How Skateboarding Flipped Its White Male Image

It’s a sport to be enjoyed by all.

For many, skateboarding still conjures up a certain image.

It might be of Californian dudes named Brad and Jay tearing up sun-baked swimming pools in the 1970s — their tanned torsos and blonde hair contrasting perfectly with blue skies and billowing palm trees — or perhaps, since the rise of street-based skateboarding in the 1990s, it could be a roving band of risk-takers, usurping public squares, stairs, and handrails to create a punk alternative to “normal” city life.


While both these versions of the sport still thrive, skateboarding is no longer the preserve of urban rebels.

There are around 50 million riders, thousands of skate parks worldwide, and skating has been officially recognized as an Olympic sport. From the testosterone-fuelled features of Thrasher magazine, to the life styling of Vogue; from the skater girls and boys of Kabul, to the Native American reservations of South Dakota; from the skate parks of Brazil, to the streets of Shenzhen — skateboarding is everywhere, and it’s for everyone.

Amid this burgeoning and diverse world, Pushing Boarders — the first-ever international conference on skateboarding — was held in London in early June. Organized by skateboarding cooperative Reverb, SkatePal, and Long Live Southbank, and hosted at the Bartlett School of Architecture and the House of Vans, the event brought together riders, activists, writers, city authorities, academics, charity workers, and creatives to discuss the issues facing skateboarding and its engagement with the wider world.

Perhaps the most pressing question raised at Pushing Boarders is who skaters actually are. There’s a growing need to recognize the many riders who differ from “normal” white, straight masculinity. Author and educator Kyle Beachy showed that skateboarding is not without a “hideous strain” or racism, sexism, and homophobia, and compellingly demanded that such attitudes be called out whenever they occur.

Breaking down barriers

Nonetheless, in its general outlook skateboarding remains open and inclusive. At the conference, writers such as Anthony Pappalardo and Marie Dabbadie, and female riders including Elissa Steamer, Jaime Reyes, Alexis Sablone, Danni Gallagher, and Lucy Adams all argued passionately to give women and queer riders a much greater presence in the sport. Women-only sessions and diversity-focused magazines, such as Skateism, are just some of the ways that skaters and activists are trying to make the sport more inclusive for all genders.

Similar issues are also evident around ethnicity. In their session, academic Neftalie Williams and author Karl Watson explored how people of color have made extraordinary contributions to skateboarding, culture, and industry. “Skateboarding community embraces all ways of life, whether you are black or white, old or young … it embraces all people,” declared Watson. These discussions showed how skateboarding’s qualities of friendship, sharing, and independence all help to break down barriers and overcome differences.

But there are also more structured ways that skateboarding is being used to help others. Social enterprises such as Skateistan, Girls Skate India, Make Life Skate Life, Skate-Aid, Skate Nottingham, The Far Academy, and Free Movement Skateboarding fund skate lessons, design education, new skate parks, and more, as a way of reaching out to disempowered youth and other disadvantaged members of society.

Charlie Davis, founder of SkatePal — a nonprofit organization working to support young Palestinians through skateboarding — explained: “A skate park is not just for skaters. It’s a community space, a safe space, which is even better.”

Strength in diversity

Skateboarding is increasingly becoming a part of urban life, so the session on how to build a “skate friendly city” explored how enlightened places such as Malmö, Nottingham, and Hull are positively welcoming skateboarding. In London, campaign group Long Live Southbank have successfully kept the skate park in the iconic “Undercroft” spot, and are now seeking to extend this space even further. It was particularly inspiring to hear from Malmö’s official skateboarding coordinator Gustav Eden, about how the Swedish city became a “skateboarding octopus” with legs of skate parks, skateable sculptures, DIY construction, and even the skateboard-centered Bryggeriet high school.

Pushing Boarders extended skateboarding’s landscape into the creative world of photography, writing, and academic research. Images by Fred Mortagne, Arto Saari, Samuel McGuire, and others captured skateboarding culture in locations as far-flung as Peru and Palestine. Work by authors and academics including Paul O’Connor, Åsa Bäckström, Gregory Snyder, Sander Hölsgens, Dwayne Dixon, Tara Jepsen, Becky Beal, Thom Callan-Riley, Ocean Howell, and myself delved into topics such as videography, public space, skate competitions, education, age, regionalism, and professionalism. This diversity and depth of experience showed how skateboarding operates in close relation to other exploratory and artistic practices, encouraging experimentation, innovation, and even entrepreneurialism.

The ConversationAbove all, Pushing Boarders delivered a powerful message about skateboarding and its role in society as a whole: Skateboarding is at its best when it openly questions, explores, and welcomes — rather than when it is narrowly comfortable, judgemental, or exclusionary.

As the French-born, Malmö-based, transgender, and non-binary identifying Marie Dabbabie asserted, “cool dude masculinity no longer defines skateboarding.” Freed from the confines of California, having cast aside narrow stereotypes as to who a rider should be, skateboarding’s newfound diversity is its greatest strength.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Sports
via Smithfly.com

"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

"The world is your waterbed," Smithfly says on its site. But the big difference is that no one has ever had to worry about falling asleep and then drowning on their waterbed.

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While it is possible that one could wade into the water, unzip the tent, have a pleasant slumber, and wake up in the morning feeling safe and refreshed, there are countless things that could go terribly wrong.

The tent could float down the river and you wake up in the middle of nowhere.

You could have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This guy.

It could spring a leak and you could drown while wrapped up in eight feet of heavy nylon.

A strong current could tip the tent-boat over.

There isn't any way to steer the darn thing.

This guy.

Mashable shared a charming video of the tent on Twitter and it was greeted with a chorus of people sharing the many ways one could die while staying the night in the Shoal Tent.

Oh yeah, it's expensive, too.

Even though the general public seems to think the Shoal Tent is a terrible idea, according to the Smithfly's website, it's currently sold out due to "popular demand" and it will be "available in 6-8 weeks." Oh, and did we mention it costs $1,999?

Lifestyle
via zoezimmm / Imgur

There are few more perniciously dangerous conspiracy theories being shared online than the idea that vaccines cause autism.

This has led to a decline in Americans vaccinating their children, resulting in a massive increase in measles. This year has already seen over 1,200 cases of measles, a disease that was eradicated in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

A 2015 Pew Research study found that 83% of Americans think the measles vaccine is safe, while 9% think it's not. Another 7% are not sure. But when you look at the polls that include parents of minors, the numbers get worse, 13% believe that the measles vaccine is unsafe.

There is zero truth to the idea that vaccines cause autism. In fact, a recent study of over 650,000 children found there was no link whatsoever.

RELATED: A new study of over 650,000 children finds — once again — that vaccines don't cause autism

A great example of the lack of critical thinking shown by anti-vaxxers was a recent exchange on Facebook shared to Imgur by zoezimmm.

A parent named Kenleigh at a school in New Mexico shared a photo of a sign at reads: "Children will not be enrolled unless an immunization record is presented and immunizations are up-to-date."

This angered a Facebook user who went on a senseless tirade against vaccinations.

"That's fine, I'll just homeschool my kids," she wrote. At least they won't have to worry about getting shot up in school or being bullied, or being beat up / raped by the teachers!"

To defend her anti-vaccination argument, she used a factually incorrect claim that Amish people don't vaccinate their children. She also incorrectly claimed that the MMR vaccine is ineffective and used anecdotal evidence from her and her father to claim that vaccinations are unnecessary.

She also argued that "every human in the world is entitled to their own opinion." Which is true, but doesn't mean that wildly incorrect assumptions about health should be tolerated.

She concluded her argument with a point that proves she doesn't care about facts: "It doesn't matter what you say is not going to change my mind."

RELATED: 12 medical professionals shared their most memorable anti-vaxxer stories and you won't stop face-palming

While the anti-vaxxer was incorrect in her points, it must also be pointed out that some of the people who argued with her on Facebook were rude. That should never be tolerated in this type of discourse, but unfortunately, that's the world of social media.

Here's the entire exchange:

via zoezimmm / imgur


via zoezimmm / imgur


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via zoezimmm / imgur


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via zoezimmm / imgur

The post received a ton of responses on imgur. Here are just a few:

"'In my opinion...' 'I believe...' That's not how facts work."

"You're entitled to your opinion. And everyone else is entitled to call you a dumbass."

"'What I do with my children is no concern to you at all.' Most of the time, true. When your kid might give mine polio, not true."

"If my child can't bring peanut butter, your child shouldn't bring preventable diseases."

It's important to call out people who spread dangerous views, especially how they pertain to health, on social media. But people should do so with respect and civility.

Health

He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

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Communities
via Imgur

Every few years there's something that goes mega viral because people can't decide what it is.

There was the famous "is it blue and black, or white and gold" dress?

There was the audio recording that said either "yanny" or "Laurel."

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Viral


Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape www.youtube.com

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

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popular