so apparently according to this person, being “humble and beautiful” = not saying factual things about needing better coaching to be serious elite contender/NOT BRINGING UP RACISM AND BULLYING THAT HAPPENED TO HER FOR YEARS AT THE GYM SHE LEFT.
I’m sorry, but when you are caucasian and call a young black girl your “slave”, it’s a big fucking deal.
do you know how racism works in this country? it goes unchecked many, many times. it’s encouraged by stereotypes in the media, on television, in movies. it’s not reprimanded correctly when it happens. it’s everywhere, right under our noses. it’s the nitty gritty ugliness of the human mind that some people still refuse to admit exists.
so yes, I’m going to get offended when you say that a successful young black woman should “never bring up” the fact that she was discriminated against because of her skin color.
do you know how big of an impact it has when a public figure like gabby comes out and admits to being bullied and being the butt of racist remarks? it shows young women of color that it’s not okay for a white person to demean you for your race. it shows young women of color that no, this is not something that’s normal, something that you have to take and accept because it’s happening for a reason.
gabby took a stance, a brave stance, by bringing to light what happened to her. she’s teaching young girls of color everywhere that it’s not okay when someone insults you because of your race. she’s teaching young white girls everywhere that it’s not okay to make racist jokes and think they can get away with it. she’s teaching white america that racism is still a serious issue and permeates through many layers of our society, down to our children and into their gyms, their schools, their behaviors.
honestly, look at the situation. gabby douglas is a double gold medalist at the olympics. she’s the first woman of color to EVER win the all around gold. she won both team gold and AA gold for her country. she’s probably raking in cash thanks to endorsement deals and media events. she’s accomplished so many things at the olympics - maybe not event finals medals, but both the AA and team crown, which, to quote shannon miller, is nothing to sneeze at.
how would her bringing up the “race issue” have benefited her at all? why would she need to make it up, as I’ve seen some people say? if anything, her bringing up this extremely painful and personal detail of her past has probably driven AWAY people like you, who think RACISM and BULLYING should “never even have been brought up”. it’s probably driven away people who don’t want to look at the harsh reality of modern america, people who continue to believe that we’re this post-racial, colorblind society when in reality, we’re not.
in reality, a young girl was belittled for not looking like her white teammates. in reality, a young girl had to deal with her parents’ divorce, her father being deployed, her family having to live on nothing and barely getting by - in ADDITION to the racism she faced in the gym. in reality, a young girl had to move all the way to iowa to leave the toxic environment she was in and reach for her dreams. in reality, a young girl had to leave her family and focus at the age of sixteen to keep moving forward in the face of adversity. in reality, a young girl finally won the medal she deserved - and then had to deal with the most popular subject of her win not being her performances or her talent, but her hair.
that is the reality we face. that is the reality that gabby brought up, the reality that you don’t want to admit is there, the reality that you shame her for bringing up.
Well done Alyssa
Back in the 1980’s a gymnastics coach told a reporter that Black people were incapable of being gymnasts. Yes, I’m serious. This dumbass actually said this-according to this numbnuts coach, Black people were-and I quote-“incapable of mellow and artistic performances” This was said, ironically, for an article about the first male African American to win an American gymnastics competition-Ron Gallimore. Ron Gallimore went through a LOT of shit-mostly from his fellow American gymnasts and coaches, since he was basically the only Black guy there.
Lucy Collins and Dianne Durham were next-both of them languished on the National Team, although Dianne got a lot of International assignments thanks to the fact her coach was Bela Karolyi. Until 1993, there wasn’t another well-known Black gymnast in US WAG-and along came Dominique Dawes.
I said that to say this: There has always been an ugly strain of racism in US gymnastics. That’s not to say that anyone critical of Gabby is racist-not at all. But-what happened to Gabby at Excalibur was not surprising at all, mainly because racism has always raised it’s ugly head in American gymnastics. It just hasn’t been more..shall we say..open?
I’m reblogging for the commentary. Gabby’s still humble and beautiful to me.
Gabby IS humble and beautiful. She’s just not going to stay quiet while a bunch of ignorant people go on about stuff that’s really bullshit. That’s what I LIKE about Gabby. Oh, and the racism still goes on, and not just in Gabby’s general direction. John Orozco gets that bullshit too. And it’s not right.
reblogging again for additional commentary
Quick Airbender Gabby Douglas sketch for littlelionheartedavatar
I hope you feel better c:
ALL THE AWARDS
This made me tear up:
Gabby’s dad, Air Force Staff Sergeant Timothy Douglas, was front and center to see his daughter perform recently and…
What an amazing family. Shame on you NBC.
God dang it NBC
“Ally Rainsman really reigned in Gabby in the time of need”— Gabby scored 1/3 of the team’s points. [n-i-h-i-l added]
“She trained with Shawn Johnson which REALLY must have had some effect on her”— many gymnasts have trained under professionals. [n-i-h-i-l added]
“Gabby has a lead…not by much but, we hope she takes advantage of it”—Gabby consistently scored better (on average) than her teammates.[n-i-h-i-l added]
Not to mention they contributed the all-around success to Alexandra saying that she was the clincher… [cum-fraiche added]
and “ooh, lets talk about Jordyn not making the all around ten times more than Gabby being the highest scorer in all four events” [withasideofswag added]
The first Women’s Gymnastics team win since ‘96, but it was deemed “not all that amazing” by NBC.
Airing a commercial featuring a monkey doing gymnastics right after Gabby’s win. During all the commercials for other athletes and their wins they showed appropriate commercials featuring them and their talents. For example: the swimmer Rebecca Soni was featured in her own commercial beating her world record score. Gabby got a monkey.
Also, when Gabby did her vault: NBC on Gabby - “That wasn’t great…but she’ll take it” (she gets the highest score on the fucking thing, a 15.966) NBC on Aly - “That was an AMAZING vault! She’s off to a great start!” (scores very well, but lower than Gabby) Yeah. NBC hates that a black girl won the whole thing. [boehner-trollolol added]
NBC’s “Fab Five” commercial that conveniently forgot she existed [cynical-douche added]
I believe Gabby was also the first American (female) gymnast to win a gold medal in both the group and AA events. As of yet, I haven’t heard much mention of that from NBC/other news networks. [alldolleddown added]
On Raisman’s bars performance, the ending comment was “very good.” On Douglas’, it was “Interesting.” [pluckyduck added]
None of the on-air commentators made mention of the fact that Douglas is the first African-American woman to win the individual all-around gold medal. When Bob Costas finally got around to doing so while doing the closing wrap-up of the prime time coverage, he actually prefaced it by saying “While, in light of how far things have come, it’s not that remarkable, it is still worth noting.” “Not that remarkable” that she actually made history. [latxcvi added]
fucking nbc :|
First, just to get it out of the way, a Bob Costas segment on Gabby Douglas followed directly by a commercial of a monkey doing gymnastics is so offensive that I can’t even deal with it. Just assume my rage can be seen from FROM SPACE.
Second, NBC’s continuing efforts to undermine the narrative of Gabby’s extreme competence is incredibly disheartening. Let’s start with the mention of Aly Raisman “reigning” in Gabby during TFs. First, Aly gave Gabby a pep talk when she was nervous before beam. This is probably what NBC was thinking of when they made the comment. Here is how I saw that moment: a nice team moment of the athletes connecting and Aly showing some leadership skills. But Gabby is the one who hit on beam and bars and floor and vault. Furthermore, Gabby was the only athlete to do all four events, even as she did all four events in quals and would be back in all around in two days. The amount of confidence that shows in Douglas ability to perform undercuts the idea that she needed to be led anywhere.
Before the final rotation, specific mention was made of how Aly needed to hit her first pass. The comment for Gabby Douglas was that she needed to “stay in control”. She stepped out of bounds on one event, out of the 11 she had so far competed in. That doesn’t sound like a gymnast out of control to me. That doesn’t sound like a gymnast who is an overly emotional headcase but a gymnast full of poise and focus that has been honed through thousands of hours of hard work.
When Andrea Joyce interviewed Gabby Douglas after her gold medal, Joyce asked Douglas if she thought her floor was a “gold medal winning routine”. CLEARLY IT WAS BECAUSE SHE IS WEARING THE MEDAL ON HER CHEST. But beyond that point, that is what you say to an athlete who came in second. You ask if they thought they did enough to win and they talk about how they worked really hard but came up a little short. It is not what you say to an athlete who hit 4-4 (and 11-12 over three days).
Finally, let’s talk about some things that gym bloggers are being more explicit about but that I thought was implict in NBC’s coverage.
So much kudos for that must also go to Liang Chow, coach and brains behind the gymnast. NO IT MUSN’T. The NBC broadcast continually talked up Chow while waiting for Douglas’ score. Again, even during the last minutes of their broadcast, they continued to search for someone else to give credit to.
This is not to dimish Chow in any way. He is clearly an accomplished coach, both in the sense of being a good technical coach and in the sense of being a good strategist but he is not the brains behind Douglas. It doesn’t matter how good a coach is, if an elite track athlete can not handle their mental game, if they are not smart about their sport and about competition, they never make it to an elite level. In the very rare case that they do, they are Mirai Nagasu.
Gabby Douglas did not get where she is by allowing Chow to pull all the strings while she was just the body. Yes, she is clearly supremely talented but so are many, many other athletes who never got to where Gabby Douglas is. There has been twenty years of (mainstream) discussion about the construction of a narrative in which black athletes are “talented” or “gifted” and white athletes are “smart” or “hard working”. Why is the narrative still perpetuated in 2012?
I see alot of people working very hard not to give Douglas the credit she deserves.* So let me end the post by saying this: Gabby is smart, mentally focused and hard working. If you haven’t heard anyone say those things or you don’t believe those things, I encourage you to ask yourself why.
*Before anyone responds by saying that I was rooting for Gabby to win and am therefore biased, I will state that Komova has been my favorite gymnast since 2010.