“Until you’ve walked in my shoes, you can never ever sing my blues.”

Anthony Hamilton

Scope of Understanding

“Until the philosophy which hold one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned everywhere is war” -War by Bob Marley1    A guide: a person who has the necessary skills to teach people an outdoor discipline or lead an outdoor experience. When that word is uttered, what type of person comes…

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Black Hair and Climbing Part VIII

Part VIII: Policy, You Nasty P    White culture and dominance is still prevalent in US society as well as elsewhere: and it is enforced by policy. But how, exactly, has hair entered into policy of the US? We touched on it earlier when talking about race based discrimination ending in the workforce. What the policy…

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Black Hair and Climbing Part VII

Part VII: Perception    I have talked a lot about white presenting and Black presenting through facial features, hair texture, skin color, etc. How we are seen in the world is how we are able to move through it experiencing oppression or privilege. Presenting to the world as a light skinned person with Afro hair and…

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Black Hair and Climbing Part VI

Part VI: Jaylynn Ayanna    I sat down and had a chat with a Seattle local youth climbing competitor: Jaylynn Ayanna (she/they). Jaylynn is 18 years old who is a Black person and I wanted to get their point of view having been competing in local competitions for the last 5 or 6 years. “I usually…

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Black Hair and Climbing Part V

Part V: Perspective    In order to more fully understand what sort of environment Evangelina Briggs and their family has been steeped in, let’s take a look at where they are from.    The Briggs family lives near a small town called Milton, Canada around the vicinity of the larger city of Toronto. Milton’s racial demographics are…

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Black Hair and Climbing Part IV

Part IV: Is It Privilege?    In competitive sports we have also often seen two cornrows or ‘french braids’ on the heads of female athletes such as Brooke Raboutou. Is it appropriation?    To answer this question, I am going to put myself up as an example. As a person with mixed African and white heritage I…

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Black Hair and Climbing Part III

Part III: Sports and Black Hair    Do you remember the controversy around Gabby Douglas? Gabby Douglas: an accomplished Olympic gymnast who people only seemed to talk about her ‘unkempt’ hair.15 She has African hair that was slightly messy at times but when you are an athlete your hair is going to do what it naturally…

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Black Hair and Climbing Part II

Part II: Black Hairstyles in Climbing Culture   Where has Black hair or Black hairstyles shown up in climbing culture?    In the early 2000’s, around the time of the first Black climbing ascents of Too-tok-ah-noo-lah7, a climber named Chris Sharma was on the rise. He had started climbing around 1983: only 16 years after the last…

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Black Hair and Climbing Part I

“I am not my hair. I am not this skin. I am not your expectations, no no…I am the soul that lives within.” -India Arie1 Part I: Bo Derek    I gently swung the bathroom door open and raised my eyes to meet a white presenting seemingly cis gender woman standing in front of the mirrored…

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Hip Hop Gone Wild: The Aftermath

This article also available as a podcast here. “Movin’ forward Pressing onward, strivin’ further Keep on laughin’ Keep on livin’, keep on lovin’, yeah Keep on dreamin’ Keep on achievin’, keep on believin’ I keep smilin’ when I come through And I cry when I need to” -Jill Scott1    It’s 2022! It has been over…

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