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Sophie Gochman op-ed and follow ups.

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    Sophie Gochman op-ed and follow ups.

    Well, Ms. Gochman wrote a thoughtful and excellent op-ed on white privilege in the H/J community. Sadly the follow ups were significantly lacking in any evidence of meaningful thought about this subject of racism and white privilege in this sport. Missy Clark's piece, however, was an excellent example of how incredibly clueless too many Americans are. Just my opinion.
    kenyagirl

    #2
    I Felt Sophie’s piece was written with spite and anger, and directed at all of the horse world. I’ve been in the horse world a long time and I am sure there is people that feel that way, but I know I do not and all the people that I’m associate with don’t feel/act that way either. I would like a little bit more credit.

    Comment


      #3
      Let me get this straight - we've got a bunch of (incredibly) privileged white people arguing over who has a better take on race relations and police brutality? SMH

      Skip these articles and read a book. Start here.

      https://www.booktable.net/black-live...r-reading-list
      "So relax! Let's have some fun out here! This game's fun, OK? Fun goddamnit." Crash Davis; Bull Durham

      Comment


        #4
        Sophie's screed was reflective primarily of her age and privileged background. I didn't find it particularly useful other than as a bomb tossed into the room to generate a reaction.

        Missy Clark's response, posted today, is, to me, much more reflective of the reality of hunter/jumper world.

        IMO, the primary barrier to participation in this sport is economic, not racism.
        "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
        that's even remotely true."

        Homer Simpson

        Comment


          #5
          Agreed.

          I was saddened (though unfortunately, not shocked) by the responses to her piece. Us white people can talk all day about our friends who are POC or that we don't specifically here/see racism. Shut-up and listen to the people who are experiencing it.

          Comment


            #6
            Am I correct that Sophie Gochman is 17? I admire her passion. It’s a passion often lost with age. It’s also a passion that comes from a perspective of youth. I wholeheartedly agree with her, but when you’re 17, you’re also not yet aware of some of the nuances of how the world works. Things look, pardon the idiom, “black and white,” when the reality is that things come in a lot of shades of gray.

            It’s disappointing to see so many adults tearing her down in social media comments sections.

            The Missy Clark response didn’t necessarily anger me. She was trying to clarify any misconceptions she felt were created by Ms. Gochman. But at the same time, reading it reminded me how [some] horse people (especially those absorbed by competition) have this way of burying their heads in the sand, not really caring about anything that doesn’t [in their opinion] directly affect the horse world. The AIDS fund was a perfect example: horse people were contracting the disease, so they did something. Since Ms. Clark doesn’t believe there are racial tensions in the horse world (only socioeconomic barriers), she’s willing to excuse herself from taking action.

            Instead of adults saying why they believe 17 year old Ms. Gochman is wrong, maybe they should be stopping and asking themselves why they are being perceived in this manner by the younger generation. Even if you don’t believe you’re doing anything wrong, we can always find ways to do better.
            Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by MissAriel View Post
              Let me get this straight - we've got a bunch of (incredibly) privileged white people arguing over who has a better take on race relations and police brutality? SMH

              Skip these articles and read a book. Start here.

              https://www.booktable.net/black-live...r-reading-list
              These Op/Eds were posted by COTH. The whole point was to generate discussion. And, given the demographics of the COTH readership, that means that many (most?) of the participants in any resulting discussion are going to be "privileged white people." So what's your point? That COTH has no right to publish these OP/Eds? That we're not allowed to discuss them unless we're people of color lacking in economic privilege?
              "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
              that's even remotely true."

              Homer Simpson

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by MissAriel View Post
                Let me get this straight - we've got a bunch of (incredibly) privileged white people arguing over who has a better take on race relations and police brutality? SMH

                Skip these articles and read a book. Start here.

                https://www.booktable.net/black-live...r-reading-list
                Not only that. Last I checked the social media comments, a bunch of white folks with horses were arguing over how they are not “privileged.”
                Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post
                  Sophie's screed was reflective primarily of her age and privileged background. I didn't find it particularly useful other than as a bomb tossed into the room to generate a reaction.

                  Missy Clark's response, posted today, is, to me, much more reflective of the reality of hunter/jumper world.

                  IMO, the primary barrier to participation in this sport is economic, not racism.
                  White families hold 90% of the wealth in this country; black families hold 2.6%. For every $100 earned by white families, black families earned $57.60.

                  Maybe there aren't people posted up at the horse show entrances shooing away black people, but to say that finances are a barrier to the sport and not acknowledge the lack of generational wealth for most black families and the overall racial wealth gap is to grossly oversimplify the problem.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I had to go look for Missy's piece so I'm linking it here: https://www.chronofhorse.com/article...ween-the-lines

                    I think Missy's piece is maybe a poster child for in fact what is wrong with our sport, and why we have issues. Missy starts out defensive and spends time tearing down Sophie's article, and talking about how from her point of view - as a white BNT - there's not really a problem. With respect... no one thinks BNTs, which are pretty much 100% white in English horse sports in the US, have insight into the problem. If they did, I'm sure they'd be addressing it. I can understand it's hard to see a lot of issues from that position.

                    She talks about how she - and the government - are not racist because she spends a lot of time getting visas for her workers. Yeah, um the reason that's an issue especially now, but even 10 years ago, even 20 years ago, that's racism. If you've spent any time following immigration policy in this country, it should be crystal clear.

                    "We raised money for AIDS that one time." Nice but not really addressing the issue of racism or of some of the very real history of our sports around race. How many hunt clubs and other longtime institutions of horse sport only allowed white members as long as they could? How many of those would be comfortable places for a family of color to join today?

                    If someone tells you that they're uncomfortable coming into our sport because of the color of their skin, listen to them. Their feelings are real. Most likely, their feelings are shared by a lot of people who will never tell you they're uncomfortable and who will never even consider coming to our sport in the first place.

                    Our sport has to be a place for all families, all kids, all people to participate, if we want our sport to thrive. We need to do more to ensure that there are, in fact, so many black families on the showgrounds, not just at one show, but at all the shows, that you don't know all their names.
                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by B-burg Dressage View Post
                      Shut-up and listen to the people who are experiencing it.
                      So, who would those people of color riding and competing within the hunter/jumper world and speaking out about racism within the sport be? Because we're talking about a very narrow space: people with the economic wherewithal to participate in this sport.

                      We're not talking about racism in society at large. Sophie Gochman's Op/Ed was about racism within hunter/jumper world and how horribly racist all the H/J riders and trainers are. So I guess everybody except people of color who ride and compete in hunter/jumper world ought to shut up?


                      "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                      that's even remotely true."

                      Homer Simpson

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jhg140 View Post

                        White families hold 90% of the wealth in this country; black families hold 2.6%. For every $100 earned by white families, black families earned $57.60.

                        Maybe there aren't people posted up at the horse show entrances shooing away black people, but to say that finances are a barrier to the sport and not acknowledge the lack of generational wealth for most black families and the overall racial wealth gap is to grossly oversimplify the problem.
                        And this is pervasive beyond what we think of as rich or poor.

                        For example, my first horse, inexpensive as he was, was financed by my grandparents, who were very poor at one point, but by the time I was a teenager, they lived in a paid off house with a comfortable social security stipend. They worked hard to buy and pay for that house and they did not have it easy.

                        But: if they had been black, they never would have been approved for a home loan in that time and place. They would have been renters their whole lives. Their income at that time would have been consumed by the rent - in Southern California - and when they died they would have had no assets to pass to the next generation.

                        That's just one tiny data point in all of this, one moment in time that made the difference between my grandparents financially supporting me instead of me financially supporting my grandparents with my part-time job. And it's why I as a white girl had access to riding lessons and eventually horses when mirror-me as black girl would have had neither, even if everything else had been the same.
                        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by jhg140 View Post

                          White families hold 90% of the wealth in this country; black families hold 2.6%. For every $100 earned by white families, black families earned $57.60.

                          Maybe there aren't people posted up at the horse show entrances shooing away black people, but to say that finances are a barrier to the sport and not acknowledge the lack of generational wealth for most black families and the overall racial wealth gap is to grossly oversimplify the problem.
                          I agree. But that's a separate issue. You're expanding the discussion beyond the parameters that were initially set, which was an assertion that people of color do not participate in this sport because H/J professionals and riders are racists and keep them out. My contention is that if person of color rolls up with Georgina Bloomberg's budget, pretty much any BNT is going to open the door, roll out the welcome mat, and treat her with every courtesy and consideration extended to anyone else.
                          "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                          that's even remotely true."

                          Homer Simpson

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post

                            I agree. But that's a separate issue. You're expanding the discussion beyond the parameters that were initially set, which was an assertion that people of color do not participate in this sport because H/J professionals and riders are racists and keep them out. My contention is that if person of color rolls up with Georgina Bloomberg's budget, pretty much any BNT is going to open the door, roll out the welcome mat, and treat her with every courtesy and consideration extended to anyone else.
                            But isn't that part of the issue? Racism isn't just "oh you're black so I won't be your trainer because I don't like black people, even though you have gobs of money". Why aren't more little black kids riding? Perhaps finances, maybe geographic location, among other issues of access. Why are these issues of access more prevalent for black families vs white? Because of racist systems and institutions dating back 150+ years that have not allowed black families to amass the same amount of generational wealth as white families.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post

                              So, who would those people of color riding and competing within the hunter/jumper world and speaking out about racism within the sport be? Because we're talking about a very narrow space: people with the economic wherewithal to participate in this sport.

                              We're not talking about racism in society at large. Sophie Gochman's Op/Ed was about racism within hunter/jumper world and how horribly racist all the H/J riders and trainers are. So I guess everybody except people of color who ride and compete in hunter/jumper world ought to shut up?

                              A. The fact that there aren't many should tip you off that there is a problem. Both as a society and as a horse-world. The very fact that the wealthy POC choose to spend their money elsewhere should point to an issue.

                              B. There are some but I'm not going to speak for them. I'll also clarify that I wasn't saying that we can't have opinions and share them. But I am 100% saying that just because you may not see it, doesn't mean it's not happening because the POC are saying that it is. That is what we all need to listen to. Sorta like all those lovely people who say that sexual harassment must not be a real issue because that BNT was so nice to them that time he came for a clinic.

                              C. I still call bulls**t on her not knowing of or hearing anything racist. It doesn't have to be blatant or aggressive to not be racist. That's what we all need to learn more about (myself included). The little things we may not even realize are happening that make POC feel marginalized.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by poltroon View Post

                                And this is pervasive beyond what we think of as rich or poor.

                                For example, my first horse, inexpensive as he was, was financed by my grandparents, who were very poor at one point, but by the time I was a teenager, they lived in a paid off house with a comfortable social security stipend. They worked hard to buy and pay for that house and they did not have it easy.

                                But: if they had been black, they never would have been approved for a home loan in that time and place. They would have been renters their whole lives. Their income at that time would have been consumed by the rent - in Southern California - and when they died they would have had no assets to pass to the next generation.

                                That's just one tiny data point in all of this, one moment in time that made the difference between my grandparents financially supporting me instead of me financially supporting my grandparents with my part-time job. And it's why I as a white girl had access to riding lessons and eventually horses when mirror-me as black girl would have had neither, even if everything else had been the same.
                                THIS.
                                Not ONLY do white people hold the economic power, but also the governmental power (closely tied, obviously) - Congress: 90% white, Governors: 96% white, the list goes on. (source: White Fragility, Robin D'Angelo, 2016-2017 - HIGHLY recommend the read if you've not picked it up.)

                                It's all well and good to not be overtly racist - but what Missy's editorial fails to acknowledge is the implicit biases and systemic racism that have created the world we live in today, and the subset of that world that is the H/J community.
                                - Hadley -

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by Bobby7 View Post
                                  I Felt Sophie’s piece was written with spite and anger, and directed at all of the horse world. I’ve been in the horse world a long time and I am sure there is people that feel that way, but I know I do not and all the people that I’m associate with don’t feel/act that way either. I would like a little bit more credit.
                                  I don't disagree. Sophie is angry. And she should be. With all due respect - this isn't about getting "credit" for not being racist. This is about dismantling systems of white supremacy that have built up the H/J world to be systemically exclusive of POC.
                                  - Hadley -

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    In my opinion, it seemed like Missy's article sought to defend the H/J community without first trying to understand - deeply and in good faith - the issues that Sophie's article raised. Partly because of this, it comes off as a bit condescending. Also, the article fails to take into account the significant ties between race and socioeconomic status in this country. These are nuanced issues that can't simply be tossed aside, at least if we want to have a meaningful and substantive conversation.

                                    Missy accuses Sophie of painting with too broad a brush, then does the same thing in her article, just in support of a different conclusion. An influential and powerful white woman in the H/J community asking one black man (who relies on this community for his paychecks) whether he feels he's been discriminated against *hardly* makes for a scientific study on the issue. Just because Missy treats her grooms with respect does not mean mistreatment isn't a prevalent issue. Just because Missy hasn't personally witnessed racism in the H/J world doesn't mean it's non-existent.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by NoSuchPerson View Post

                                      I agree. But that's a separate issue. You're expanding the discussion beyond the parameters that were initially set, which was an assertion that people of color do not participate in this sport because H/J professionals and riders are racists and keep them out. My contention is that if person of color rolls up with Georgina Bloomberg's budget, pretty much any BNT is going to open the door, roll out the welcome mat, and treat her with every courtesy and consideration extended to anyone else.
                                      I would be surprised to come across any trainer of note who explicitly and specifically would turn down a black rider who asked to take lessons and followed up with a burning cross. That's not what this is about. It's about the subtle, wearing, grinding assumptions that make being a person of color just harder every freaking day. That take the joy out of what should be a joyful activity.

                                      The problem is that people of color don't show up in the first place. In part, they don't want to be the only family of color there. In part, many kids start riding because their friends ride. In part, they never think of it as a sport for their kids in the first place even if they have the money. And the situation is pervasive. Maybe Missy welcomes this family with open arms. But, she's not the only person the family interacts with. They go to the tack shop - will they be welcomed there when seeking out breeches and a helmet? What are the ringside interactions like among the parents? If a latino man is watching his daughter ride, will another parent mistake him for a worker and ask him to perform a task? When you're the only person who looks like you around, it doesn't take many thoughtless comments to make someone feel this isn't the sport for them. And a lot of those thoughtless comments won't be made when another white person is in the room.

                                      One of the analogies that resonated for me was when I realized that there are men who don't believe, don't understand, that women are catcalled. And yet most women have a story and I don't know any women who would believe it isn't a thing. Even if a woman tells him so, they'll say she must have imagined it, she must be overthinking it, he's never seen it. And that's exactly it: men don't catcall women accompanied by other men.
                                      If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by MustangTwist View Post
                                        In my opinion, it seemed like Missy's article sought to defend the H/J community without first trying to understand - deeply and in good faith - the issues that Sophie's article raised. Partly because of this, it comes off as a bit condescending. Also, the article fails to take into account the significant ties between race and socioeconomic status in this country. These are nuanced issues that can't simply be tossed aside, at least if we want to have a meaningful and substantive conversation.

                                        Missy accuses Sophie of painting with too broad a brush, then does the same thing in her article, just in support of a different conclusion. An influential and powerful white woman in the H/J community asking one black man (who relies on this community for his paychecks) whether he feels he's been discriminated against *hardly* makes for a scientific study on the issue. Just because Missy treats her grooms with respect does not mean mistreatment isn't a prevalent issue. Just because Missy hasn't personally witnessed racism in the H/J world doesn't mean it's non-existent.
                                        You said this so well, thank you. I feel like my response was a flail in comparison.
                                        If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

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