Why this matters
Dr. Rashawn Ray's research exposes the racial barriers between Black and White people. This research has helped shape a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Black man running in a White neighborhood.
"Running is supposed to be an activity that extends life, but when it comes to Black people, that activity might actually reduce life."
Dr. Rashawn Ray, a David M. Rubenstein Fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution and Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland discusses his research, Black People Don't Exercise in my Neighborhood, in the wake of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. His work has helped shape the conversation and narrative to better understand the experiences by Black people when engaging in physical activities, like running. In looking at the exercise habits of people broken down by race and gender, Ray finds that Black men, in particular, reported feeling more stressed and threatened when exercising in predominantly White neighborhoods. To cope, Black men may engage in signaling habits, like smiling or wearing an alma mater shirt to show they 'belong' and are not causing harm.
Follow Dr. Rashawn Ray on Twitter (@SociologistRay)
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