before i do anything else, i want to take a moment to thank everyone for the kind words and support. YOU are the reason why i feel safe talking about my experiences. YOU are the reason why i am never lacking in inspiration.
about my voice. i have always battled this, especially in my writing. i’ve internalized a lot of comments from my family, professors, supers that my vernacular isn’t okay for the “professional” world. if you read something that seems a little jumbled it’s because in person that’s probably what would come out of my mouth. i am doing my best to not let this bug me, but it’s out there.
what is the problem??
now before i talk about any experiences, we have to talk about why this is a problem. the bike industry as a whole is notorious for being a cis-white-male dominated boiz club. when decisions are made it’s important to understand that component as that particular lens is presented in nearly every marketing opportunity.
has some marketing shifted? yes.
does that make this better? no, because that should be the bare minimum. as an industry leader q should be held to the highest standard. you don’t have to do tons of clicking to see their reach.
by not leading, taking a stand, not putting sustainable support into diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) q is the embodiment of a phrase other BIPOC/FTW folx and myself have kept hearing since…..forever:
“it’s just the way it is…”
there are so many variations of this from, “they shoot first, ask second” to “i’ve known them for years, it’s how they are. it’s not what they meant…….”
you know who else does that? the police, the president and more, but thank you for watering down our lived experiences while pretending to give a shit.
since it’s founding in 1981, q has missed profitability only one of those years as of june 2019. when i spoke to a member of the DEI committee post budget presentations, i was told all those projects were on hold.
budgeting and forecasting is hard, especially when trade wars directly affect the bizzzzz. that said, it still isn’t an excuse for not planning, allocating, and staying accountable to DEI practices especially when said company totes DEI initiatives like a paid internship for BIPOC and FTW.
i mean seriously though. it would take maybe a little more effort to do research and implement a plan vs doing this:
nothing like coming into work and knowing that your company doesn’t actually support DEI, BIPOC, FTW, but throws you under the bus, too.
behaviors like the above and many, many, MANY more made by/at q has a ripple effect whether that was the intention or not. by not doing homework, by not being a true partner (values here) they make it okay for everyone else to maintain the status quo, protect (for less of a better word) shitty people who are often in high ranking and decision making positions. nothing is more clear than what occurred at frost bike 2020.
a glimmer of hope came in the form of #representationmatters
personally it didn’t hit me until i joined a cycling team (shoutout to @tacocatracingmpls ttbt) that there was an absence of people who looked like me in competitive cycling. my team gave me support and courage to keep trying at q. i felt brave, i started to take up space, and most importantly i did more homework.
back to frost bike.
when it was announced that Ayesha McGowan was going to be the keynote this year my first emotion was pure excitement. the second was, “is q familiar with Ayesha’s work?
you can find the keynote presentation here it is so worth the watch. if you don’t have the immediate time i would suggest going to about the 36 minute mark where it’s about time for some q & a. for an event where the industry minds are gathering, there weren’t a lot of questions let alone thoughtful ones.
the audio quality is awful, but if you turn up the volume there is a part where someone asks about attracting a more diverse customer base.
muffled muffed something to the like of, “it’s just hard because the shop listens to metal music and stuff.” followed up with laughing, snickering, etc. etc.
ahhhh yes because black and brown folx don’t listen to metal, or ride bikes for that matter.
these types of micro aggression are the daily for Black and Brown folx. like i can’t listen to code orange on my bluetooth speaker cause i don’t fit the idea of who you think enjoys this genre?
the question/statement was met by Ayesha prior to that comment. Ayesha (excuse the sports analogy) put a giant softball on a tee. a softball so big even a storm trooper could hit it, and the person’s follow up missed so hard that it was as if this person didn’t even listen to a word that was said.
this would’ve been a great opportunity for a leader or hell anyone in the bike industry to intervene and say something in real time, or even make a follow up comment after the event. there was nothing.
words and apologies without actions/follow up are just that. words. that opportunity to do good work, hard/uncomfortable/growing work, was there, but now it’s just a blazing fire you’re scrambling to put out.
that said, i hope it gives a solid foundation to what comes next. since the weather is cooling down, and i’m a big baby i am gonna take the weekend to enjoy the beautiful weather. i will hopefully get everything edited and posted by next monday.
*** note about the ads – i have no idea what i’m doing. it was a setting to show ads on my awhile back. what i have noticed is the ads are for duckduckgo and wordpress. personally i use tor browser for private internet access, but ddg is awesome too if you don’t wanna download a new client. if there are ever any ads that are not-cool, please let me know. i’m not sure if i have tons of control, but i’ll do my best to figure it out or drop ads completely ***