A lot of my early academic work has been framed by Franz Fanon's depiction of European colonialism and racism. These continue to have a grotesque impact on the lives of Black people including their generational displacement across the world for 400 years. Fanon's psychoanalytic interpretations can be transferred to all social spaces of suffocation experienced by the black man in the western and white-centred world. The cycling world as well.
The ITV cycling commentator Ned Boulting asked me write an article for his Road Book J0urnal in June 2020. It was an invitation for me to share elements of my academic research which spoke directly to the Black Lives Matter anti-racism protests across the world following the publically broadcast killing of African American George Floyd. He was suffocated to death by a white American police officer.
"George Floyd’s cry of “I can’t breathe” in the midst of his suffocation and subsequent murder by a white policeman is symbolic of rupture experienced in the career potential of elite Black-British cyclists from the 1970s to the current decade."
A revised version of the article was published by the Daily Telegraph in June 2020:
The motive of my articles were not one of strategic essentialism in an articulation of the Black-British experience in cycling. The cyclists do not see themselves as victims of a racist system. In fact the majority of the cyclists are 'system busters' by their successes in the sport. They beat the best of their peers.
I have been able to bring together some unique stories of Black-British cyclists who show their desire and determination to elevate their talents beyond the poisonous oppression of racism that they faced.
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without its roots, states Marcus Garvey. I am with him. It only goes to show. Many new enthusiastic Black-British and minority ethnic groups coming to the sport seem unaware of this Black-British history. In fact, even some of the Black-British cyclists featured in my research did not know about each other. Their stories have been sidelined, marginalised from mainstream knowledge.
My articles make an appeal to learn from history, for bettering opportunities for all in the future of the sport. The increase of ethnic diverse participation in cycling and the 'excellence' that will emerge from this must be protected and allowed to live and breathe. It can thrive if the world of cycling shows action in solidarity with anti-racism, now, and continually in the future.