Jenkem spoke to Black skaters about their skateboarding experiences

In 2020, Jenkem interviewed a host of Black skaters to expose some of the issues they’ve faced while skateboarding. This came as an effort to “be better allies and friends” during the Black Lives Matter protests of summer 2020. Here’s an excerpt from Rashad Murray’s interview:

Have you seen or experienced racism within your own skate community?

I’ve been told I jump higher because I’m black. My heelflips are good because black skaters are better at heelflips than kickflips. The one that pissed me off the most was, “You don’t skate like most black skaters.” Some people wouldn’t consider these to be racist comments but I do.

They might not be harsh slurs but they are microaggressions that made me feel some type of way. I didn’t even know how to process most of it because I was much younger when this all happened. I was still learning about myself and seeking acceptance so I didn’t even know how to really react. I knew I was mad but I didn’t know if I was overreacting or not, which is such a ridiculous thing for me to tell myself. When you’re a kid you just want people to like you, but now I don’t care about that at all. I’m gonna defend myself and any other skater of color that’s being disrespected.

What comes to mind when you hear someone say “Blue lives matter,” or “All lives matter?”

I usually laugh, yo! I think it’s such a ridiculous thing to say. What the fuck is a blue life? When you go home and take off that uniform you’re not a cop anymore. Being black isn’t a choice but being a cop is. If a cop is afraid of dying while on duty, they should quit their job.

Also, obviously, all lives matter. If someone you loved was diagnosed with breast cancer and you made a post about supporting the people battling that form of cancer, no one would comment “What about skin cancer?” It would be rude, inconsiderate, and simple-minded to say something like that. So to anyone who says “Blue lives matter” or “All lives matter” go fuck yourself. Black people are being killed, so do something meaningful to help stop it.

Related to Black folks and skateboarding: the Uganda Skateboard Union, Corey Johnson’s top 5 skateboarders, and my favourite Hey Arnold! Gerald t-shirt

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