Affinity Groups Are Like Teams
Updated: Aug 12, 2022
Educator and endurance runner May Lu took the time to answer the question: "Are race-based affinity groups divisive?" She draws a parallel between joining a BIPOC affinity group with joining a running team.
You can watch more of May's story about how she started running via BlackToeRunning on Instagram. She also writes on cohort21.com about her experience understanding her cultural identity:
I don’t really fit in fully with the Chinese culture or the Canadian culture. I am very much a happy mix and blend of Canadian and Chinese; hence, people have coined it “Canadian born Chinese”. This is an awkward space both generation and culture wise, but this is me. I can’t change it, I can’t do it differently, so I learned to accept and embrace me!
May Lu - Educator and Endurance Runner
Being a person of colour and in race-based affinity groups I think is a very impactful thing.
And one of the first things I felt being in a race-based affinity groups is a sense of understanding, a sense of belonging, and a community.
I don't think that can lead to racial division because I very much see this similarly to other aspects of my identity. I also identify as a runner and I run on a run team. And I see being part of a race-based affinity group like being part of a team. And when you're training for a sport you want to be on a team with people doing the same sport as you. And so I run with a team of runners. And if we were to say, participate in a baseball team or a basketball team, we wouldn't be training the same skills.
And so when I look at race-based affinity groups it's kind of like another part of my identity. I am a person of colour and being in a race-based affinity group gives me a space where I am around people with similar experiences. It's really about finding community.
And so if we don't do race-based affinity groups it's - I see it as almost if we had a school and instead of having separate sports teams, we just put athletes together.