“…it’s just the way it is…” pt 2

before i do anything else, i want to take a moment to thank everyone for the kind words and support. YOU are the reason why i feel safe talking about my experiences. YOU are the reason why i am never lacking in inspiration.

about my voice. i have always battled this, especially in my writing. i’ve internalized a lot of comments from my family, professors, supers that my vernacular isn’t okay for the “professional” world. if you read something that seems a little jumbled it’s because in person that’s probably what would come out of my mouth. i am doing my best to not let this bug me, but it’s out there.

what is the problem??

now before i talk about any experiences, we have to talk about why this is a problem. the bike industry as a whole is notorious for being a cis-white-male dominated boiz club. when decisions are made it’s important to understand that component as that particular lens is presented in nearly every marketing opportunity.

has some marketing shifted? yes.

does that make this better? no, because that should be the bare minimum. as an industry leader q should be held to the highest standard. you don’t have to do tons of clicking to see their reach.

“what we do” – qbp

by not leading, taking a stand, not putting sustainable support into diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) q is the embodiment of a phrase other BIPOC/FTW folx and myself have kept hearing since…..forever:

“it’s just the way it is…”

there are so many variations of this from, “they shoot first, ask second” to “i’ve known them for years, it’s how they are. it’s not what they meant…….”

you know who else does that? the police, the president and more, but thank you for watering down our lived experiences while pretending to give a shit.

since it’s founding in 1981, q has missed profitability only one of those years as of june 2019. when i spoke to a member of the DEI committee post budget presentations, i was told all those projects were on hold.

budgeting and forecasting is hard, especially when trade wars directly affect the bizzzzz. that said, it still isn’t an excuse for not planning, allocating, and staying accountable to DEI practices especially when said company totes DEI initiatives like a paid internship for BIPOC and FTW.

i mean seriously though. it would take maybe a little more effort to do research and implement a plan vs doing this:

*insert thumbs up emoji*

nothing like coming into work and knowing that your company doesn’t actually support DEI, BIPOC, FTW, but throws you under the bus, too.

behaviors like the above and many, many, MANY more made by/at q has a ripple effect whether that was the intention or not. by not doing homework, by not being a true partner (values here) they make it okay for everyone else to maintain the status quo, protect (for less of a better word) shitty people who are often in high ranking and decision making positions. nothing is more clear than what occurred at frost bike 2020.

a glimmer of hope came in the form of #representationmatters

personally it didn’t hit me until i joined a cycling team (shoutout to @tacocatracingmpls ttbt) that there was an absence of people who looked like me in competitive cycling. my team gave me support and courage to keep trying at q. i felt brave, i started to take up space, and most importantly i did more homework.

back to frost bike.

when it was announced that Ayesha McGowan was going to be the keynote this year my first emotion was pure excitement. the second was, “is q familiar with Ayesha’s work?

you can find the keynote presentation here it is so worth the watch. if you don’t have the immediate time i would suggest going to about the 36 minute mark where it’s about time for some q & a. for an event where the industry minds are gathering, there weren’t a lot of questions let alone thoughtful ones.

the audio quality is awful, but if you turn up the volume there is a part where someone asks about attracting a more diverse customer base.

muffled muffed something to the like of, “it’s just hard because the shop listens to metal music and stuff.” followed up with laughing, snickering, etc. etc.

ahhhh yes because black and brown folx don’t listen to metal, or ride bikes for that matter.

these types of micro aggression are the daily for Black and Brown folx. like i can’t listen to code orange on my bluetooth speaker cause i don’t fit the idea of who you think enjoys this genre?

the question/statement was met by Ayesha prior to that comment. Ayesha (excuse the sports analogy) put a giant softball on a tee. a softball so big even a storm trooper could hit it, and the person’s follow up missed so hard that it was as if this person didn’t even listen to a word that was said.

this would’ve been a great opportunity for a leader or hell anyone in the bike industry to intervene and say something in real time, or even make a follow up comment after the event. there was nothing.

qbp june seventeenth

words and apologies without actions/follow up are just that. words. that opportunity to do good work, hard/uncomfortable/growing work, was there, but now it’s just a blazing fire you’re scrambling to put out.

that said, i hope it gives a solid foundation to what comes next. since the weather is cooling down, and i’m a big baby i am gonna take the weekend to enjoy the beautiful weather. i will hopefully get everything edited and posted by next monday.

peace.

*** note about the ads – i have no idea what i’m doing. it was a setting to show ads on my awhile back. what i have noticed is the ads are for duckduckgo and wordpress. personally i use tor browser for private internet access, but ddg is awesome too if you don’t wanna download a new client. if there are ever any ads that are not-cool, please let me know. i’m not sure if i have tons of control, but i’ll do my best to figure it out or drop ads completely ***

“…it’s just the way it is…” pt 1

it has taken me quite awhile to find a way to discuss my experiences within the bike industry, but like many my life has always been about my community, friends, and family.  as the protests for the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Riah Milton, Dominique “Rem’Mie” Fells, and more have taken the center stage in our country along with the disproportionate deaths for Black communities by COVID-19 there has been a swell of dialogue following in the cycling and outdoor companies.

know their namesLA Johnson/NPR

there is never a “good time” to talk about race.  it is the elephant in the room.  the reasons i haven’t spoken about my experiences at q are very personal:

  1. fear of repercussions against myself and other BIPOC folx.
  2. fear of getting black listed within the bike industry as a whole.  there was a time when i had considered making my way back, which is no longer the case as of today.
  3. fear of upsetting people in the community and the fallout.
  4. fear of not being heard or taken seriously.

that said, i also need to take a moment to recognize the countless folx that have been doing amazing work within our community (i promise to get there), and their work putting other companies such as fuji, trek, etc. on their silence or generic performative response to the situation in cycling and the nation.  the folx setting up distanced rides, still volunteering time, energy, monetarily and physically. 

let’s not forget that there are companies out there with contracts with police that utilize bikes to brutalize Black and Brown bodies.  And yes it is that trek….the one that you know “won” seven TDFs on.

trek bike police Forbes

that is where i’ll leave that part of the conversation.  there is a lot to follow on this situation and again i will provide resources at the end.

where does this leave qbp?  if you aren’t familiar q is one of the largest bike and parts distributors in North America, heck you could say the world.  they have a home base here in Bloomington, MN along with multiple distribution centers stateside, in Canada, and have multiple buildings in Asia.  they have multiple in house brands ranging from all-city (your favorite party brand) to surly to 45NRTH and more.  if you have a local bike shop in your city, odds are q is probably the one that helps allocate parts/bikes.

i promise you that what you’re seeing vs what is happening are completely at odds.  how do i know?  i worked at q,  in fact i started at the distribution center to upstairs as a compliance specialist.  i applied for twelve positions there all in areas that i have experience in.  i was told no to ten of them.  i have gone through the training, job shadowing, personal meetings, etc because i had finally gotten there.

the reality at q and the bike industry, in order to start at the top or get there,  you have to be in the know.  the old boys club.  you know that one, so i don’t need to paint that picture.  i didn’t know anyone, but wanting to be there so badly i quit my big kid job making a significant amount more to get my foot in at the dc.

the difference in metrics tracking at the dc are nothing short of insanity.  i’m all for being productive, but there is a strike system even for attendance that if you’re late even for a minute it counts against you.  one minute.  and when you get the last strike, sorry for ya, you’re gone effective immediately.

one more important piece here is that the vast amounts of diversity at q is the dc.  remember that because this will be important later, but first let me put this here to show the contrast for folx upstairs:

being late to workqbp

of course this isn’t all of it. if you need more i would suggest going here and reading the comments on their https://www.instagram.com/qualitybike/

i have written, deleted a lot. it’s actually kept me up quite a bit so to better space everything i will let you catch up on what is happening and provide some places to go after reading some of that stuff from q and the industry.

http://www.aquickbrownfox.com/

https://www.instagram.com/wtfbikexplorers/

https://www.instagram.com/rachel.olzer/

https://www.instagram.com/the_blackfoxes/

https://www.instagram.com/cyclista_zine/

there are so many more, but i’m seriously still figuring out how to use this platform, sorry if it’s really jumbled. i couldn’t even get these hyperlinks to edit to what i wanted without it erasing all these blocks.

this will be published in multiple parts as i have a lot more to write and edit.

topics will include the following:

what’s the problem?

first hand experience with upper management

ally vs accomplice: why that matters

qbp values: acting with integrity