Any wives of "Bikers"? DH rides a Harley
Any women have husbands that ride motorcycles? If so, ask them about this after you finish reading and please share your thoughts.
DH rides a Harley, he rides with a motorcycle club, goes to club meetings and spends way too much time in the garage working on his motorcycle or riding it.
Now, please do me a favor, and before your read further, take a moment and think about what your first impressions are. Think about the images my personal sharing conjures up in your mind.
Okay, read on...
DH is also an Engineer in the Technology Industry. He has ridden motorcycles/dirt bikes since he was a kid. His Harley is a toy that he enjoys as a hobby. He is a clean cut, highly intelligent, educated, successful man, no (visible) tattoos, is a great father, loving husband and doesn't go to bars or really drink and when he isn't riding his motorcycle or working he is pretty much a home body.
Please bear with me, I promise this is going somewhere...
The “Club” he rides with is a Harley Owners Group of middle aged suburban professionals. They meet early Saturday mornings and ride somewhere to have lunch then DH comes home. They take pictures of the scenery, themselves gathering for their meals and of course their motorcycles. Their rides are always planned out and a map is created with details on stops, where they are going and I always know where he is going to be.
Now, how does my description of my DH and what you imagined earlier match up? Honestly?
You see, I was talking with DH about the stuff here on CM and the Obama speech about the TM/GZ case...
“There are, frankly, very few African-American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me, at least before I was a senator. There are very few African-Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often. And I don't want to exaggerate this, but those sets of experiences inform how the African-American community interprets what happened one night in Florida.”
Even though I knew this, we talked about it in more depth. You see, Obama's comments are in no way limited to “the African-american man” DH shared stories of being followed in stores when he is out riding and stops for something in his Harley riding garb. He shared stories about doors locking at stop lights, women acting fearful of him like he is some “Scary Biker”
He shared a particularly poignant story about one of our neighbors whom we are friendly with, completely avoiding/ignoring him at a gas station because they didn't realize it was him saying “hello”. They later apologized.
Every time he goes out for a ride, well maybe not every time but more often than not, he is profiled, people have an expectation of him based on his appearance and the motorcycle he rides and I love him but he's a nerdy, clean cut, middle aged, white software engineer.
He doesn't get offended, it doesn't change who he is, he doesn't act out towards these people, it's just what people do and it doesn't have any impact on him at all. People judge, it's up to you how you react.