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Being Black in America sometimes means feeling guilty for trying to be ok.

I haven’t really written much this year. I’ve been fortunate to have had a few pieces published at LEVEL and I have just begun writing my first book but otherwise, I haven’t been able to bring myself to sit and write because doing so would mean diving headlong into trauma.

I did my best to avoid the stories. Ahmaud Aubery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and others. I did my best to avoid it all.

The anger and sadness of it all never really eluded me. Nor did the internal swelling that comes when one wants to say or write all the things. Or at the very least, feel like you should say and write all the things. …

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Photo: Samad Malik Photography

Last week I wrote about my experience running while Black, in response to the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a Georgia man murdered by two White men while out on a run. My story detailed what amounted to a drive-by stop and frisk: NYPD officers suspecting that I might be bothering White women on a group run in the park when in reality, I was coaching my runners’ group.

My account is just one of many. Harassment from law enforcement and overzealous White people continues. …

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Photo illustration. Sources: Eva Blanco/Getty Images, EyeEm/Getty Images

A friend of mine owns a company that coaches endurance athletes, and I helped him get his company off the ground for a few years. We offered running, cycling, and swimming coaching to clients ranging all levels, whether it was beginners running their first 5K or elite triathletes and ultra-marathoners. I still remember how he tricked me — a former sprinter — into working for him.

He’s one of my best friends, so when he casually asked me to coach a marathon group, I said sure — but as a former sprinter, I could barely run a 5k then. …


Shane Paul Neil

Writer. Bylines @LevelMag @thegrio @NBCBLK and @Huffpo. Former Weekend Editor @TheGrio. Co-creator of the Good Talk Podcast Network..

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