Imagine walking by a studio with a “help wanted” sign. As you look up, you see their advertising for the first time. In their advertising, you only see people who look nothing like you. Their marketing celebrates the exact opposite of you. As you scan inside the studio, more of the same. Not one person looks like you. Would you feel comfortable walking into that studio? Would you feel safe as people start to stare at you, keenly aware of how different you look?
Imagine taking the chance to walk inside and grab an application. As you do, you hear a cold voice say, “You must be looking for the studio across town. I’m sure you’ll be more comfortable there.” Or, you hear nothing at all as no one comes to greet or help you. Or worse, you’re threatened or attacked.
This scenario will be far too familiar if you identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, or People of Color), TGNC (Transgender or Gender Non-Conforming), or have a disability. If you identify as cisgender, white, and able-bodied, the chances are you have not had such an experience. The truth is, that scenario is a small fraction of what historically marginalized communities face. The question I pose to you is this: do you have the courage to take a stand for equity and justice?
Whether you answered yes, no, or I don’t know, Intro to Building an Inclusive and Anti-Racist Pilates Culture will take you on a journey of (un)learning. It will help you make that stand. You will learn how Pilates came to cater to the rich, white, and athletic and unlearn the truths about race and bias. Real-life stories will give you a better understanding of BIPOC experiences. The six principles of Pilates even have a role to play!
Take a raw look at how race and bias affect something that is supposed to heal, strengthen, and stabilize. Ask (and answer) tough questions. Be vulnerable. Learn how you can begin to create more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming spaces. In the comfort and safety of your own home, you can start building the knowledge and skills to be a part of the solution. By the time you complete the course, you will have a wealth of resources to choose from and five simple steps for where you can begin.
The world is in a state of civil unrest. Uncomfortable conversations about police violence, racial inequities, and systemic racism have become the norm. Local and federal governments are actively fighting to strip away LGBTQ+ rights and the rights of those with disabilities. The pandemic is still raging. It’s all so chaotic, and it’s the perfect time for some (un)learning.