A University of Maryland professor discovered some shocking statistics about the practices of black runners.
Rashawn Ray, Ph.D, found that black men are less likely to run outside if they live in a predominantly white neighborhood.
The opposite was true for black women.
Ray surveyed 500 college-educated African-Americans living in urban and suburban areas across the United States in 2011 to explore why middle-class blacks were less physically active than their Caucasian peers. “Research has shown that the higher one’s social class, the more likely she or he is to be physically active,” says Ray. “Black men are criminalized by the inability of others to separate a black male from crime.”
“Black men in white neighborhoods are more cautious of how they exercise and less comfortable in those neighborhoods because many black men have had social interactions in which they were profiled simply for being black and male.”
Black men would try to signal to others that they are not a threat when exercising outdoors. They may wear college apparel or wave and smile at neighbors. Black male runners in white neighborhoods also often limit their workout to daylight hours.
In addition to the survey, Ray collected data examining the activity level in public spaces in the country. He found that Atlanta, Ga. and Prince George’s County, Md. had the highest level of activity among black men as well as the highest concentration of college educated black men.
According to Ray’s findings, 50% of blacks get no physical activity at all compared to 33% of whites. A key factor in this is racial bias.
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