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NY Times Contributor Says Jogging Is Racist Against Black People

Amid a heated cultural debate over the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a New York Times contributor argued in a recent essay that jogging is racist against black people.

According to Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, a fitness aficionado who teaches history at the New School, jogging’s problematic legacy is manifold:
  • Despite paying lip-service to the idea of jogging as egalitarian and accessible, the sport has been “marketed primarily to white people ever since ‘the jogging craze’ was born in the lily-white Oregon track and field world of the late 1960s.”
  • Meanwhile, black people have been excluded and “relentlessly depicted as a threat to legitimate, white joggers.”
  • In fact, Petrzela averred, historically jogging has been dangerous for black city-dwellers who “could not safely ‘just go outside’ to jog in parks or on the street.”
  • And the consequences of associating jogging with upper-class white people could even prove deadly for black people, she claimed.
Petrzela’s essay was sparked by the racially-tinged conversation surrounding the fatal shooting of Arbery, a 25-year-old black Georgia resident who relatives say was out jogging when he was pursued and gunned down by two white men.
  • A video of the Feb. 23 shooting released last week resulted in a fierce public outcry and murder charges against Gregory and Travis McMichael, the father and son involved in the incident.
  • Gregory McMichael told police he and his son pursued Barbery because they believed he matched the description of a suspect in a string of nearby burglaries and said Barbery attacked Travis McMichael before being shot on a residential street in Brunswick.
  • Surveillance footage which emerged this week purportedly shows Barbery walking around a home under construction minutes before his death.
  • Brunswick police said no break-ins were reported in the weeks before the shooting.
For Petrzela, Barbery’s death was a tragic consequence growing out of the “structural racism, gun violence and vigilantism that’s become a hallmark of American life.” It was also “an example of the glaring whiteness of recreational running,” she declared.
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