White Girls Run, too.

April 26, 2011

1 comment

A few weeks ago I tweeted about an unusual encounter I had at my local YMCA. It was a weekday morning and I hit the gym early that day to get in a quick run before the day started. It was chilly that morning, so I had on my uber warm Black Girls RUN! hoodie on. As I handed the desk attendant my membership card, she frowned at my hoodie and said, "White girls run too!". Mind you, I'm not 100% awake until I've tackled a mile or two. I responded by saying, "Yeah, well we all run." Unfortunately, my brain wasn't working quick enough to shoot back a whitty response. But the encounter got even weirder. She said, "Yeah, we all run, especially if running from big dogs." As you can imagine, my only response was a blank stare as I couldn't muster the brain waves to even try to begin to figure out what had just happened. I hurried off to the treadmill and hoped I could avoid her on my way out. It was the first time someone of another ethnicity verbally questioned and got defensive about Black Girls RUN! But I get the non-verbal questions all the time.  Some of my own white friends aren't exactly sure why there's a need for BGR! But most want to know if they are allowed to fan our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter. While I can pontificate on this a lot more, I began thinking, "Are we somehow, with all good intentions, being discriminatory or defensive?," "Shouldn't we encourage ALL women to run?," "Should we change our name to Black Girls RUN! (and white girls run too)?". But then I remembered why we started this. The alarming statistics that are so real to us everyday. Our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends who are plagued with the diseases and health issues due to cultural culinary fare ingrained in the African-American community and the belief that our hair is more important than our health. I've realized that the importance and the urgency for black women to live healthier (both mentally and physically) can't be explained or understood by someone who didn't grow up seeing how much health and wellness has impacted our race. And nor do I expect them to. However, I do expect not to be judged for a movement that is imperative to our community. I do expect their support. I do expect them to join the movement, because at the end of the day, we're all in this together. So for all the white women who follow us (or would like to), you don't have to stand on the sidelines and watch from a distance. We want and need your support. Be a part of the movement! After several weeks of thinking about what the appropriate response should have been to the desk clerk at the YMCA, I'm still not sure what her intention was. But I wish I could have given her a Black Girls RUN! hoodie and offered her an opportunity to join the BGR! movement. Sometimes people just want to be included or at least that's what I'd like to think.

1 Response

Lynn Murphy
Lynn Murphy

February 25, 2019

I’m so glad I came across this article. This past Saturday I ran my 4th Double Cross 10k in Trenton. The main reason I return to this run isn’t just the course it’s the presence of BGR. My first experience with this group was just the sense of support and caring. Each year the presence got bigger and bigger as well as more loving. When I registered this year I checked off I am registering under BGR. For some reason my bib did not have your logo on it. I finished my race got my medal from the race and was funneled along where I came past your table. I guest ironed whether I could get a BGR medal. I explained I did in fact register as a BGR. The woman was so kind and asked a fellow volunteer if it was ok and agreed me a medal. That simple act of kindness further showed me the caring. I must explain I am white but have just loved and followed your group because of your story and the class you display at every race I’ve had the pleasure of running with your group. I hope it would be okay to formally join your group after years on the sideline. It would be an honor to wear a BGR shirt at races and out to spread your message.

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