be showing his weapon. So they will put any with open, carry and open carry in and they took the longest to arrest this guy asking them questions. They basically lay him on the ground with a pillow. I’ve never seen anything like this. And then I see that a white man Oh, come on. Do you do you attack me?
Are you serious and make sure
but on the flip side, I receive a video of a child being punched in the face and arrested because they’re not wearing a mask. In New York, I’ve seen four to five videos of young black Men, and one black woman being beat for not wearing a mass.
Did you see the one in the train station? Oh, yeah. With her daughter, yes. With her, I just recently saw her down and her daughter, I could not believe it.
And see, this is the thing for people this this is this is America, reminding black people that we have no emotional connection to your story. Because you see it on the media, you see something happen to a child, and the media will immediately go to that black mom and asks her What are your feelings as if she is disconnected from this experience? When you see this, and another light, rather as a white person or any other person, you know, you don’t even see anything of that nature. So the emotional connection that America has with black people, there’s been a disconnection for far. To law, you know, to them, it’s just like, this is something that happens all the time. So we must take it upon ourselves and be responsible and be the change. We want to see if we want to see a change a shift that we need to make a shift. And we need to make the shift where people pay attention. And that’s an eight pockets.
And with that, I want to thank Carlos for being on the show like you guys, and I love your background Be the change you wish to see in the world. Yeah, yeah. Thank you. That is, what is that? That is awesome canvas that I have on my wall that I had made for me. That is amazing. When I wake up, it’s just it just gets me started. There’s so many good quotes. Just good words on there. Hope failure. Yeah, you know, and, yeah, I just want to thank you for being on the show. You’re always a wealth of information and knowledge and you just, you know, such a positive person and, you know, always good to be around. So thank you so much for lending your voice
person and, you know, always good to be around. So thank you so much for lending your voice
connected as well on Instagram. let’s not let’s not let this compensation in here Absolutely. Episode, um, you know, we need to unify and be together. So if there’s anything I can ever do for you in terms of sharing our platform and we come up with something collectively as a group, or us solution and things like that, you know, I’m certainly here. I’m certainly here for you. Okay, sounds like a plan.
And I’m gonna accomplish this. I’m leaving an Instagram so everyone can follow you on there.
Sure. It is Carlos Patterson, 718. You can find me Follow me. Like I said, a life coach. And I’m here
to help. Where’s needed?
I said, let’s put the mouths together.
All right, Carlos. Thank you so much. You guys I appreciate it. Have a blessed day. Okay, you too okay thank you
okay guys so next up we have James Ravenell now and Davon Culley of black runners connection Welcome gentlemen to the show. Thank you.
Thank you glad to be here.
Thanks for being on how are you guys
doing all right what’s up?
Yeah doing okay good
reached out to you guys because you know again as black runners and you guys have started your black printing group um you know we there’s a climate right now in the wake of the Ahmaud Arbery killing is that as I describe it, and you know we just wanted to create a space in the forum for black foreigners just getting their thoughts collectively. So what I wanted to start with first of all is you know, when you first heard whether you seen the video you heard about it, what were your initial feelings?
Well, I know I first heard about I don’t remember the timeline because it all lens after a while, but I had heard about the killing before the video came out. When I heard about a kid being shot running is just like a certain radar that goes off immediately. So when you hear that black man was shot by a couple of white guys, it automatically sounds suspicious, at least for me. And for a lot of black people that sounds suspicious from jazz details come out. And you know, you start to hear what happened. It just sounds like okay, here Here we go again, you know, we have another one. And then I know for me personally, I had I had read the part where they said that there was video showed that he was trespassing or trying to stealing I think the first time I heard about it said there was video stealing or something like that. And I remember my first thought was, okay, well if that’s true, where’s the video? You know, because, you know, they’re, they do what they normally do in these situations. They go back in a person’s history and nothing previous incidence describes what the person, you know, to try to slander the person. So they did all that. So I was just wondering, where was the video, so then when this video came out of him running, and then you see what happened, when he was actually murdered, you go through all the emotions, you’re angry, you’re sad, you know, as a parent, you always think about, you know, what the parents must be going through losing their kids, you know, as a runner, like we’re discussing here as a black runner, you know, that’s probably in a lot of ways, our worst nightmare of something like that happening to us. And, you know, that’s something most of us think about in the back of our minds that it’s a possibility. So, it just, he definitely cover all of the, the range of emotions and it’s just very upsetting and it still is, it’s not one of those things that you just kind of get over. You know, it kind of lingers with you.
I heard about the murder. I was reading an article from Blavatnik I was reading the article and I was just astounded. And I shared the link to my Facebook page with a caption. Why is this man dead? Because feel surreal that someone who is clearly out that carrying anything that they allege was just one thing that millions of people do every day, every single day, gait or mental release from, you know, the day to day the, the stresses of their of the day he can even do that. You know, I think about how many songs have songs especially talking about seeing 25 and feeling like you made it here. This young man is 25 and a couple of months before he could even get out of that age. He’s gone down doing something that is just a routine thing and not just gone down. I mean, he was hunted, cornered and gone down fighting for his life. gunned down, this head is hit home in a way that has never affected me in the past. And one of the things that always gets me is when you hear the dialogue start unarmed black man, you already know what’s coming behind that. You already know. The tragedy that comes along with that is hard. I just came in from a run. It’s hard keeping it together, thinking about him, thinking about what he faced, in broad daylight, no less.
We got to understand it
does happen around 1pm this is broad daylight, the audacity of the people who murdered him to just not care, you know, and and broad daylight like he met it’s so that it’s literal to them
that they would just Take his life that way, and feel justified in doing so. And clearly
the local government there, because of their inaction
complicit because they made no actions to even arrest these men. No charges were brought.
And if like Davon said, if you have video
I mean, once I saw the video I, I didn’t see it until after like the second interview that I had about this case, and I just could not believe it. Exactly.
The one I want to ask you a question as well, regarding this issue is, you know, we, as black people, men and women, you know, we we move through the world in a bubble and what I mean by that and then defense mode is, you know, I moved from New York to Canada. Right, and I have to shut up. If I’m cold, should I put my hoodie on? Right? Or what neighborhood Should I go to? And these are things that just go to my mom should my tone, right? Even whether it’s an encounter with a Caucasian citizen, right, or law enforcement, when this happened, what were your feelings? Or do you change your way of life or the way that you do things? Did you have a certain level of awareness now because it is, um,
me personally, not really, because I think my awareness is the same. Because I think in a lot of ways, this just confirms what I already know. And confirmed my experience, you know, um, you know, the, you know, I know, I would assume, and that’s an assumption for me, in Canada, so I could assume that maybe some of your day to day experiences might be a little different because Canada is a different country, but you know, I’m 47 I’ve lived my entire life here in the United States, most of it in New York City. I went to college in North Carolina for a little while, but I’ve been here my entire life and, you know, the experiences of being black. The stories I tell, aren’t that much different from the stories my mother tells. Or you know, if you listen to my odds, the stories they tell and if you go back, a lot of our stories are similar times may change, but just the attitudes towards us and the way people look at us and the way people think about us, it’s kind of the same, and it hasn’t really changed. So, you know, to me, you kind of have to make a decision on who you are, and how you’re going to live your life. I try to be myself and be as comfortable with myself as I can. So if I feel like wearing a hoodie when I go outside, I will if I feel like putting it on, I’ll put it on. That doesn’t mean I’m not aware, I’m always aware of when I’m in a space of people who don’t look like me. And I’m always aware of the possibility of how I might be, what their perceptions of me may be. Um, sometimes it’s positive sometimes it’s not a lot of it, I have no control over. So I think for me, that’s why I try not to worry about it too much. Because then if you start to worry about all the things that could possibly happen, I think sometimes that that can really stifle you and prevent you from living your life but by the same token, you have to be very you have to be very, very careful. Like I give you an example like for me now, with everything going on with this Coronavirus. I only run at night now, because over here by me, I live in Long Island City. There’s just a lot Have people out, especially during the day, and I’m not comfortable running with a bunch of people out like that. So I generally run now at night so I’ll run at 10 I’ll run out 11 sometimes I’ve gone out on after midnight, and I’ll go get my miles and then where the streets are pretty empty. So I don’t have to worry about encountering people but however, I will be totally lying if I said okay, I have to think about all it takes is one person to see me as a black person with you know, my befallen covering up part of my face on some people may consider that a threat and they may think I’m up to no good. And you know, all it takes is one person and one phone call to the police. And the situation can go left immediately. I’m with not because of anything I’ve done, all I’m doing is just going out running. Um, I know that is a possibility. And I think for most of us, as minorities, we know that’s a possibility. And that’s the scary part is that it’s really not in our control. It’s somebody else’s issues and somebody else’s perceptions, but it’s still something we have to deal with. So I try to stay for the most part in areas that I feel I’m familiar with, and that I’m comfortable with. Um, that still doesn’t mean that something can’t go left in something might not go wrong, but I’m just have the mindset that I’m going to try to do the things I want to do. I’m going to try to do them safely. Because, you know, I don’t want my girlfriend to worry, I don’t want my sister to worry. I don’t want them to panic. But for me, I’m just not going to live in fear. But you still have to be smart like you know, even all these years later, I’m not going for a run in life. Howard Petia someplace. That’s no matter what I’m not do that but, you know, you just have to try to do try to do the best try to do the best you can but awareness of my blackness is always there no matter where I’m at. It’s it’s always there. And I think it always has to be there.
Now you two are our founders of one of the largest active black running groups on Facebook black runners connection. So what is the vibe in your group? Because I know last week, we all did a run on a mom’s birthday, we ran 2.23 miles. And, you know, I feel every time I go out for a run once I hit 2.23 I take a picture of my watch. It’s like on my mind every time I run since this happened, so what’s the climate in your group like right now?
Um, I think a lot of people are definitely similar to you cam. I think a lot of people are definitely a very been affected by it? And they’re definitely aware of it. There’s definitely been a lot of chatter. There’s a lot of consistent chatter about him and about the case. You know, we try to sometimes limit, you know, limit conversations that’s just not specifically about money. You know, because things can go bass can go left in social media real quick. So we try to limit that. But I think this case, I think we’ve allowed people to talk about a lot of things with his case, because as black people and as runners, it’s good enough. And I think a lot of times people need a space to be able to talk about it and work through some of their feelings. And you know, with social media, we all have friends of different genders and different races and different beliefs and sometimes you may Not necessarily be comfortable expressing certain things about how you feel on your page, because you may not necessarily want to offend or upset or invite other people to comment. And some of those comments may not be exactly what you want to hear. Um, so I think we try to allow people the space to work through some things. Again, I will say that, I will also say it doesn’t mean you can just come in and say, you know, we’re not just gonna let people come in and just, you know, just start ranting and start going and hate speech and all that other stuff. We’re not going to do that. But I think we have to allow people or we feel like we want to give people and the members of our group a space to discuss it. And part of that conversation is running and part of it’s not running but just like we’re having here. It delves into other things about running at night and running with mass and running with people who don’t look like you and a lot of people are sharing stories that they had were people of other races have encounters, they’ve had negative encounters that they had. So I think it’s important for us to be able to discuss this stuff and get it out. So people know that they’re not alone in some of their thoughts and feelings and experiences. And we can all kind of speak to each other about how to deal with it, and how to progress going forward in this after the effects of what’s happened to this man.
So we had Gk Smith, and so you guys know what Gk is? Yes. So, yeah, I had a conversation with him. And he sent us over some audio and he told us how he was actually run off of the road in Georgia while out for a run in Decatur, and how now he runs with, you know, he runs armed. So I know the climate is different. We’re in the north there, you know, down south, but do you guys have any suggestions for black runners To be safe while running and anything that they can do, no matter where they are just to, you know, protect themselves while out on a run.
Well, you know, each area of the country, you’re going to have different types of potential threats. I don’t know there’s a, there’s one answer for that. But what I could say is on a baseline, I think it’s important that you are always aware of your surroundings. You out which also means being aware of your own blackness. Because, unfortunately, through no fault of our own, our blackness is looked at as a weapon to other people. It is looked at as a threat to other people, people that we have done nothing to. Right. And so being aware of that being aware of your surroundings, being just general Be self aware and you know, putting yourself in a position where you can go out and successfully get back home. And so what does that mean? Right? You know, if you if you are a runner in a city where there are a lot of other runners maybe you need to stick to those those routes maybe you need to change the times that you’re running maybe you need to have some type of buddy system so that you know you’re not alone but you’re also able to socially distance yourself from other people. You know, in New York, you know, this this there’s no opportunity for us to run armed doesn’t mean that we don’t feel the same type of threat from people you know. You know, I guess it’s a little different in New York. If you’re if someone’s trying to run you off the road is not always because of your blackness. It’s just, you know, a lot of people they got nowhere to go But you know it, and I honestly sometimes I have to laugh about this stuff to keep from crying about this stuff. Because we have to make so many decisions just to go for a freakin run. I wear bright colors, y’all know me, y’all, you know you see me in any? Yeah, right? Always have bright colored tights, um, bright shirt bright, just, I play the role of a runner when I’m out running so that people know that I’m just a runner out running.
So, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to cut you off. You brought up something that I actually wanted to ask you when you said the buddy system, right? Because the first thing that stood out to me was when I saw the video was this is a young black man alone. Right? And I honestly feel that if he had another black man, two or three black men with him that Seminerio with a change differently. So as it applies to black runners connection, your running group is a buddy system, something that you guys are thinking about implementing.
Well, I think it would be rather difficult to do that. And, you know, earlier today, just before we came on, I posted a welcome message to the influx of runners that we’re getting from South Africa. Okay, so we are an international group. We literally have runners all over the world. And it’s, it’s, it’s beautiful. It’s a blessing. But because of the type of group that we are, that also means that it’s difficult for us to provide an environment where people are able to just simply buddy up. What you know, right now we have about 70 close to 7500 members. We’ve tried it was the one One time I we created a hashtag BRC buddy, right to try to get people to match up, you know, in their own cities.
I think if we had tools that we could make available
there, there are no that really exist on Facebook’s platform right now. You know, and that’s primarily where our folks come in. If we could, you know, maybe at some point if we decided to have like a, an actual website, and then maybe we can come up with a school that will allow people to, one maintain their privacy, but also be able to match up with some other buddies that that could be an idea, but as of right now, it’s kind of difficult to manage that. And I think, I think if you talk to some of the other larger groups,
you know, I mean, unless you have and they’ve come up with a great idea, please share with us. You know,
maybe we need to come up with an app.
Yeah, that’s that’s what I’m thinking I’ve thought about about that in the past, you know, I gotta get my coding skills up a little bit.
But But definitely, I literally have thought about some system where we’re able to to match, match runners, no matter where you are, no matter what city you’re in, and and say, Hey, I’m going for a run around this time, you know, is anyone else available?
hard though, because I run a lot alone because when you run with people, the social aspect comes into play and you’re, you know, you’re out there longer than you intended to be. So sometimes it’s easier just to go at it alone. But, you know, it’s definitely beneficial to have a buddy just for safety if you can, but it is hard. It is
Something like a buddy system and the way that we’re speaking of it is one of those things that, you know, it’s better to kind of have it available and not need it. Then right now, where it seems like we kind of need it, but we don’t have it. Right. Yeah. You know, no one would be obviously no one would be forced to use it. But if they needed a resource for that, to have a buddy, it would be nice to be able to provide that for folks. I don’t really know right now what the answer is for that. But I just want to take a step back for a second and say that in this Puckett, particular case with a mod, I honestly do not believe that he would have been safer with a buddy. I think it is more likely that violence would have escalated even sooner, because they would have looked at looked at him as being part of a gang or mob just because of the way that we are viewed and I it’s sad that it’s bad enough that he’s one person out there running and and looks like a villain to these men. But can you imagine that? You know, they talked about him stopping and looking at a construction site? Can you imagine if three or four magic deer Mr. New York City going over there?
I was gonna mention them too. It’s funny you say that?
Yeah. Right. Because they have a no man left behind when they do their group runs. You imagine all of them stopping to look at this house. The report is now Oh, there’s a gang of blacks looking at some house. I think they’re robbing it.
Let’s just keep it real, you know?
So, I don’t right now. I don’t know what we can do to
to vilify if that’s a word,
our blackness to people who are not us.
But I think, you know, I talked, I’ve been talking about
you know, activism. And, you know, I’ve, I’ve never been the type to speak out like this, but this is just too close to home. You know, it’s unfortunate that this is the thing that’s, you know, making me kind of wake up. But something is gone is going to change. I don’t know what that is just yet. But I feel the calling to action and activism around
us being vilified, for no reason.
Thank you, divine. Thank you, Jane for coming on here and sharing this. You know, this is much needed. We wanted to create a space for us right to have this discussion because you know again we have friends that are yeah our white counterparts as well that we associate in the labs but you know, we get it right and then having this discussion is very very helpful. So before we get out of here, I want you guys to share your social media Instagram but whenever you need so if anyone’s interested in joining your group they can do so and we’ll start with you James.
Okay, so if people want to, you know, connect with us, our Instagram is blk runners blk Are you an ER s our Facebook group is black runners connection, there’s also a Facebook page. But that pretty much just directs you to black runners connections group. I do want to make it very clear to anyone listening to this anyone reading about us that we are not a black only Group. We are a black focused group. You know, I do believe that there Should be a space and for us to, you know, discuss issues that are important to us. But that said, you know, our room is multicultural. We do have, you know, people who are in India we have people, you know, you know, we have, in other words we have, we have white people, we have black people, we have Asian people, we literally have people all over the globe. Our, you know, our group is for runners, but it is but our focus and the things that we discussed, are black focus. So, you know, people in the sound of my voice you are, you’re welcome to join us, but don’t, don’t do so, thinking that we’re, you know, not going to, you know, to light and our blackness in our group because that is what we are here for.
That’s great. James, Davon thank you so much for coming on and being our guest today. We really, really grateful for that. Cam if you have any anything to add to that.
No, I will see you guys hopefully one more free.
Thank you for having me. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Be sure to tune in to next week’s episode for part two of our discussion on running wild black, which will feature a roundtable discussion with myself and Jay Derek of behind the Wheel podcast and Tasha of Black Gyrl SOS podcast. I’d like to thank our audio contributors Les, and GK and our featured guests, Carlos Patterson and Davon and James of Black Runners Connection. Let’s keep this conversation going and continue to run with my rest in heaven. Ahmaud Arbery Thank you so much. for tuning into the show, be sure to subscribe to The Run Wave on your favorite podcast app and leave us a review of the show on Apple podcasts. It would really help me out if you are a runner that has a story to tell and you would like to be on the show. You can email Hello at the run wave dot com or send us a DM on Instagram to
see you next time.
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