Media Madness / Sports Talk, No Radio

We Won

Gabby Douglas celebrates with Gold Medal

The GOLD MEDAL is the only thing worth discussing in this picture. (source Emmanuel Duand, Getty Images)


The incredibly racist, right-winged morning show on the classic rock channel I listen to was discussing the Olympics, as everyone is these days.  And they got to the point where they wondered why Gabby Douglas’ race was a factor in her winning the gold.  The Olympics puts countries against one another.  The cultural background, or identifying race of the person that won shouldn’t matter whatsoever.  An American won.  We’re American.  We cheer.  Why did Bob Costas have to mention that she was the first African-American woman to win all around?  Why do people use the phrase “African-American” when it’s not true?  What do they call black people in England?

And then I changed the channel, but they did have valid points.

My Twitter and Facebook feeds were going nuts about Gabby Douglas winning.  And about her hair.  And about how she’s a 16 year old athlete we shouldn’t be discussing the issues of her hair.  And while you haters were talking about her she was winning gold.  Granted, I never saw anyone actually say anything negative about her hair but I don’t LIVE on the internet (I just visit all day) so I might have missed that tidbit of gossip.  And then I swear every black woman I know was posting pics of Gabby winning.  Like she is me and she represents all of black womankind.  Bye Oprah! We don’t need you we got Gabby Douglas.  And then they all started singing I’m Every Woman (CHAKA KHAN!).

I get the nature of the Olympics.  It pits one country against another to see who comes out the victor.  And if nothing else it gets you amped up and slightly patriotic.  Plus nothing else is on TV so what else are you going to tweet about.  I really got into it this year and can *almost* understand the appeal of live tweeting those ridiculous award shows everyone gets into.  I’m sitting on the couch all USA! USA! We kicked y’all’s asses China.  Suck on that England.  Get to getting Nigeria, learn some damn defense! 

It’s riveting. 

But it kinda took a turn when Gabby Douglas won.  Is her race a factor?  Is it a big deal that we are STILL having the first black person to do ANYTHING?  We’ve only been over in this country since the shit started and we still haven’t done all there is to do.  I get it.  It is a big.  But as a black woman can I take credit for anything Gabby Douglas has done?  No way.  Yet it seems like a lot of people have adopted the “WE president” notion (see: Chris Rock’s standup).  When a black person succeeds, we ALL succeed. 

But do we?

Do we reserve the right to take credit for one person’s achievements because they share the same heritage we do?  If that’s the case then shouldn’t we all take responsibility for each other’s shortcomings? 

Generally the phrase used to describe black people’s mentality towards each other is “crabs in a barrel”.  I’m not going to bother to explain the concept.  You get it.  But when someone makes it out of the barrel then what do we do?  Yell at them for not helping us all get out or cheer them on for succeeding where others have failed. 

I really have no answers, just ramblings and would love other opinions on the matter.   And is the term African-American no longer valid in today’s “post racism” world? Whatever the hell that means.  Should we take celebrate someone’s victories because they have the same background as you do?  Should we take the blame for their screw ups as well?  Did anyone actually say something bad about her hair?  Should she be flipping around in Beyonce’ weave?!


7 thoughts on “We Won

  1. Awesome! Well written with many valid points. I saw the highlights but honestly didn’t know she won. BUT I did see amongst my ‘Black American’ FB friends a lot of cheering for a Gabby …. Congrats to Gabby …. Even though I had to go back and make the connection. I don’t like the term or labeling, African-American anymore than I do Afro-American …. Oh as Black people, we are still reeling from the psychological damages of our torrid past in this country, which is the best thing going …. *sigh* enjoyed the piece.

    • Chris Rock says America is like the uncle that paid to put you through college…but molested you.
      I watch Chris Rock a lot. But I mean…what else are you gonna do?
      Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. I am happy for Gabby! I would be happy for any of the USA olympians! Especially because something didn’t sit right with me regardng the Russian gymnist mustafana (i think i spelled that incorrectly, forgive me). But I thought this was interesting after NBC’s anchor mentioned her being an inspiration to all African American girls (I personally refer to myself as Mahogany American, I like to think that I am a beautiful rich dark chocolate tone, and as a child when I studied my crayon box, I often wondered how we associated our complexion with black and white, when we are really peach, tan, and brown but that’s another topic #idigress) Check out the link

    • I’m happy for all the US Olympian’s kicking ass. I got as caught up in Missy Franklin’s story as I did Gabby Douglas’. I’m American. I’m rooting for my country!
      And I LOVE the phrase Mahogany American.
      Internet folks get their panties in a wad over EVERYTHING. You can’t please everyone. At all. Total non-issue with the monkey business. (Get it?)

  3. Loved the line, “I don’t LIVE on the internet (I just visit all day)” LOL!

    I firmly believe that hate and love can be taught, can be nurtured and cultivated. We have to be proactive about teaching the next generation how to have more of a spirit of love than we have now. We have to nurture and cultivate love for all people despite superficial differences like skin color. I do not think that NOT talking about differences is the answer. It’s a matter of HOW we talk about differences. Humans are going to see and feel differences whether we discuss them or not. A healthy, honest, thoughtful, progressive discussion of differences can prevent the next generation from hating people because of their differences.

    Thanks for the thoughtful discussion.



    • When kids have their “own” opinions on politics, or any other social issue, it’s very clear that these things are learned behavior from their environment. When interviewed, Gabby’s said she totally forgot about being the first black woman to get gold. It wasn’t on her mind. Amazing! Yes we are all different, but that’s the joy in life right?

      • That’s probably why she won! It requires so much focus to compete at that level that I imagine the only race Olympians are focused on is THE RACE.

        I agree that differences make life beautiful and joyous. Not all people feel the same =(

        P.S. Adorable profile picture!

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