Jade Tuff, from Philadelphia, writes :
I’ve trained for 13 full marathons and many other race distances. I run with my very intelligent, fun, selfless and beautiful co-worker, and I feel safer. She is white. When I run with her, it’s for companionship. I adore her. I also feel safer with her around. When people do the “South Philly slide” past stop signs, they see her. They stop and apologise profusely for rolling through a stop sign. When it’s just me, I get cussed out, or, in worse situations, called a [epithet]. Those words really hurt, so I block it out. I run with music so that if it happens more often, I won’t be able to hear it because I have a music blanket for protection when my running buddy is not around.
The worst of it came as we all went into shelter in place in Pennsylvania. All of our local running groups remind us to run early or late to avoid crowds. I unfortunately listened to that advice one morning and went for a three-mile run. Halfway through, as I turned around, there was a hunter green pickup truck stopped in the middle of the road. I found it bizarre and slowed my run to a trot. As I got closer, I noticed the truck was decorated with Trump/Pence 2020 stickers, along with a Confederate flag. My stomach dropped and I felt panic run through my body as they revved their engine several times in the middle of the road. I looked for escape routes in case they tried to jump the curb to hit me. I decided to be brave and pretend they were not there.
As I passed them, they turned a corner down the street. We all peered at each other, until turning the corner broke their gaze. It was so uncomfortable and so confusing. Did anyone else see that? (No – I was alone and the streets were empty.) What just happened? What was that? I told my boyfriend about it and haven’t shared that experience with anyone else since. I now choose to run during peak hours with my BFF, with enough people around – just in case.
In France, in some districts, safe jogging depends on the colour of your skin, and your look. Is French police better than American police if you are an arab or a blackman? I’m not sure. Anf if you are “white” it isn’t quite safe to jog or walk in some districts, especially if you’re a female.