In the frenzied days since Dominique Dawes, the first African-American gymnast to win a gold medal in Olympics history, cried a river of deep emotion over the record-shattering wins of 16-year-old Gabrielle Douglas at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, the conversation in America — specifically in Black America — has entered interesting territory.
For many, it’s “living in the past” to recognize Black achievement.
Yes, apparently in the mind of the Neo-Negro, it is segregationism to acknowledge the race of a sister or a brother because mainstream media doesn’t do the same. If they are American, the Neo-Negro claims, then that is all that matters.
Dawes, thankfully, disagrees.
“Us gymnasts are usually so composed,” she said, contagiously sobbing through an interview with FOX Sports. “I am so thrilled for Gabby … I’m so thrilled to change my website and take down the fact that I was the only African American with a gold medal.”
Well, according to the word on Assimilation Street, Dawes shouldn’t be excited at all. The people that live there argue that what Gabby has accomplished transcends her Blackness to the point of making it a mere footnote, and to place special emphasis on her race is to diminish her global achievement.
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There have been racist White websites that wasted no time questioning her win. According to them, Russia’s Viktoria Komova was the more skilled performer. There have been chuckles that Gabby was handed an “affirmation action” win that she really didn’t deserve; yet, some of us, like puppets on a string, are willing to deny the rockiness of her road to success — yes, based on race — because we still want to fit into the dominant culture instead of standing out and inviting scrutiny of our Blackness.
As reported by Yahoo Sports:
In January, a fact sheet released by the National Women’s Law Center reported that less than two-thirds of African-American and Hispanic girls play sports, while more than three-quarters of Caucasian girls do. And a 2007 diversity study commissioned by USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for the sport in the U.S., said that just 6.61 percent of the participants in American gymnastics programs were black (10.67 percent are Asian and 74.46 percent are Caucasian). Members of USA Gymnastics—coaches, judges or athletes who participate in its sanctioned events—responded to (and within) the survey in a variety of ways, many of them unsympathetic: “This is just another example of political correctness gone CRAZY!” Said another: “As a middle class, white Christian male, is the NBA doing any “reach out” programs to me and my family?” And another advised: “Start programs in low income areas. Once people understand you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to teach and coach gymnastics, it will flourish. We are too elitist to appeal to the masses.”