‘Helmet inclusivity is important’—or victim culture hits a new low

America has a few problems vexing the woke left. One is that there are too few anti-black racists, so race hoaxes and microaggressions must fill that space. The other is that there are too few black victims of institutional discrimination. At least, that’s the only reason I can think of for one of the funniest articles the New York Times has ever written, this one about the travails of dreadlocked black equestrians.

It turns out that black people who ride competitively or for pleasure, and who aren’t just plonking a cowboy hat on their heads, are bedeviled by the fact that the companies that manufacture helmets for equestrians have neglected to make them for those with dreadlocks. They make them in sizes for children, and those adults with small, medium, or large heads, but there’s no dreadlock category. Those are the facts, but it’s the pain…oh, my God! The pain is real.

Image: Helmet, gloves, and crop by Kireyonok_Yuliya.

Let me just pick out a few choice phrases from the article entitled “Black Equestrians Want to Be Safe. But They Can’t Find Helmets.” You really can’t do better than with the first four paragraphs, which end in an emotional crescendo you usually don’t find outside of a daytime soap opera in which a woman discovers that the man she loves is really the baby brother who was kidnapped by her mother’s former lover as revenge for her marrying that lover’s brother:

Chanel Robbins has been riding horses most of her life, ever since her grandmother traded a cow from their family’s farm in Ontario for a pony when she was 7.

Galloping through the fields on her pony, Star, offered an escape from thoughts that weighed on her — that she didn’t have a relationship with her biological parents, for instance, or that she was the only Black girl in the neighborhood, aside from her sister.

About eight years ago, she reconnected with her father, a native of Jamaica. As the two grew closer, Ms. Robbins decided to style her hair in locs, like her dad. But there was a problem: Her riding helmet no longer fit, and she couldn’t find one that did.

“I finally freaking feel like myself, and now society is asking me to change,” Ms. Robbins, 27, of Alliston, Ontario, said as she choked back tears. “I just want to be able to ride.” (Emphasis mine.)

Not all stories are as tragic as Robbins’s tearful confession. Isabella Tillman, who has bouncy or smooth hair, depending on the season, experienced horror, not pain (really):

Isabella Tillman, who wears her hair in natural, buoyant curls in the summer and straightens it in the winter, is horrified when she thinks about the helmets she has used in 20 years of riding.

One sat atop her head like a traffic cone, she said. Another was so small it gave her headaches. And one was so big, she had to stuff it with maxi pads.

But my favorite line of all is the most quintessentially New York Times sentence ever written: “Helmet inclusivity is important, Black equestrians said, because it could mean the difference between life and death.” Well, yes…but….

If it really is the difference between life and death, it seems to me that you can change your hairstyle. I know that sounds radical but—and I admit to coming from an older generation—in the old days, the thinking was that, as Charlotte Bronte wrote in Jane Eyre, “the mountain will never be brought to Mahomet, so all you can do is to aid Mahomet to go to the mountain.” In other words, you are not the center of the universe and, sometimes, you must accommodate the universe, rather than vice versa.

As someone with very small feet, which is not something over which I have control, and which is not even a matter of life or death, I’ve spent a lifetime accommodating the universe. I wear children’s shoes, I buy multiples of shoes that actually fit, I shop for months or years to find special occasion shoes, etc. I gripe a lot, but I don’t insist that, because I and a few others have small feet, the manufacturers must bend to my will and, at great expense, make shoes for me.

One of the worst problems of leftism is that it’s made too many people believe they can have their cake and eat it too. They can wear a burqa and still demand that Abercrombie’s, a store that markets itself around sex, hire them. They can be hulking male athletes insisting they are female and demanding that they get to compete against biological women. And in this case, they can be black equestrians who make up about 0.5% of the sport, who insist that, rather than conforming their hair to the activity, the manufacturers, at great expense, must accommodate them because, after all, “helmet inclusivity” matters.

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