Top 200 Photos: #69

We are back in DC for this Top 200 Photo

photo #69 is:
Kinetic Energy in Disarray

I don’t remember if he’s messing up while doing a jump or coming off the ledge. I know this might sound racist or something, but it’s more a case of being ignorant – until I came to the Maryland/DC area, I never knew there was a skateboarding African American sub-culture. I lived in Miami and in Portland, OR. Both places were pretty devoid of African Americans. Sure, there were people of African descent in Miami, but most of them tended to be Latin American – and that’s a VERY different culture from Africans who’ve been here for generations. And in Oregon, there just wasn’t a strong presence. In fact, as we lost our tans from not being out in the sun 365 days of the year like in Florida, Dave, who was like 6 years old, said, “I know why there aren’t any black people in Oregon! They all lost their tans!”

So my only access to the African American culture in the US was what I saw in TV and movies and heard on the radio. And skaters seemed to be the white equivalent with their grunge and punk rock of African Americans and rap. And the African Americans at the top of the income ladder on TV – on The Cosby Show and Fresh Prince – did not have anyone that was into the skater scene. The capital area is the first place I’ve ever lived where African Americans are found in large numbers in all strata of life from rich to poor.

Author: Eric Mesa

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