Diversity in Sailing

By: American Sailing Association, Partners

The American Sailing Association is helping college sailing organization TIDE: The Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity task force, deliver a message on their campaign to increase diversity in sailing.  Through a series of updates, ASA is lending its voice and platform to highlight work being done by the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) TIDE and its subcommittees to aid in the representation and inclusion of historically underrepresented groups.  Nicole Moeder is the contributing writer from the ICSA TIDE Task Force.

By Nicole Moeder

Change is a complicated thing. It takes time; it takes volume; it takes initiative. Change comes from the bottom up. Change comes from within. What does it take to make change? That’s a question that stands the test of time, one that college sailors started asking themselves this past summer. 

And it seems that they have come up with an answer. There is a new force within the world of college sailing called TIDE: The Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity task force. TIDE, in short, is dedicated to making college sailing more inclusive and accessible through education and outreach. Their work has brought together current sailors, coaches, alumni, and outside advisors to achieve this goal. But this goal is lofty, and achieving it is no easy feat. It feels, in many ways, insurmountable.

Why Should We Care?

So here is the question I am sure you all have: who cares? Why does diversity and inclusion matter in the world of sailing? People ask me this question all the time. Why does it matter? And the answer, to me, is simple. The reality is apparent: that our community, a community full of love and passion, determination and drive, is monolithic, sometimes exclusive and homogeneous. This reality often goes unspoken, unacknowledged, unavowed. And this is no one’s fault; the silence behind our identity comes not out of malice. But regardless of the intention, the task of inclusion still remains in our hands. 

We are all here for one reason: love for the sport of sailing. And there are so many individuals who could love the sport of sailing, but are not afforded the opportunity. There are individuals who endure tremendous hardship and struggles in regards to their identities; it is up to us, as community members, to educate ourselves and dismantle the irons of oppression they might face. 

And I can already anticipate your next question: why does TIDE matter to the American Sailing Association? I’ll call your attention back to my opening phrase: change comes from within. In order to create change in the sailing world, we need sailors from all walks of life, from competitive racers to recreational participants, from students to instructors, to join us in our mission. 

TIDE cannot do this work on its own; it is not enough for the organization to exist in singularity. It is up to us, in the broader sailing world, to engage with TIDE’s work as well, to make all our communities more inclusive and better educated. We must not only support TIDE’s initiatives but ask ourselves how we can contribute. 

The work that TIDE has done, the seeds of change they have planted, must be nurtured and cultivated by people like you here at the American Sailing Association. We must go above and beyond, reach out, buy-in, get engaged. Let us come together and continue to build a community that attracts and welcomes sailors and athletes from all walks of life with compassionate, open arms. 

For more information or any questions one might have, please visit the ICSA website, or email equity@collegesailing.org

Nicole Moeder is a junior at Boston College studying sociology, journalism, and art history. She is a dedicated member of the BC Sailing team, and BC’s school representative on the NEISA TIDE Committee. She is the Press, Media, and External Publications Coordinator for NEISA TIDE, and chief coordinator for the ICSA TIDE Task Force media team. 

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rinkedink
rinkedink

whatever you need to tell yourself to justify a useless new organization that does absolutely nothing to really promote sailing but preoccupies itself with shaming and race baiting.  

Michael Brown
Michael Brown

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you. – Pericles of Athens

Kurt
Kurt

ASA is open to all races and does not segregate due to color. Unfortunately Critical Race Theory is now commonly taught in schools today that undermine personal responsibility and individual freedom. Yes, overall the majority of ASA sailors are white. Is there discrimination or is it where PoC are victims due to lack of previlage? Some would argue that’s the case! Perhaps the lack of diversity is simply a matter that, according to the 2019 U.S. Census Bureau, only 12.3% of the U.S. population is black. The reality is, only a small percentage of Americans as a whole take up… Read more »

Catherine
Catherine

I thank ASA for this message. I’m a white mom who adopted a black son. I love sailing. My son loves sailing. He’s 7. Last week he told me, mom I’m the only person at sail camp who is not white. It made him feel isolated and a little lonely. If you could honestly look at my little, wonderful son and tell him you are happy with the status quo, shame on you. If you are open to learning and CONSIDERING OTHER PEOPLE then you won’t have a problem. Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself, why… Read more »

Stephen
Stephen

I applaud ASA’s efforts towards addressing questions of inclusion and equity and for creating another forum for this important national conversation.  As the other responses to this article here demonstrate, the centuries-overdue reckoning with American racism lives powerfully in our perceptions of the world.  Mischaracterizing the ASA article as an attack on the entire sailing community as racist is a clear example of white fragility–as white people we have a very difficult time addressing our legacies of racial inequality and how we benefit from them every day.  So we attack any insinuation that we have any responsibility to fix it… Read more »

rinkedink
rinkedink

Hey sailors, they’re censoring me!  Censorship goes against the principles of freedom, democracy, AND goes against the inclusion and diversity of other people’s opinions!!!  Hypocrites!

John
John
Reply to  rinkedink

I’ll never spend another dime on ASA again until they fight back against the race baiting SJWs accusing us of being racists simply for being born white and enjoying sailing.

rinkedink
rinkedink

Who are you to assume that your audience, the sailing community, is intolerant and un-welcoming of others?  Maybe you’re the problem and you should fix yourself first.   As the great Bob Marley said in the the wise song “Judge Not” – “who are you to judge the life I live?I know I’m not perfect and I don’t live to be.  But before you start pointing fingers, make sure your hands are clean”!

rinkedink
rinkedink

“There are individuals who endure tremendous hardship and struggles in regards to their identities; it is up to us, as community members, to educate ourselves and dismantle the irons of oppression they might face”.

Last edited 26 days ago by rinkedink
Raven Gray
Raven Gray

I love this article. It is such an important thing to discuss, and the defensive (and occasionally offensive) nature of the dissenters really shows why it’s needed. Not to mention walk down any dock at any marina anywhere, or look at the teams and spectators of the AC. I see some confusion between inclusive and accepting. Sure I have never seen a sailor in person treat another sailor with disrespect based on their identity, but the lack of diversity shows that we still have a lot of work to do to increase accessibility, particularly at the entry level.  I’m glad… Read more »

Michael Brown
Michael Brown

America is more racially charged than usual right now and I am not sure that the ASA, a bastion of White privilege, is where I’d begin a campaign for racial justice. Vaccine and voter accessibility might be more relevant places to start, if you are concerned about racial justice in America.

My parents had modest means growing up and we were lucky that we had swimming lessons. I think that the best thing that my wealthier friends (and really it was my friends dad) was offer to take me out on his boat and have fun.

Vinnie
Vinnie

When things are forced upon people the end result is often the opposite reaction.  Sailing is an expensive hobby and to simply push for diversity for diversity sake is the wrong approach.  A large percentage of African American’s unfortunately do not don’t swim, so they have a fear of water and water sports. That’s why many of them choose not to sail.  I am sailor and I am African American and I have aggressively tried to introduce my family members to the sport.  A lot of them just aren’t interested and that’s okay. The sailing community is the most inviting… Read more »

John
John
Reply to  Vinnie

From the east coast, I’d invite you on my boat for a sail anytime. Every fellow sailor is my brother or sister in this niche sport. I encourage most people I know to try out sailing, regardless of their backgrounds. And most turn me down because they think it’s boring 😓. They’d rather drive their powerboat.

Zack Hawkins
Zack Hawkins

Such a great topic. As someone from diversity who loves and wants to get more involved in sailing. Glad people are discussing

John
John

STOP! The people that want to sail, sail. no one is  excluding anyone. Sounds like some people are try’n to create a problem where there is none. Join a sailing community and share, we’d all love to hear your story and I’m sure it won’t be how you were excluded.

Bruce
Bruce
Reply to  John

Looks like the race hustlers made it here. I ALWAYS promote sailing to ANYONE who is interested! Now we have people counting “white faces” and “PoC” which in itself is RACIST! The new judgements based on counting white faces coupled with the soft (and straight forward) accusations of a systemic racism within this community will drive away the people truly interested in sailing and that live the sailing life. When someone such as myself gets a big charge out of turning ANYONE on to sailing has to read I need to change my ways I immediately question the motivations and… Read more »

John
John

Well it was only a matter of time before some activist college journalist got brainwashed by their pinhead post-modernist professor, which drove them to troll the sailing community counting the lack of brown faces and then making everyone else a passive racist for simply being white and liking sailing. If there was ever a group of people that won’t let prejudice die, it’s the American liberal. If you want to get to a post racial world, you have to devalue people’s race and promote things that really matter. If you constantly are counting colored faces, that’s all you’ll ever see… Read more »

Joe
Joe

I am surprised and disheartened that a great organization like ASA, would entertain such an obviously biased opinion of the sailing COMMUNITY at large!!! The sailing COMMUNITY and especially the ASA have always been, and exist for the sole reason of inclusivity. I am so sick and tired of people like Ms. Moeder making broad based remarks and assumptions about wonderful organizations and people that they know little to nothing about. Her organization TIDE or “new force”, as she self-describes, even have their own cute flag. Sounds like they plan on “forcing” their way into a world where there are… Read more »

Patrick Diggins
Patrick Diggins

What is this really about?  Is anyone being kept from sailing?  If you want more sailors then start selling sailing to the people you want.  But why are you targeting a certain skin color?  This is not cool.  Am I less wanted because I don’t meet your woke agenda?  I joined this organization to help me learn to sail.  Stop sending this nonsense to me.

John
John

Who gives a rats ass what color people are really?

Alden
Alden
Reply to  John

As a brown guy I really wish more people shared your view. A lifetime of negative experiences has a way of shaping your worldview and when all the booklets and materials and sites are exclusively white it does make me wonder how long it’ll be before I have to put up with another bigot. Because I really don’t give a rats ass and you don’t but unfortunately I can tell you that isn’t always the case.

Jon Elliott
Jon Elliott

This is fantastic to hear! Being part of an interracial family and a parent of biracial kids, I’m delighted to see such an inspiring effort towards attracting more diversity into this amazing sport. I’m looking forward to what all our efforts produce. Thank you!

Rich Lancaster
Rich Lancaster

The sailing community is the most accepting community in the world. Sailors travel around the world everyday and interact, exchange ideas, communicate and help each other without regard or thought of a person’s race, gender or any other human attribute. Sailing is based on a desire, want or need to harness the power of the wind and travel the seas. Sailing also requires ability and capability. Being a hundred miles from the nearest land takes desire and commitment. Sailing is also expensive both in initial investment and regular constant maintenance and repair. Those that say that the sailing community is… Read more »

Noelle
Noelle

There are sailors who quietly sequester from white or male crew. Diversity requires tolerating differrnt language, time schedules, approach to COMPETITION and winning and losing, partying. A token does not rock the status quo, but 15-20% diversity does – uncomfortably – until a larger % is achieved. Tokens know this and can resist inclusion of more women or more diversity. Happy Sailing!

Scott Lerner
Scott Lerner

Take a look at each one of the ASA 101/103/104 books. Not one person of colour sailing. All happy white people. You can find a couple of black faces in the 104 as they are the ones serving the white charter folks.

M B
M B

ASA…..really???? People need to understand the difference between equality and equity. People need to educate themselves on the differences and the dangers of the slippery slope of equity. I come here to read about sailing and not politics.

Steve
Steve
Reply to  M B

I second that and would dare say the greater obstacle is financial…offer free intro courses to all …

rinkedink
rinkedink
Reply to  Steve

Well, according to ASA, apparently the sailing community is the problem.

Last edited 26 days ago by rinkedink
Tyrone Madison
Tyrone Madison

What kind of resources are you offering for people of color and how can they access them? Just seems like a fancy statement with no action. I browsed the website and all I found were links to some facebook groups, but I don’t use facebook.

Jenn Harkness
Jenn Harkness

Thank you Nicole! Great article and important work!!

Praxis
Praxis

The first and easiest step in promoting diversity is Representation. Open the ASA home page and then count how many clicks it takes to find a face that represents a BIPoC. Really, got try it. Since a lot of pages don’t have any people on them you can also just count how many white faces you encounter before finding a PoC. The shortest path I can find is 4 clicks to get to the Women on the Water tag where you can find Captain Stephanie Mansberger Wolters who may or may not identify as a PoC. Along that path you… Read more »