Black Equestrians Want to Be Safe. But They Can’t Find Helmets. For Black riders with natural hair, finding a helmet that fits can be virtually impossible. Some are trying to raise awareness of the problem, but manufacturers say it’s not a simple fix. – New York Times
Good thing there’s nothing else going on in the world. These aren’t just first-world problems, they’re absurdly upper-class problems.
Black equestrians have long felt virtually invisible in a sport that remains overwhelmingly white. For those with natural hair, which for many is a declaration of pride and Black identity, finding a helmet that fits properly can be nearly impossible, creating yet another barrier to full inclusion.
You can get a haircut or find a sport that doesn’t require a helmet, like a functional adult. Or blame racism.
In an interview, James Ruder, the chief executive, said the company’s helmets can accommodate most riders. He added that he had “never once heard” about a Black rider struggling with helmet fit.
“If you have an ‘oddity’ — and I don’t mean to be disrespectful to the people who have weird hairstyles — but if you have a hairstyle that impacts the functionality of the helmet, you might just have to change it,” Mr. Ruder said.
In a follow-up interview, Mr. Ruder stood by his view that riders need to be aware that their hairstyle choices can affect helmet safety, and added that he intended no offense with his comments. “I’m bald, and some people find that weird,” he said. “It’s all relative.”
Black riders say the manufacturers’ responses demonstrate what they’re up against.
“Sports were only developed for white people and they continue to keep white people protected,” Ms. Robbins said. “People need to realize diversity and inclusion belongs anywhere, especially in sports.”
Sports were only developed for white people. There are no black people in sports. None at all.
Helmets have to fit your head. If you have big hair, they won’t safely fit your head. You can be white and have big hair. Or you can be black and have big hair. Either way you’re making a choice of priorities. And instead of owning those choices, people with the disposable income to do this play the victim.