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As Trayvon Martin’s murder proved, walking while black can get you killed. Rashawn Ray, a sociologist and assistant professor at the University of Maryland, believes that reality is why black men are less likely to jog in areas where they have white neighbors.

He gave a presentation on his theory, “Black People Don’t Run in My Neighborhood,” at Wake Forest University, in which he explained why black men are fearful of jogging: “It has a lot to do with criminalization,” he said. “It’s the inability for people to recognize or kind of separate a black man’s identity from criminality, so being black and male subjectively infers being criminal.”

To combat this, he believes black men go out of their way to appear non-threatening. “Black men have to go through a signaling process, particularly middle class black men, when they try to be physically active outside,” Ray explained. Black men might wave at people, stay away from places with dark lighting, carry their IDs and even wear college t-shirts to show that they are educated.

If you think that behavior is excessive, Ray offers up Trayvon Martin’s death and the killing of 24 year-old Jonathan A. Ferrell by a Charlotte police officer as evidence that black men have every right to be fearful.

He conducted a nationwide study on exercise patterns and determined that 50% of black Americans aren’t physically active at all, compared to 33% of whites. Ray believes that the way black men are perceived when running is a contributing factor. Through his research, he hoped to identify “the ways that racial inequality is manufactured and maintained in society.” We all know that, without a doubt, racial profiling is one of them.

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  • Bee

    My bro jogs outside and he has not had cops pull him over but he has had bottle whipped at him from passing cars, people’s dogs off leash chasing and barking at him. Our area is a mix of different people and yet crap still happens..I can only imagine what it is like to have the police stop you as well.

  • the Other Jess

    I don’t know, I see Black men jogging everyday. Now as for biking, that’s a different story. I knew a guy who got jumped by the police because he was riding a bike. They said he must have stolen it and the bike couldn’t possibly be his.

  • It’s beyond sad that black men can’t even exercise and get healthy these days! MY friend said her father was harassed while walking her dog one evening when she was working late. This is a tiny dog mind you, and her father is walking this dog in a middle class neighborhood (South FL, so you already KNOW..smh). Some punk resident is asking this grown man who he is, where he lives, blah blah etc. Goes to show, driving, walking, jogging or anything while black has become dangerous and it’s annoying the hell out of me daily. Not to sound ignorant (which I will, sorry). Does anyone here ever have a “I can’t stand “them” today” type of day? IJS..

    Damn, this article really made me sad. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t…