Last week I wrote a letter to the race directors of the NYC Marathon and Philadelphia Marathon as a reaction to the allegations of racism at those events. I chose to write about these two separate incidents in a single letter because my concern was not about the individual event of itself, but the underlying threat of overt prejudice and hatred that these incidents portends. I wanted it to be clear that concerned citizens, such as myself, do not want these behaviors normalized in the community that we’re a part of.
I received responses from NYRR and the city of Philadelphia, which I’ll post below.
In particular, I was gratified to hear that the City of Philadelphia are going to set “explicit volunteer guidelines that will stress cultural sensitivity and tolerance.” Bigoted behavior does not occur in a vacuum. People will engage in these acts if they believe that those acts are supported. By sending an explicit message that prejudiced behavior is not condoned, it takes away the arena for that behavior to be expressed and supported (passively or actively) by the public and sends a message of inclusion and support to people who may otherwise feel marginalized.
Running should only have races and not racism.