Monday, December 14, 2009

In Silver Spring and Elsewhere, Black Skateboarding Surges

I recently wrote about the changing face of skateboarding, and how the population of skaters in and around Silver Spring looks very different from the days when Lisa Jaeggi made her short film, No No Skateboarding (2005). The majority of skaters in that film appear to be white, but in Silver Spring today, most skaters are black and hispanic.

We saw that in the 30 or so skaters who showed up at Park & Planning's November 4th community meeting about the Woodside Skate Spot — there may have been 5 white skaters there.

Skateboarding is an incredibly accessible sport because kids don't have to pay fees to participate in leagues, and they don't need to buy uniforms or have parents drop them off and pick them up for practice. All a kid needs to get started is a skateboard and some concrete.

I've talked to many minority skaters in Silver Spring who have never participated in a single camp or any organized program during summers. Many of them view skateboarding as the thing that keeps them active and focused, and keeps them away from negative influences in their lives.

Pro-skater and friend of many Silver Spring skaters, Darren Harper, talked to me about the shift he's seen during the past few years, and how it's not unusual today to see many kids in the hood skateboarding, and even bringing skateboards to school.

This trend of increased participation among blacks in skateboarding, is happening here and in many parts of the country. From Black skateboarding surges in the sport's next generation.

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