Opening my eyes

I was on a work trip and sitting in the lunchroom at a client site, chatting with the operators there. It was a friendly group, and we got to know each other reasonably well in our lunchtime conversations. I and one of the locals were talking about running and race training, being both runners. Another of the operators mentioned that he occasionally ran a mile at the track, and was asking about training for a 5k race, three times farther than he had run before.

Because he and I both find running more than a mile or so on the track unutterably boring (I think he hadn't run more than a mile on the track partly because he was bored, not because he was too tired to continue) I suggested that he run on the street, through the neighbourhood where he lived, so at least the scenery was a bit different. I frequently use google maps' walking directions tool to plot out a route of the distance I want to run when I'm not in the mood for an out-and-back straight line run, especially in an unfamiliar city.

He laughed and said he couldn't do that. Because he predicted a response to him being out running along the sidewalk: "Honey, call the cops! There's a black man running!" And the rest of the group laughed, because they knew it was true.

It had never in my life occurred to me to even think that somebody might call the police on me while I was out minding my own business on a training run.

White privilege: yeah, I have it.

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