Black Men Don't Run in White Neighborhoods

A new study shows that fear of racial profiling prevents some black men from jogging in white neighborhoods.

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A new study reveals that fear of racial profiling prevents some black men from jogging in mostly white neighborhoods.

Research by sociologist Rashawn Ray, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, shows that black men are less likely to run outside if they live in a predominantly white neighborhood, according to Runner's World. On the other hand, black women were shown to be more active in predominantly white communities.

The findings are based on a 2011 survey of 500 college-educated African Americans living in urban and suburban areas across the United States. The study explored why middle-class blacks were less physically active than their white counterparts. Ray found that 50 percent of blacks do not exercise at all, compared with only a third of whites. He cites racial bias as a factor.  

"Black men are criminalized by the inability of others to separate a black male from crime," says Ray. "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."

To counter the association, black men exercising outside will try to signal to others that they are not a threat, he says. They may wear a college sweatshirt or cap, or wave and smile at neighbors, and they'll often limit their running to daylight hours.

Read more at Runner's World.

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