CrossFit Oyster Point has released statements sharing how our thoughts and love are with the black community for their loss and their struggle in the current environment of racial injustice. We fully stand with the black community in support of the changes that need to happen.
Our statement also included, “CrossFitOP is committed to listening and learning more about what will bring unity and ultimately erase racism.”
Now, we are working to put those words into action.
In the past, our coaches development courses involved how to scale workouts, how to cue movements and even building and fostering interpersonal relationships. However, no one can be a great coach without first being a great person. Thankfully, our coaches strive to be truly upstanding people and we hope our community would agree. We have prioritized being an extremely inclusive gym for the past 10 years, welcoming new members from all walks of life; age, gender, career, sexuality, fitness-background, race and disability. With that said, no one is perfect and everyone can benefit from learning more, and since we promised to you that we would listen and learn, here are a few ways we are upholding our promises.
Our goal is to start with the leaders within our community and integrate these changes into our members and overall culture. If you have additional thoughts on the matter that can be helpful, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to know!
1. Uncovering and recognizing unconscious bias
Subconscious judgements impact the decisions we make and the culture we develop.
By understanding and acknowledging any unconscious bias, we can start to peel back things that are holding our community back.
It’s recommended (via leaders at Forbes and Google), to “give your first thought a second look” …notice what comes to mind first, run it back and consider why that was your very first thought. Reflect on why you are drawn to certain people compared to others…is it commonalities, are they meeting a criterion you have in mind, is that about who they are or what they do?
“What gets recognized gets replaced.”
2. Opening up dialog
It can be really hard to realize that we aren’t as perfect as we think we are (and it is human nature to immediately conclude that we are always doing our best and are perfect), but you aren’t a bad person if you realize these things…you are if you avoid noticing them or fixing them once you do!
Keep that #growthmindset growing.
Step two of addressing unconscious bias is opening up dialog: “encouraging a culture of conversation…having well-meaning conversations…building a foundation of openness to boost authenticity and empathy” are a few of the powerful statements shared in a Forbes article addressing leadership for equality.
We have opened up the floor to our coaching staff to verbalize the thoughts and realizations we are having along the way and continue learning from each other. Our coaches will also be open and have well-meaning conversations within our community.
3. Responding better to racist/inappropriate comments
No one is perfect and sometimes our words don’t match our feelings but isn’t always obvious what may actually be hurtful to someone else. Hopefully steps 1 and 2 can open up our eyes and our hearts some more to catch things we may have missed before.
It isn’t about intent, it is about impact
Even if someone has a positive intent, there are just some comments and statements that have a negative, discriminating impact. We want to put a stop to those types of conversations should we ever hear anything!
Here is a list of responses for any type of inappropriate comment (originally from @sineadbovell):
“Could you clarify what you mean by that?”
“That doesn’t sound very funny to me…It sounds racist/inappropriate”
“As your friend, I feel obligated to let you know that that remark was racist/inappropriate”
“Is the person’s race relevant to this story?”
“That joke does not belong in 2020”
“Do you actually believe that? If so, how come?”
“I didn’t want to single you out before…but that comment made me uncomfortable, here’s why..”
“I know you were just trying to make a joke, but here is why it was offensive..”
“Hey! I wanted to follow up on why I responded with “yikes” to your comment earlier….”
“I really don’t feel comfortable when you make comments like that”
These statements don’t need to be confrontational and we hope it encourages people to continually speak up, put an end to inappropriate comments, and offers us a follow-up opportunity to address why we felt it was not okay to say.
Take comfort in knowing that calling people out is never easy or comfortable, but it’s the right thing to do, and we are here and willing to do the hard stuff.
4. Addressing the Public Health Issue that is Racism
CrossFit Oyster Point’s mission is to help people live their healthiest and fittest version of life. We are learning more and more how health is not only defined by how much you can squat, how fast you can run a mile or what your blood pressure is…it encompasses so many other areas too.
Racism impacts Public Health because of the limited access people of color have to resources that allow them to fulfill these other areas. They include, mental, social, economic, educational success and stability, and environment.
If we are truly dedicated to having a positive impact on everyone’s health, we need to also start addressing these areas too. We will be coming up with ideas together as a coaching team and as a community together to find some solutions where we can help. Again, send me your ideas as well to email@example.com.
We have taken the first steps of listening and learning, now we will put our knowledge into action as best as we can. CrossFitOP is dedicated and committed to continuing to learn and improve until racism is eradicated from our society.
On behalf of the entire CrossFitOP Staff, we love you!