Op-Ed: The Institutional Sexism in Cycling Needs to End

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(From Outside) — Former pro road rider Iris Slappendel founded the first labor union for women cyclists with one goal: getting team managers, sponsors, and riders to treat male and female cyclists with equal respect, ’cause that sure isn’t happening now.

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Institutional discrimination based on gender continues to persist. This, despite governmental policies and laws firmly in place meant to eradicate it. Much of it is rooted in bias that is largely culture driven, although some of it occurs as a result of unconscious attitudes and behaviors. In either case, change continues to be needed.

Click here to learn more about gender inequities, how to recognize them and what to do when you encounter them.


Beyoncé’s father takes on ‘colorism’: He dated her mother because he thought she was white

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(Mathew Knowles and Tina Knowles-Lawson at a fashion show in Beverly Hills, Calif., in Feb. 2007. [Matt Sayles/AP])

(From the Washington Post) — Racism is a common topic in the mainstream media. But an insidious cousin, colorism, gets less attention. Novelist Alice Walker defined colorism an 1982 essay as “prejudicial or preferential treatment of same-race people based solely on their color.” In other words, it’s the concept of prejudice within a race against someone because of their skin tone. It’s a particularly important and controversial topic in the…

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The concept of colorism dates back as far as chattel slavery in the United States, with its earliest origins emerging as a grotesque outcome of white slave owner rape. As the article suggests, same-race prejudice evolved side by side with racism. It was a learned phenomenon, passed down through the generations and fueled by persistent external forces such as the Black Codes, Jim Crow statutes, and stereotypic misrepresentations of African Americans in media. It was also marked by a condition defined by the Beyond Diversity Resource Center and others as internalized racial oppression. Understanding its often self-defeating mechanisms, both conscious and unconscious, require education, empathy and deep reflection. Yet much like racism is in the white community, colorism among African Americans is a painful and often taboo topic. Addressing and interrupting colorism requires methods of critical exploration on the subject that must be tempered with brave compassion.

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It’s up to the Pentagon to set things right for transgender service members

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(From the Washington Post) — As of Jan. 1, the United States military finally began accepting transgender recruits. That’s despite President Trump’s tweets over the summer demanding a ban on all military service by transgender Americans. Barred multiple times by federal judges from implementing the president’s order, the…

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A salient issue in this opinion piece not central to the author’s point, yet is glaring in its magnitude, is the reality of bias and how it plays out. Bias exists in all of us. It can operate at both a conscious and unconscious level. Some biases are harmless (i.e., favorite color or vacation location, dislike of winter or chocolate ice cream, etc.). It is when bias operates without our awareness that it is particularly problematic — especially when it comes to perceiving people who are different than one’s self. Its deleterious effects can range from distasteful prejudicial thoughts to discriminatory action or inaction against an individual or group of people. Both are toxic. With respect to the issue of military service and other professional vocations, personal bias in the workplace is unproductive and limits human resource capacity. It’s the same in the education sector. Unhealthy forms of bias thrives on negative stereotype narratives, which are reinforced through self-fulfilling prophecy. Bias (especially the unconscious kind) can trick us into believing our opinion is fact, no matter the evidence to the contrary. This distorted mental storytelling diminishes our ability to see others different from us as they truly are: fully formed human beings. And it begs the question, how do we work on something that can operate outside of our conscious awareness? Here are three concrete ways: 1.) Talk about it; 2.) Move with compassion; 3.)  Practice empathy.

Learn more at the Beyond Diversity Resource Center

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