The 2012 Olympics is a hot topic for the past few weeks. The qualifying rounds and training leading up to the events lead to much free publicity and unwanted McDonald’s commercials. What also comes with an event as momentous as this is the racial and culture innuendos.
Enters Gabby Douglas.
Douglas has held the women’s US Olympics team down, since joining the team. Just this past week, which she led the team to victory, she captured 33 percent or 1/3 of the total points the team received. Although she did most of the work on the team, many times she was shown “far left” in photos or even not in photos. Cameras would pan or blur the gold medalist out like she wasn’t even apart of the team. The results quickly turned into the Jordyn Wieber show, which allegedly lead the team to victory. Of course, we know this isn’t true but the media can definitely paint a pretty picture.
Not only is Douglas catching it from the media, she’s also even receiving tons of criticism about her hair. Someone at the age of 16, leaves home to train in Iowa and returns victorious has been reduced to racial hair comments. Jezebel reported a few comments from a blog that reflects much of what could be seen on any blog, Twitter or Facebook timeline.
So what’s the big deal about Gabby’s hair? From what I am reading on Facebook and Twitter, many African American women who are SITTING and WATCHING Gabby compete believe her hair is not “kept.”
She needs some gel and a brush…
Someone needs to give her a hair intervention…
She has to “represent”
Very, very sad we focus on something as small as her edges and not her talents. This girl has been a leader for the team and should be treated as one. Now writers are beginning to criticize her family situation:
However, all the reports today talk about how this Olympian has blossomed in Iowa, living rent-free with a host family that homeschools her. Her mother, by all accounts, is thrilled with the result as she and her other three children cheer on the family member they have seldom seen in close to two years.
Perhaps the stability and not just the coaching is what this child really needed coming from a home where her mother, who according the Virginian-Pilot divorced the same man twice and has struggled on disability to provide for her needs.
Overall, race and gender will continue to haunt her. Let’s focus on celebrating her victory and not ignoring Douglas as she had nothing to do with the team bringing back the gold. As Douglas is now only the second African-American woman to win an Olympic gold medal, her work will never go unnoticed. With Douglas scoring a 15.966 on the vault, 15.200 on the uneven bars, a 15.233 on the balance beam and a 15.066 on the floor exercise- we look forward to her progress in the all-around competition, Thursday.
Check out some footage of Gabby hitting her victory dance-