If you’re a person of color, you quickly found out that most industries employ at least some instances of structural racism– and the sporting industry is included.
The NFL and NBA are predominantly Black, which curtails the amount of open racial discrimination, but things are totally different when it comes to skateboarding, and Na-Kel Smith wasn’t afraid to hop on Instagram live and speak his truth. The California born skater
The chat begins with Na-Kel asking California born skater Kevin White what it’s like to be a Black skateboarder– and as expected, the answer is twofold. “It’s beautiful. But it feels like we have to protect ourselves and protect what we’re feeling because we’re often outnumbered,” White says.
He goes on to explain that even when you are around other Black skaters, they might not be on the same wavelength as you or grew up in a similar environment, which makes it hard to relate to them because they never want to speak up on prevalent issues.
The conversation quickly turned to drinking and how people can get too comfortable and begin saying the N-word. They even explain the issues within the Black community, recalling how one person, who’s from Australian, but has Nigerian roots refused to identity as Black but had no problem using the n-word. Smith declined to give specifics on who was guilty of such behavior but did call out former Thrasher editor-in-chief, Jake Phelps, who he says used the N-word around him several times.
Smith gets really honest and even says that “some of your favorite skate companies don’t give a fuck about the black man.”
Listen to the entire chat –which provides an in-depth behind the scenes look at the world of skateboarding– up above.