Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Rant about the way some Indians talk about Black people

Recently I went on a long angry rant after being triggered by an example of the stereotypical and nonsensical way some Indians in America talk about Black People. This blog post is a near faithful reproduction of that incident.

I have a friend who has been in the United States for the last 3 or 4 years after spending all his life in India.

One of his favorite conversation topics is to talk about how he ended up in an unknown part of a Big American City by mistake. The American City changes with every narration. And that the place was a ghetto and full of Black people. And it felt very dangerous and he felt scared for his life. 

Recently when we were together and alone with each other, he started on his favorite topic of conversation again  - this time the Big City was another new city not mentioned in any of the previous narrations. That pissed me off very badly and starting me off on a long rant.



The following is a slightly modified and enhanced version of that rant:

Stop talking about Black people like they are criminals or animals. You have no fucking idea what you are talking about. 

What you are not seeing is the power structure established by White Supremacy which has been telling you that 'Black people are intrinsically dangerous', 'Black people are naturally prone to be violent', 'Black people are statistically more inclined to a life of crime', etc. 

You have bought into all that bullshit hook, line, and sinker. By doing so and propogating that bullshit all over the place, you have inadvertently become a cog in the wheel of the White Supremacy machinery, helping maintain and enhance its power and influence.

Another thing you don't see is that for a White Supremacist, you are as much a Black Person as a Black Person is even though you are Indian and Brown.  

This is a country that brought Black people over as Slaves. The country's wealth was built on the forced labor of the Black slaves. The slaves were treated as property. Most of the founding fathers of this nation - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, et al - all owned Black people as slaves. Very ironic that they were talking about 'ALL MEN BEING EQUAL' in the Declaration of Independence while they were owning Human Beings as property. 

You get to go to a place and say 'This place is a Ghetto. This place has only black people. I feel scared for my life here.' only because that is how White Supremacy wants it to be. For the Black people to be segregated to specific areas of big cities where the income levels are very low. And for Black people to not be seen as normal human beings but as natural born criminals or animals.

Even with Black people being so segregated and disadvantaged, there have been cases where they did very well economically and White People could not tolerate that. Enhance your knowledge of the real history of the United States and learn about Deep Greenwood (Tulsa), Oklahoma which grew into a very prosperous Black Urban community in the United States in the early 1900s, and was dubbed the "Negro Wall Street." White rioters destroyed Deep Greenwood neighbourhood killing many of the Black residents on May 31, 1921.

The American Civil War was fought from 1861 to 1865 over the issue of Slavery and ended with a decisive victory for the Union forces over the secessionist Confederate forces, and a resounding victory against the practice of slavery in the United States. Over time, the White Supremacists have muddied the waters by implying that the Civil War was fought over States' rights and not Slavery. And the country is littered with monuments and memorials for Confederate figures in an apparent attempt at reminding Black people of their inferior place in the social heirarchy.

Black people are being murdered by law enforcement folks at abnormal rates in the modern version of lynching. Michael Brown,  Freddie GreyEric Garner, Tamir Rice, and other Black people - regular people going about their life inconspicuously - should not have been famous for any reason. However their name is now forever associated with unfair killings by law enforcement folks, and giving rise to the Black Lives Matter movement. Most White People feign total ignorance of why there is a Black Lives Matter movement, and throw out nonsense like 'All Lives Matter' and 'Blue Lives Matter', etc.

White Supremacists prefer Black People to be pigeon-holed in their ghettos and be treated as subhumans. In 2008 one of those Black People made it out of the ghettos and ran for and won the US Presidency race. Not only that. He turned out to be a very able and popular President winning the re-election race in 2012 and so becoming the President of the United States for a full 8 years period.

The whole of White America went into a racist meltdown and installed a strong proponent of White Supremacist ideals as the successor to the First Black President of the United States. Racist and race-baiting Conman Dotard was and is unfit to be the President of the United States on every possible criteria but made it to the Presidency on the racist backlash to a Black Presidency.

And Mr. Dotard has been furthering the cause of MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN ever since he came to power. Almost every legislative measure taken by this Administration is aimed at making the lives of Black People and People of Color miserable. 

Here is someone else saying the same thing in a different way and resonating with many people:


END OF RANT

One day, the World will evolve to a place where every person is treated with respect and courtesy irrespective of their skin color. And not pre-judged as criminals or animals or something similar just because of their skin color. There is a lot of work to get there. Onwards, my friends.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Comparison of my performance at two marathons

I ran two marathons that were 20 days apart recently. First one was the Los Angeles Marathon on March 18, 2018. Second one was the Eisenhower Marathon in Abilene, KS on April 7, 2018. At both these marathons, my finish times were very close to my best times ever, and I had a lot of fun running these marathons! A sharp contrast to the recent years after running my previous completed marathon in 2009 when I had given up on running marathons altogether as too difficult for me. 

Successfully completing two marathons within 20 days, and remaining injury free while doing so is giving me the confidence that I can successfully incorporate marathon training and running into my daily life, and work successfully towards realizing my long-term goal of accomplishing the Boston Marathon Qualification (Which means I have to finish a marathon in 3h25m!) over the next 4-8 years. 

Analyzing the mile-by-mile breakdown of the two marathons has some interesting insights about my performance at the two marathons. 

  • FINISH TIMES : 5 hours 7 minutes at Los Angeles Marathon. 4 hours 56 Minutes at Eisenhower Marathon. A 11 minutes improvement over LA Marathon, and my best time ever.
  • MINUTES PER MILE MOVING AVERAGE :
    This is a good indicator of how steady my pace was through the 26+ miles distance of the marathon. Steadier the pace through the distance, the better it is for my body during the race, and afterwards during the recovery.
    • At the Los Angeles Marathon, I ran at a very consistent pace throughout to have the average pace to be in a narrow range between 11:00 min/mile and 11:30 min/mile pace to end with a final average pace of 11:27 min/mile. The steady pace resulted in an even split between the first half and the second half of the race. First half taking around 2h32m, while the second half taking around 2h35m.
    • At the Eisenhower Marathon, I started out very fast - with 8:48 & 8:44 min/mile for the first two miles - and slowed down considerably over the rest of the way to finish with a final average pace of 11:06 min/mile. This quick start and later fade-out resulted in a very lop-sided split between the first half and the second half of the race. The first half took around 2h12m, while the second half took 2h44m. 
While the Eisenhower Marathon resulted in my best time ever mainly because of the fast start, I am more satisfied about the steady race I ran at the Los Angeles Marathon, and hope to repeat the same steady running at every race in the future. 

The 2h12m finish for the first half of the Eisenhower Marathon (around 10 minutes per mile pace) does give rise to hopes that with proper training (consistent and sensible) over the next few months, I can successfully extend that pace to the entire race. Thereby achieving a personal best finish time of better than 4h30m.

As I have things set-up currently, one of the next Big City Marathons - Chicago Marathon - is on October 7th, 2018. Almost exactly 6 months away. Looks realistic that I can plan and work towards finishing the Chicago Marathon in 4h30m!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Awesome Experience Running the Los Angeles Marathon 2018

I am flying high after having an awesome experience at the Los Angeles Marathon 2018 on Sunday.


I had put in solid training for this event over the last 4 months, and it helped me finish the marathon in a faster than expected 5h07m14s; that was the foundation on which my terrific experience at the marathon was built on. 
Since taking on the goal of running a minimum of 30 miles every week towards the end of December 2017, I have been successful in that goal every week except one during which I was hampered by an abdominal muscle strain. 

With the 30 miles per week target as the over-arching goal, I planned my long runs towards the goal of being ready for a 26.2 miler on Mar 18th. 

With this consistent & sensible training over a long time, I was able to exceed my expectations by a fair margin on marathon day. I had expected a finish time close to 5h30m, and was pleasantly surprised to see it being closer to 5h mark than the 5h30m mark!

One of the main reasons I had signed up to run this marathon was the fact that Los Angeles Marathon is a BIG CITY MARATHON. I had run two marathons in the past - Philadelphia Marathon in 2008, and New York City Marathon in 2009. So I have a taste of big-city marathons, and remember having fond memories from each of the two marathons. 

Los Angeles Marathon 2018 met my thirst for the big city marathon thrills, and added its own flavors to make it an awesome experience. 

One big difference that stands out for me between the three marathons is the marathon course. Both Philly and NYC marathons had long stretches of the course far from residential and commercial areas - Philly had state parks & rivers, etc; NYC had many bridges and parks - and consequently, there were no spectators cheering at these inaccessible stretches. 

Los Angeles Marathon had no such breaks. Once we moved out of the starting point at Dodger Stadium as one big sea of runners, the entire course is never too far from a residential area or a commercial area till the finish line at Santa Monica Pier. Spectators were cheering us throughout making it feel like a wall of cheering spectators from the start to the finish! 

Even if they have signs cheering for someone specific, or a general message like "Go Random Stranger" or "I believe in you, total stranger", it is indeed very inspiring to be running past people cheering (for you). 

One thing that surprised & amazed me throughout was the number of people (regular people, not marathon volunteers) who were offering vaseline to the runners  - by holding up vaseline containers, or boards with multiple patches of vaseline for easy access. Looks like the general public in Los Angeles is well aware of the pains of long-distance runners, about the chafing in different parts of the body while on a 26.2 miles run. I was glad to get some vaseline from a woman at around the 18 miles mark, as my nipples were chafing badly; applying the vaseline gave instant relief. 

Some people were also offering some spray to alleviate cramping or itching for the runners. I didn't stop to find out more details about it, or make use of it myself. Will keep it in mind for the next big city marathon (most likely the Chicago Marathon 2018 in October).

Quite a few people were offering cut oranges, cut bananas, pretzels, cookies, candies, etc. along the way to supplement the water + gatorade + energy gels being offered by the event organizers at regular intervals.

It was awesome to see many Sikh people with traditional turbans among the people offering fruits and candies along the way. I high-fived a few folks with a sense of kinship.

With 24,000 runners running the marathon, it is to be expected for the portable toilets to be difficult to use - especially in the first few miles, even though the organizers had set up significant number of portable toilets all along the course. They had portable potties setup at every mile mark. I waited in line at a couple of portable toilets at the beginning, but gave up quickly deciding to try at the next one. :-) 

One time I had to wait in line for 4-5 minutes as I couldn't hold it in any longer. That made my 11th mile the slowest at 15m24s immediately after my fastest mile at 9m55s :-)
Close to the very first set of portable toilets after the one mile mark, a couple of ladies running next to me were discussing whether it makes sense to stay in line at these portable potties. What made this very interesting is the fact that the conversation was in Kannada language! It was a pleasant surprise for me to hear Kannada language in LA. The women too were surprised when I turned back amazed and responded in Kannada. :-)

All in all, the Los Angeles Marathon was a very well organized marathon with a great course and supportive crowd. I would run it again.