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ejwysz -

Okay. Although it is a shame that I feel like I have to do this, I will provide a disclaimer ANYWAY... I am not racist against any ethnicity, or sexist against any gender, in any respect. That's it.

Why are almost ALL jugglers white males? The juggling community seems so cookie-cutter that I feel like I need to ask for people's opinions on this.

Obviously men and women of all races juggle and object manipulate. But it's clear that most - even moreso when you get to world-class level - fit one colour and gender. I've found that many other performing arts are predominately males too - magic, standup comedy, etc. But the race thing doesn't really apply there.

I've also noticed other trends - most diablo-ists are Asian. Same goes for insane three ball tricks and a great deal of contact juggling.


RegularJugular - - Parent

They're also statistically more likely to be computer programmers... So as I understand it, the boring answer: White males are with almost no exceptions the most privileged demographic on Earth, juggling is time consuming and gets surprisingly expensive after a while collecting various props. The logic there is obvious.

Additionally, I'm personally slightly timid when approaching people who would obviously have a different background to me. This can appear racist, although I like to think I'm not, I am afraid of 'causing offence; so I often suspect I cause more offence by saying nothing at all. Saying nothing at all also came naturally before I learnt juggling as a socially inept, introverted, white male. This one the logic to me is: White male jugglers who learnt because they we're introverted white males experiencing lots of privilege and not realising it, still put off people with more diverse and challenging backgrounds (women, people from different countries or ethnicities, even people with different ideas about money and time :( )

I most admire the people who got into juggling from backgrounds unlike my own, even that can put such people off because it puts even more focus on them... I wish I knew how to balance all this.

There are examples in the computer programming industry that mirror the problems with juggling.

I may not be entirely right, but I feel I'm not entirely wrong. :(

Mïark - - Parent

Do you live in a country that is predominantly white? There don't seem to be so many white jugglers in the south american juggling community or the asian juggling communities (excluding a few tourist areas).

I hadn't noticed that most diabolists/3-ballers/contact jugglers are asian - your sample must be different to mine. There are undoubtedly some amazing asian diabolists/3-ballers/contact jugglers, but there are also non-asians practising those disciplines.

I cannot think of any non-white magicians (other than Ali Bongo), but I probably could only name 4 or 5 magicians.

Sometimes it can be self perpetuating, if people perceive juggling, diabolo, etc as male skills and poi, hooping as female skills, some can be unwilling to learn skills they think are for the other gender.

varkor - - Parent

Maybe we can try to perpetuate the stereotype that poi isn't for either gender, and see if there's any improvement...

RegularJugular - - Parent

Good point ejwysz is obviously not from Tonga, lol.

Rob van Heijst - - Parent

The top 10 poi spinners of 2014 are all men actually!

ejwysz - - Parent

I agree with that last sentence there, but how could you not notice that about Diablo!? Just look up any year's WJF Diablo competition results. I don't think a non-asian has ever even placed.

And as for 3 balls...

I notice here that behind-the-head throws seem much more common in Japan as well.

And the Tonga thing is pretty interesting, but I mean... let's look at the whole picture here. Has a non-white, non-male competitor ever even PLACED in the WJF or the IJA numbers championships? I'm not sure, but I don't think so. If Albert Lucas is hispanic like his and his parents' names suggest, I suppose he would be the only exception I can think of.

Orinoco - - Parent

Diabolo (not diablo!) originated in China in the 1100s so why wouldn't it be more deeply routed in Asian culture? I don't follow the WJF results but I know the Frenchman Antonin Hartz won the diabolo section at the first WJF competition off the top of my head.

The WJF is always held in a country where the population is 72% white (according to 2012 census). It is a very expensive event to attend, even more so to compete in so it is prohibitively difficult for many people from other countries to attend. Japan is the obvious exception that has two factors that most other countries do not: they are a very wealthy nation & personal excellence is *very* deeply rooted in their culture so the desire to compete is high.

If you are only looking at the WJF competitions you will have an extremely narrow snapshot of the juggling world as a whole. Have you ever been to an EJC or any other festival outside of the US? The WJF attracts attendance of a couple of hundred people, the EJC can be anywhere between 2000 & 6000. The juggling world is a lot more diverse than you think. Just because non white/non males are not going to the WJF events doesn't mean they don't exist, there is a lot more to juggling than just sport juggling too.

ejwysz - - Parent

I see that everyone in this thread is pretty much trying to disprove my original post - and that's great! I want juggling to be as diverse as possible - and I know it very well can be.

I think you've solved the Diabolo(!) mystery for me, Orinoco, and that makes a lot of sense. You've also got a great point about the WJF, and no, I have not been to the EJC, although I would love to.

I will say one more thing though - I do live in the US, and I have been to juggling conventions in multiple states, and I have NEVER - I mean NEVER - seen a black or hispanic juggler in attendance. Ever. And statistically, that is weird. That's all I'm trying to say, guys, and you can't ignore that point!

Cedric Lackpot - - Parent

> I have been to juggling conventions in multiple states, and I have NEVER - I mean NEVER - seen a black or hispanic juggler in attendance

They do exist, but as a UK juggler my first thought was "Er, what about Skye then?" a black lady juggler IIRC. The fact that my mind turned immediately to the one US black juggler I can think of does underline your point a bit. Also, does Anthony Commarota count as Hispanic at all?

Little Paul - - Parent

I'm no expert on the USA scene(being the wrong side of the pond) but AFAIR Sky doesn't have an e.

What was the name of the chap on r.j years ago with the walking stick manipulation stuff? Drew Brown? I can vaguely remember a few more, but most people on rj haven't ever made a "thing" of their skin colour, so I could easily miss a load just by it never having come up in conversation.

There's a historical list here

Did Bibi & Bicu ever make it to the USA?

Anyway, we could cite examples until we're blue in the face, but there is a huge amount of selection bias in all of our experiences. There are no really good surveys of this stuff (that I'm aware of) - festival attendance is skewed by affluence, Internet surveys are biased by self selected samples, your perception of people's vocations is skewed by the (comparatively) small circle of jugglers you've talked to about their "real" life.

Basing opinion on videos of ija festivals could lead to statements like "the IJA is mostly affluent middle class bearded white men in their 50s who wear socks and sandals" or "the WJF is all socially awkward, thin, teenage boys whose mums cut their hair"

Neither of those statements are (entirely) true, but do exhibit the skewed perceptions you can get when you like at a small section of even a subsection of the community.

ejwysz - - Parent

YES! See! I feel like the examples are very few and far in between. And I'm pretty sure Anthony is very Italian. :P

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Yeah right, posting videos of Japanese conventions and then claiming that the jugglers there, whatever they are doing, are Japanese?? That just sounds silly to me.

Obviously there are still plenty of different cultures around the world. Some developed a juggling subculture, some haven't. Isn't it only natural that Japan developed a different juggling culture than we have here in the west? The assumption that it should be similar seems very very strange to me.

Here in Europe (dunno where you are from) it seems very obvious that different countries have different characteristics or styles in juggling. Single people can have influences on the local trends, props and tricks. In school we comment on each others moves and tricks and say things like 'that looks French' or 'Swedish', based on things we recognize as stereotypical from these countries/cultures.

Cultures are not limited to borders. Clearly there connections between people from the same ethnicity living in foreign countries too. Not surprising that people stick together, end up with similar interests. On top of that, particularly if you talk about men and women, genetics likely play a role in preference too.

WJF and IJA championships are not for all of the jugglers on the world. They attract a certain subculture, which might indeed happens to be white males. So what?

Any activity that targets a small audience (you can count the amount of numbers juggling championships on one hand) likely targets a small demographic....

Also, I second everything Orinoco said.

david - - Parent

What it is, from someone who has who has lived and worked on four continents, if you count Europe and Asia as separate continents. You might want to check out the girl jugglers of the Afghanistan MMCC circus or the Ethiopian bounce jugglers. It's a diverse world and so are jugglers.

Little Paul - - Parent

Women in the WJF - leaving aside the "women's devision" I've got Olga Galchenko, Erin Stephens and Laura Ernst - I gave up at that point because the WJF site is hideous on a phone.

Havd a wander through if you have more patience than I do.

lukeburrage - - Parent

For Fight Night Combat, see:

15 female players out of 268 players listed. Admittedly, record keeping by me might not be entirely up to scratch.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

I wondered for a second why JJ wasn't on top of the male list :p

Daniel Simu - - Parent

I know there is at least one more: Alex Haas player 181 is listed as male, but actually female.

lukeburrage - - Parent

Thanks! Alex is such an ambiguous name.

lukeburrage - - Parent

Turns out Alex Haas is the same person as Alex ???

Daniel Simu - - Parent

You are quuick at updating these things! Especially with all these fake names on Fbook I can imagine it is hard sometimes...

Orinoco - - Parent

Reminds me of something I found a while ago. I found this both fun & fascinating:

Little Paul - - Parent

Ooh! Nice. I'll play properly when in back on a computer

Orinoco - - Parent

If you like that you'll love Nothing to Hide by the same person.

Daniel Simu - - Parent

Awesome link!!!

RegularJugular - - Parent

Can I post this by Vi Hart? (who made that demo?)

It has nothing to do with the subject but her YT videos are amazing*, or at least I thought they were the best thing since sliced bread when I saw the 'Doodling in Math class' series 3 years ago.

Still reminds me I haven't got very far at drawing even with hundreds of hours of practice in the last 3 years. C- must try harder.

*Although 'videos on the internet'? I know right? Too much juggling to do

Orinoco - - Parent

Was supposed to be coding, now I'm drawing snakes.

RegularJugular - - Parent

"You might put your love and trust on the line
It's risky, people love to tear that down
Let 'em try
Do it anyway
Risk it anyway"


DawnDreams - - Parent

I've been watching recently to figure this out for myself.

Despite the anomalies, displayed above, in North America and Europe juggling is white and nerdy activity (even featured in Weird Al's video on white nerds).

White Privilege is really the answer. Financially, visibly, more celebrated people in nearly all professions are those on the top of the privilege hierarchy.

Of course people juggling in Japan are going to be Japanese, and likewise other cultures will have the people within that ethnicity representing. There are cultural boundaries that make conversations across those cultures more difficult without translators - so we don't see the posts as much, and we don't celebrate those cultures as much. (I am currently living in France, and even the French scene has been obscured quite a bit from my North American eyes simply due to French language differences)

But, there is a distinct population of people of color in North America, and they either don't juggle, or they aren't well represented in the festival and video scene.


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