I’m recording this on Friday, June 5th, almost one week after the Black Lives Matter protests started and spread throughout the country. To say this is an interesting time in our history is an understatement. And to say I’m curious about where we go from here, equally so.

I like asking questions. I like learning. And I like talking to interesting people. And this week, I got to do just that with my friend Christian.

He’s black, he’s a cyclist, and he’s been in the cycling industry for almost two decades.

In this episode, we have a candid chat on his back porch about how he’s feeling right now, what it’s like being african american in a predominantly white industry, and more.

It’s an awesome conversation, and I’m seriously stoked that I have friends like this who are open to having the conversations that matter. I sincerely hope you enjoy this episode.

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19 comments

  1. Sean on

    FFS, Tyler! Read the headline to this article. Read it again. Do you see a problem?! I know that you’re trying to bring attention to a massive ongoing slight of American history, but language matters. Anyone who can see the photo can see that Christian is a cyclist, who is black. Humanize him in the headline by writing his name and not pointing him out like an object.

    Reply
    • Tyler Benedict on

      Somehow, “A Conversation with Christian” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

      Nor would it convey what the interview is about.

      I worked with Christian to come up with the title, it was a collaborative effort, and we were both in agreement that keeping it simple and to the point was the best approach.

      Not everyone will see the photo if they’re finding this on their podcast player, in Google search results, etc. We also aim to create descriptive titles that work for the visually impaired who rely on audible machine reading to discover new content.

      Reply
        • Lev on

          i, so you are virtue signalling also, by calling out Tyler. This is also part of the problem and distracts from the real issues at hand. If Christian was happy with the title, your 3rd party offence, undermines Christian as well as Tyler. Grow up a bit.

          Reply
        • Matt on

          i, did you actually listen to the podcast before jumping to conclusions based on a title and hitting your keyboard?

          As a South African citizen, I grew up during the period where our country transitioned to a ‘young’ democracy. Over 20 years later, we still haven’t engaged in enough of these types of conversations and non-white South Africans still largely suffer in a society that is shaped by white privilege.

          @Christian, @Tyler – thanks for the honest conversation. Sadly, similar issues persist here too! On a happier note, we sometimes get to ride with the Qhubeka/Dimension Data/NTT guys when they’re in Cape Town each summer!

          (For the record, I’m in my 40’s, white and a passionate cyclist)

          Reply
  2. kbuddhu on

    My students of color have spoken openly for decades about parents who have told them, “You have to be twice as good, you have to work twice as hard,” so Christian’s words resonate with this educator. When I ask a class of mixed race students, “Who here has been stopped by the police and asked to plant their hands on the cruiser’s hood and ‘spread ’em’,” mainly students of color raise their hands much to the astonishment of their white classmates. The brown and black students have a different life experience than their peers, and they have a different life experience than my own as a child, and my current life as an adult.
    Thank you Christian for your honesty; Tyler, thanks for having this interview as a part of the BikeRumor community. I look forward to more.

    Reply
  3. JOHN A on

    Agreed. The title is horrible and reminds of the poor language used to describe vehicle drive and cyclist crashes in article titles. It should same something like, “A conversation with Christian, a black cyclist, and cycling industry veteran.”

    Reply
    • Kovas on

      John, Na… People might read it like “A Conversation with a Christian…” and get really offended… Because, you know, God is dead and all that…

      Reply
  4. Christian Glenn McKinnie on

    Hi guys,

    I just wanted to share a few of my thoughts with you about the content and title of this interview.

    When Tyler reached out to me about doing this I immediately jumped on board. I think there are a lot of experiences that people don’t realize a lot of other people have. I was excited that Tyler wanted to take the first steps in addressing that problem and amplifying those voices.

    I was made aware of the context of this interview and given free reign to say what I wanted. I was not nudged or coerced into saying anything that I didn’t legitimately feel or experience.

    As for the title of this article, the original name we had discussed was just “A Conversation”. Though fairly straight forward it still smoothed over the very jagged nature of the of the topics we would be addressing. “A Conversation with a Black Cyclist”, some may find a bit on-the-nose, but that was the point. I feel as if many people would’ve glossed over this page had it not been for the title that Tyler and I collectively decided on.

    It’s kind of like when you hear a band with a really crazy name. You wonder to yourself, “who would name themselves that?” But because of that first initial jolt, you dig a bit further. If you’re lucky you’ll find that the message that the band is sending through their music is a great one. One that should be repeated and amplified. But in order to recieve that message you have to first listen.

    I just hope that the message that I was attempting to convey doesn’t get lost or overlooked by the title alone. If you haven’t taken a listen, please do. Have these conversations with your buddies, teammates, friends, family, and coworkers. Let’s all do the work that is necessary for our collective ideals to become our collective reality.

    Cheers,

    Christian

    Reply
    • Hooby on

      Thanks Christian and Tyler for putting this out there. You demonstrated the impact of transparency, honesty and vulnerability. I’ve been thinking about your conversation for several days now and mentioned it several times to a few friends. That’s probably a good indicator of the sort of impact your conversation is having. And yes…it is making me consider taking up some conversations that I would have previously thought better left alone. Perhaps we all think we should have been done with tensions related to racial difference once we got through the 60’s. Maybe so and maybe not, but here we are and we have to deal with what is, not with what we wish. Anyway, the take away I have from your podcast is that actually having the tough conversations, with maturity, real openness and inquiry…it doesn’t fix everything, but it is a real deposit of good faith on working out a healthier way forward.

      Reply
  5. TimE on

    Great that you can create a platform for discussing this issue within the cycling world. It’s gone on for too long. Growing up in South Africa I’ve experienced it everyday. Its so institutionalised that it’s business as usual. When we complain we come out the other end worse off. Great cast and kudos for taking the brave step of speaking publicly

    Reply
  6. Jim the citizen on

    Wealthy and/or white men in power are the root cause of almost all problems in the world. Show me a problem that wasn’t created by a wealthy and/or white male. As a white male I’m ashamed. I’d like to see the day when I’m not referred to as white or someone of a different color is referred to as black. The labels themselves aren’t at all descriptive of the respective skin tones. Let’s just make it illegal to refer to anyone other than a “person”, a “human”, or a “citizen”. I wont listen to the podcast on the basis that I object to people being referred to as black or as white or as coloured. But I do support those in power that create the problems to be dethroned and made examples of.

    Reply
  7. JBikes on

    Jeez – to all the people that refrain from even listening because they don’t like the title…grow up.
    At the first sign of a single thing someone says/writes, that you dislike, do you stop readings or listening. That is childish.

    Like or dislike the title, but please listen to the content and don’t get so wrapped up on singular details to the point you can’t keep going. In life, try objectively listening to everything another has to say, even if you flat out disagree. Once that person is done, then, being informed, politely refute in an educated and informed manner if you so wish.

    Reply
  8. bikebudha01 on

    John A. You nailed it. The worst headlines for our community start with “a cyclist…”. There is no such thing. There are assholes on bikes. Criminals on bikes. But the act of riding a bike does not define a group of people. This should have been titled as you suggested “A conversation with Chrisitan Mckinnie, a black person who not only cycles, but works in the predominately white industry”. Otherwise the title current title appears to as a ‘token’ article to show this websites ‘support’ for black people Gimicy. I mean, I’m pretty sure it’s not meant to be that way. But that title sure makes it seam that way.

    Reply
  9. Maurice Biddles on

    Just finished listing and enjoyed the episode. I share many of the same experiences Christian communicated both growing up in a predominately white community, being the only Black person on a ride, and working in IT related groups in corporate America. As for the title….

    Part of the sentiment conveyed in the interview is that no matter what space he was walking into, bike shop, group ride, office meeting, etc. the first thing some people noticed was that he was Black. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the reaction/feeling/comments that come next. Is he going to steal something? How’d he get that bike? Wonder if he is even qualified for this job? I’m a Black American man. When I’m on my bike that makes me a Black cyclist; dinner with my better half: a Black husband; playing with kids at the park, a Black father. You get the gist. Could a different title have been chosen? Sure. But at the end of the day it was a conversation with a Black cyclist about his experience of being Black on and around bikes.

    Reply

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