Justin Smothers

Ms. Verdun English IV Research Paper

Skateboard Discrimination

Skateboard discrimination is a very serious thing that’s often overlooked by the average citizen and law enforcement, even though many skateboarders are the ones being thrashed during tragic attacks, skateboarders are still looked at as the bad guys! Brutality to skaters needs to be stopped and laws must be pushed for their safety. The need for skate parks is very serious also, this will help teens keep off the streets, the more teens we have off the streets will result in less hate crimes. Illegal drugs is another thing that everyone insists on associating skateboarders with, this is an horrible stereotype mainly because the average skateboarder do not use drugs. During my research I’ve found many talented skateboarders that are on Alpha and Beta honor roll, skateboarders are very intellectual people, which leads me to wonder why there’s so much hate towards them and the skating community. Longboarders have it easier, because they coast up and down streets, almost never harming others.

Brutality towards skateboarders often get ugly, very fast. During discrimination a skateboarder is more likely to be attacked rather than being the attacker, reason being is that

skateboarders are not violent people, but violence is always appointed to their name. Since skateboarders are stereotyped to be angry, mean, and hostile people, security guards and regular citizens often approach them with their guards up and on high alert. They will never even give the skater a chance to explain their situation. Skateboarders document and record everything that they do from walking down the street to setting up for the next big trick they plan to do and when they catch someone on video attacking them are a friend the attacker normally is let free even with video of them harassing or attacking skaters because the skateboarders are claimed to be on their property are the skateboarders posed a threat to someone and the person who attacks them are never even taken into the jail house. There is no justice for skateboarders, they should be treated like normal people and not scum that’s allowed to be abused, beaten, and disrespected by other people. Cities should put an end to this type of discrimination and work for policies that has severe punishments for this severe crime. “The 2012 National Crime Victimization Survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that 26 of every 1,000 people experienced a violent crime, a 15% increase in how many people reported being victims of rape, robbery or assault. Property crime — burglary, theft and car theft — rose 12%.” (Donna Leinwand Leger, USA TODAY) Crime is on the rise in the U.S and we need to work on ending it, this small step will atleast be a step forward. Self-defense is not the same as attacking a person first without an reason. A lot of people get those two confused when a skateboarder is defending themselves, they should have the rights to protect themselves from rogue cops and citizens.

The need for skateparks is very real, skateboarding is not built into society as football and basketball yet it is still out there with events that are almost comparable to the biggest football event. Skateboarding is a challenging sport to master. According to The Juneau Empire

skateboarding promotes active and healthy lifestyles for youth, obesity is a no longer a rare problem in America and with skateboarding it is actually proven to reduce obesity in cities where there are skateparks because of the activeness of their youth in the community. A recent study by Johns Hopkins University researchers said regularly skating, rollerblading and biking increase children's chances of fighting the flab as they grow. The odds were better for those who played baseball and other organized, and often seasonal, sports. Another great reason to promote skateparks is that it keeps teens off the streets, the more skaters we get off the streets and into parks, the happier skateboarders will be as well as local businesses and law enforcement. Troubled teens often want to find ways to not get into trouble, make something of themselves, or just find themselves, and skateboarding is one way they normally choose to asses this problem, the problem with this is that they experience brutality and discrimination and as long as that’s how they are being treated you cannot expect a positive output from the skating community. We can stop this violence by building them their own safe haven and maybe the stereotype will disappear and you’ll see the real side of a skater.

Illegal drugs, alcohol, and trouble is not the only thing on the mind of a skateboarder, in fact those three things are fairly far back in the mind of a skateboarder. This stereotype was brought about to slander skateboarders and make a bad name for them, just in mischievous ways to attempt to get rid of the skating community or have them all thrown in jail . For years drugs was a number one reason why society disliked skateboarders, as time goes on more and more people start to realize that this is merely another stereotype aiming to knock a skateboarders reputation and it is showing, more people just need to see it. Although we know that all skaters do not do drugs and drink alcohol, that is the image they are stuck with due to the ignorance of others and this will possibly last for many more years ahead. According to The Journal of

Adolescent Research skateboarding has powerful effects on your mental health, this contradicts the fact that people associate bad drugs and crime with skateboarders.

When you hear skateboarders you do not think of an honor roll student, or an intellectual person, you may think of a delinquent or a drug abuser that dropped out of school and has no serious views of life. The reality is that most skaters are very intellectual! Skating has been proven to reduce stress in teens which causes them to work harder in school and to feel more motivated and comfortable in school. Skaters also are very social people which helps them become more intellectual and calm. Tons of skateboarders study while they are skating home or to and from school, it’s very easy to multitask and skateboard. Skateboards are used for transportation and recreation, most people use them strictly for transportation because a skateboard can get you anywhere, while others use them for both.

The difference between longboarding and skateboarding, “Longboarding is the term used for skateboarding with boards larger than the usual short board trick-oriented skateboards that you see in skateboarding competitions. Longboarding is closer to sidewalk surfing. A lot of longboarders use their boards to actually get places, since longboards are more stable and heavier than skateboards (so you get more roll out of your push). Longboarding is perfect for people who want a comfortable, more soulful ride, but also for those who want to carve down a steep hill at high speed!” (Steve Cave) Longboarders have it a lot easier than your average skateboarder because they are more laid back people and simply cruise the streets, therefore no one really tells a longboarder much. The big difference is that longboarders tend to move about a lot and are never in the same location for too long. On the other hand skateboarders don’t move very far and they tend to pick a location and

stay there for hours until all skate spots are skated on.

All in all, skateboarding is an exhilarating sport that should not be downplayed and stereotyped so much. As time goes on people will realize that the image created of an skateboarder is actually not who they are. Skateboarders are not drug users and delinquents, they are people that want the same respect as the next citizen. The world will become a better place for skateboarders one step at a time.

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