Sunday, August 14, 2011

Communities within a community

We are one big running community and within that, we are many communities. This even more apparent to me now that I've entered the blogosphere. I wonder though, which communities do you consider yourself to be a part of?

A couple weeks ago, I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Determined to Be Fit, which included mention in THIS race re-cap post of a group called Black Girls Run. According to the website:

 The mission of Black Girls RUN! is to encourage African-American women to make fitness and healthy living a priority.

It got me thinking about how sometimes I'm at a race and I get excited when I see a Latina. Not so much Latinos, but definitely Latinas. Sorry, I'm all about the girl power. How cool is that, to have this group, Black Girls Run, encouraging black women to get out and run, be healthy, and support each other?

In the Seattle area, you are much more likely to see Latinos and some other non-white groups (e.g., Asian American, Pacific Islander) running than African Americans but for the most part, we're a fairly homogenous running community in Seattle (white-looking, but not just due to the lack of sun). It's just the demographics of the area, I guess? I'm white but also a Mexican-American or Chicana, which is 1970's talk for someone of Mexican descent but a U.S. citizen. I'm a mix, I'm a mutt, a I'm a mixed-nut. Which makes me...just American I guess.

Anyway, I still can't help but get excited when I see people, especially young women, who appear to be Latinas. It's not always evident by just looking at someone (duh) but I still have to admit that it makes me feel encouraged for women and non-white women especially. Is that superficial?

Young women all around struggle with self esteem, weight, education, and many other social and economic issues and it's so uplifting to see WOMEN of all backgrounds out there pushing themselves.

Do any of you belong to groups that provide support to under-represented groups in health & fitness or otherwise? LBGT? Ethnic groups? 

I'm curious what groups are out there and if anyone has heard of a running group that focuses on getting young Latinas together to encourage and celebrate health & fitness? 


  1. Oh, excellent questions! I definitely fall in the "women runner" community, but I don't get any special ethnic cred.

    But you raise a really interesting topic. I'm a Demographer/Sociology instructor, so I am fascinated by all things race/ethnic oriented. 5ksAndCabernets posted something similar - about how relatively few black people run, despite high overall rates of heart disease and high blood pressure - you might be interested to read...

  2. Thanks for the blog love! The great thing about Black Girls Run is that it has turned local. The Atlanta group has 1200 members now and has weekly runs all over the city. From reading the Facebook group postings, it is amazing to read how many black women were scared to run and are now willing to come out to a group run because they feel like they will be supported and not alone.

    The poster above referenced Kevin's blog and he has several good posts about the issue. The one that struck me most was a survey of "average runners" and 90% of them identified as white. Wow. Something needs to change.
    Given those stats, I don't think it is a superficial thing to be encouraged at all. I am a black woman and I have a black son and maybe one day a daughter. My children will see my example but I never want them to look around and say "Black people don't run so why should I?"

  3. huh, I never really noticed in all honestly. But I am 1/2 Cuban and grew up in a white neighborhood - I joke that I was the most ethinc girl in my school growing up. I was raised and still to this day don't really see a race or nationality when I look at someone - I just see the person. I do think it is great to see communities encouraging other's to go out and run, but can you imagine the uproar that would happen if you had a White Girls RUN group......a bit of a double standard, but that is the soceity we live in so I just make the most of it.

  4. i love all women races. i mean I adore my husband, but there is something really empowering and exciting about seeing women all out running together

  5. @Amanda... totally agree with you on that! My first race ever was an all-women triathlon almost a decade ago. I had such a surge of pride watching all of those women swim-bike-and-run their way to whatever personal goal they had. (I suspect the same feeling of pride happens for people of color or those in the LGBT community -- but those who aren't in a minority group may never understand...?)

  6. Yes - I wish long dist running was more diverse!
    I read an article about a group of african american women in DC who were bikers that I thought was kinda cool.

    Actually one thing that really gets me about fitness websites is that they always feature totally wasp-y models! Come on, lululemon!