August 3, 2012, - 2:05 pm
While U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas should be celebrating and celebrated for her win as the best female gymnast at this year’s London Olympic Games, she must instead endure racism from America’s most racist segment: her fellow Black women (and some Black men, too). Douglas is beautiful, poised, and in interviews I’ve seen her give, she is well-spoken and classy well beyond her young 16 years (because she’s worked hard and sacrificed the way others her age in America haven’t). And, yet, she’s come under attack from Black women for her hair. If a White person dared say some of the horribly mean things Black women said about Douglas on Twitter (follow me on Twitter), they’d be called out for racism. At least one Black Twitterer called Douglas, “a beast,” because of her hair. (Some of the tweets are below.) But, as we all know, there is a great deal of self-hatred and racism within the Black community that is stronger than anything the Klan could ever posit. Remember when these same women were among a mob of Black Americans and White uber-liberals (and faux-conservative/professional victim, Michelle “I Am a Woman of Color” Malkin) demanding Don Imus’ ouster from CBS Radio for referring to the alleged “nappy headed” nature of a Black female college basketball player? True, he also threw in the word, “ho,” but do you think the result would have been any different, had he just stuck with the hair criticism? Why are these self-hating Black women on Twitter getting away with this? Because minorities can be racist and self-hating and get away with it, unlike the rest of America. There’s a double standard on everything. It’s gotten so bad that even Black websites, like Essence, The Root, and The Grio, have had to admonish fellow Blacks and tell them to shut the heck up about Douglas’ hair.
One tweet I saw from Douglas’ fellow Black Americans on Twitter referred to her as “ratch,” a racist term used by Blacks to describe fellow female Blacks who are “too ghetto” and resemble drunken fat whores.
A madam of the nasty ghetto species, dressed in an ensemble of cheetah print leggings and a leotard, not to mention the thong 4 sizes too small beneath these items. On top of her head is generally perched a purple weave, often resembling shredded plastic. A lady of this sort may be caught sipping a beverage called Baby Drank, or 4loko mixed with rufie [DS: sic].
And the definition goes on and gets worse.
Frankly, I’m not quite sure what the problem with Douglas’ hair is. It looks fine to me, but maybe it’s another one of those fictional “it’s a Black thing–you wouldn’t understand” moments. When she performed and, later, when she accepted her medals on the stand, her hair was pulled back and up with polish and dignity, just as it was with her fellow White and Asian gymnasts on the U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team. Is there something wrong with a Black woman with her hair pulled back while she’s on the balance beams and the floor mat? Maybe I missed something. What I won’t miss are all the endorsement and advertising deals she’ll soon get because of her achievements, and she’ll be laughing all the way to the bank, whatever her hair style is.
It’s pretty obvious that there’s an element of jealousy by all of these Black women attacking Douglas. Gymnastics is considered a “White” sport in America. Douglas is the first Black American woman to win the prized Olympic Gold Medal as the best overall female gymnast, and she’s one of only two Black women ever to make the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Team. Her mother sent her away to predominantly White Iowa to train for years on end. And I think the Black women criticizing her resent this. They won’t openly admit it, but they think this makes her too White–her hard work, her polish, and other characteristics that are sadly viewed as “unhip” in Black American culture today. Ditto for the fact that she speaks English without a Black or Ebonics accent. We’ve seen this before. All of this clearly bothers a certain portion of Black America. It has to. Because her hair isn’t the problem here and shouldn’t be. It’s not like she’s walking around with an Afro, and so what if she were? Black women have a certain texture of hair and there’s no reason they cannot display it the way they want, including pulled back with bobby pins and clips in a pony tail or a loose bun, as with Douglas’ coiffure. You don’t see White people attacking Douglas’ hair. Just Blacks. And maybe there’s also an element of refusal to give up the mantle of victimhood, instead of embracing the “we are the champions” mentality and pride that is appropriate here. Giving up the perks of victimhood is expensive. Leaving the plantation is tough. Does Douglas’ success and embrace by White America make her “not Black enough”?
Frankly, Black women should be applauding Douglas for not spending a zillion years as many Black women do, using scar-inducing hot combs and chemical relaxer to constantly smooth her hair. If you’ve seen “Good Hair,” the Chris Rock documentary on this (read my review), or lived amidst Black America (as I do), you know what I mean. It’s a form of slavery to their hair they voluntarily put upon themselves to look more like the White women that they hate. And now they attack Gabby Douglas because, instead of having paid thousands of dollars and spent many hours of time on expensive hair extensions, weaves, and straightening techniques, she spent that money on gymnastics coaches and that time in the gym and on the balance beam.
Many estimates say that up to a third of Twitter users are Black. And that’s probably true, since Black topics and hashtags frequently ascend Twitter’s trending topics. How sad that a good portion of that third is filled with Black racism against a talented Black American woman of whom we should all be proud, regardless of race.
The next time Black America throws around the racism word, remind them what they said about Gabby Douglas’ coif, while we were proud of her.
Tags: Black racism, Black self-hatred, Black women, Gabby Douglas, Gabby Douglas hair, ghetto, London Olympic Games, London Olympics, Not Black Enough, Olympics, plantation, ratch, ratchet, self-hating Black women, too White, Twitter