A Message Of Peaceful Unity.

I know for the past couple months you all have allowed me to go off on Covid stuff, and now with the protests, it can be a tad overwhelming the pain and misery we as a country are going through. But because the Classic Boat Community audience is mostly old white men. The other part is old white women, all three of you. I do feel compelled to try, and help us all, myself included. I am the last person to speak on this subject. I don’t understand because I have not lived it, and yet want to.  At my ad agency we have had many meetings on this subject and tried to figure out what can we do. Like Woody Boater my agency is not as diverse as we all wish it was. Diversity is an good thing in the world, and in marketing a huge asset. We recruit all sorts of differing points of views.


The one thing we all leaned over all from this, is, as a white person, I still need to listen and learn. To support, and to be unified. But we need to let the people that live this hell, speak, and we must listen. Not violence, or looting, for the good of ourselves. To make us better humans.

From a story a wile back

I have often wondered why there are not so many African Americans in the classic boating culture. Really? Like back in the 1940’s -50′ and 60’s African American people went out on there speed boats from their lake house. It’s a sad truth. Chances are it was all segregated. There are Black Sailing Clubs, and there were “Black Resorts”

Did Chris-Craft and other boat companies ever photograph black people in their ads? No. Anyone? No. Being in the ad business for 40 years. I remember having to make a choice to put a black person in an ad. It would be a debate about who are we talking to.  That all seems crazy now. And yet here we are. With this stuff again.

The one positive note is clearly the world is together on this as a message of unity. And that shows growth. And we are a better place because of it.

You see this photo in a different light now? I do!

So I suggest this. Invite the discussion. Listen to those who know. Call someone you know that lives this, and ask, and then listen. It would be enlightening to see our classic boat world through a set of different eyes. Yet, eyes all the same.

Below is a list of places to listen and understand.

RESCUE MEN: The Story of the Pea Island Lifesavers from PIPE HITTER MEDIA on Vimeo.

A list of resources to help. 
What to Watch

American Son
Dear White People
See You Yesterday
When They See Us

If Beale Street Could Talk
The Hate U Give

Black Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives: Barbara Smith, Reina Gossett, Charlene Carruthers

What to Listen To

Code Switch (NPR)
About Race
Pod Save the People
Seeing White

What to Read

How to Be Less Stupid About Race – Crystal Fleming
Black Feminist Thought – Patricia Hill Collins
How to Be An Antiracist – Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
Heavy: An American Memoir – Kiese Laymon
So You Want to Talk About Race – Ijeoma Oluo
White Fragility: Why it’s so hard for White People to Talk about Racism – Robin DiAngelo, PhD
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness- Michelle Alexander
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelou
Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower – Dr. Brittney Cooper
The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century: Grace Lee Boggs
Just Mercy: Bryan Stevenson

“Who Gets to Be Afraid in America?” by Dr. Ibram X. Kendi | Atlantic (May 12, 2020)
”White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” by Knapsack Peggy McIntosh
Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement (Mentoring a New Generation of Activists
“America’s Racial Contract Is Killing Us” by Adam Serwer | Atlantic (May 8, 2020)

26 replies
  1. Troy in ANE
    Troy in ANE says:

    This will be a hard day for comments, because no matter how kind and caring we try to be our words in type fall short of our heart and are often misinterpreted.

    For me one of the saddest things about the current events is that the riots and looting are mostly not being done by the protesters. There is a wave of violent people coming in behind the peaceful protests in an attempt to discredit others.

  2. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Good post, tough times. For the reading list: “Black Like Me” by John Howard Griffin…the early classic on the subject…I heard him speak while I was in High School in the 60’s, powerful. Some of this mess reminds of the 60’s…
    John in Va.

  3. Darthtrader
    Darthtrader says:

    I get the distinct feeling that the three senseless deaths coupled with the underlying pandemic may signal a subtle shift and finally engage the nation’s consciousness. However, In order to become the catalyst for enduring change, the message must not be tainted by the lawlessness surrounding the underlying cause.

    • Dennis Mykols
      Dennis Mykols says:

      A good way to reach underprivileged kids in your area is to team up with the Big Brother, Big Sister Organization.
      A couple of years ago the Water Wonderland Chapter invited this group to join us to be part of our youth judges, and take them along when we had Cruises. Our goal us to inspire the kids to study hard and to enjoy being on the water, so someday they may take up boating.
      Here are a couple of pictures from those events.

  4. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P )
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P ) says:

    Great Writing Matt. I wish I had the answer for all this, but I like millions of other’s do not. I wish we could all just get together. People of all races and all walks of life and talk, get to know each other, share a meal, and LISTEN to each other.

  5. Bort carleton
    Bort carleton says:

    You might want to add two books by Tim Wise to the list:
    White Like Me
    He is a current speaker at universities and high schools , and has uncovered the historical origin of how the term White came to describe the indentured servants from various European countries, as opposed to using their country of origin.

    WOODYDIVA says:

    Thank you Matt!


    ***from one of the old white women!

    Watch BLACK-ISH

  7. Garry
    Garry says:

    I have always run counter to things especially after my mother made a statement to me that I still am shocked by. I go with Ward and his comment about Vote which is one thing that must be done and encouraged. The other thing is the protests they are essential to make people think. Black lives really do matter and 400 years is no excuse.

  8. Duster
    Duster says:

    Matt, thank you for this thoughtful, gentle yet powerful post.
    Amidst all the chaos and horror I found the story today absolutely inspiring. If all of us in the woody family read or listened to just one of Matt’s recommendations we would be all the better for it.

  9. Mike U
    Mike U says:

    Here’s a picture of me with my best friend Rick – we’re like brothers from another mother. In fact, we refer to each other as stepbrother. Also pictured is my daughter Lauren & Chuck, my neighbor’s basset hound. We’re all hoping to make it to a boat show this summer.

  10. rjtipple
    rjtipple says:

    Another book to add to the list is “The half has never been told- slavery and the making of American capitalism” by Edward Baptist written in 2014. It is a real eye-opener.

  11. Emil King
    Emil King says:

    This is a wonderful post. Thank you! We’re out here, and always have been. I think about these questions a lot, and could probably write a book about my 40+ years of experiencing the outdoor and boating worlds through black male eyes. (Maybe I’ll come back and share more later).

    In short though, the primary reason for a lack of diversity seems to be limited cultural awareness of this world, due to decades of exclusion. Also, no representation in media, and little in the way of a historical and cultural connection to a way of life that once was, to my understanding, somewhat over-represented by black and brown faces in a non-recreational context. We have virtually zero collective, enjoyable nostalgia on this topic, as a culture. It definitely existed (in my family and thousands of others), but was hidden or erased for this reason or that, with Jim Crow and related laws playing a large role in the United States. Presently though, I’ve had nothing but great encounters with the “old white men” of the wooden boat world. And now I’ve also experienced an entire country full of black boaters (The Bahamas)!

    With the internet, these histories are now being told, and folks are digging up old video and photos and there’s even a big new museum in DC focused on sharing these lost stories. Appreciate you all’s allyship in this never-ending fight, and I hope we can continue this discussion about inclusion and representation.

Comments are closed.