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BellaOnline's African American Culture Editor


African-Americans in the 2012 Olympics

What a phenomenal journey for each and every athlete that has participated in the 2012 Olympics. Many, if not all, have worked their entire lives for the opportunity to compete in the Olympics; to go for the gold against the top athletes in their field. It’s not an easy fete. Nor is the journey towards Olympic Gold.

There were phenomenal cheers and accolades in the African-American community, when young gymnast Gabby Douglas helped her team win the Gold Medal. Another round of cheers and extreme pride and exuberance followed, when the petite young gymnast took the Gold in the individual all round. Making her the first ever African American female to hold that coveted spot, as the best gymnast in the world!

You’d think that would have been enough to solidify her place in history. You’d have thought, by her doing her best, and triumphing through all the hurdles and roadblocks, that there would be nothing to talk about but to congratulate her. How wrong you would be.

Taking to blogs, some people created a firestorm; which resulted in backlashes and even a comment from the Golden gymnast herself—who should be relishing in her victory—concerning…her hair! That’s right! Hair!

Bloggers went to tweeting and posting to their FaceBook about the young athlete’s hair, and how they were disappointed in what her hair looked like. Apparently, winning the gold wasn’t enough for these savvy sisters, and a few men! Nope! Never mind the grueling hours and the extensive workouts and rigorous routines—Gabby Douglas—according to these select few, were supposed to have that hair of hers perfectly coiffed and permed!

It’s been a long about battle in the African American community concerning hair. You have processed locks versus natural locks; weaves versus no weaves. Hair is a very touchy subject for many in the African American community. For some, their hair is their identity. The mane is what sets you apart from all the rest.

We’ve managed to come far in many respects. But hair? That still remains to be a soft or sore spot of conversation for many. In light of all gymnasts Gabby Douglas achieved; it is quite believable that hair would be the last thing on this young athlete’s mind. As it should have been for those who decided to criticize her.

Despite the “hair” raising issues; Gabby Douglas has paid the price for her Gold at the 2012 Olympics. The sacrifices that she and her family made to make this young lady’s dreams of going to the Olympics come true; far outweigh the ridiculousness of the catty tweets and blogs that have taken place.

Gabby Douglas has done for little minority boys and girls what President Obama did for many when he was elected: give hope. She has sparked in little girls and boys across the world a spirit of hope and perseverance. No doubt there will be a significant increase across the board when it comes to interest in gymnastics and the Olympics.

While others were flaking about the gymnast’s hair; she herself was setting goals, achieving goals, creating records, and doing the impossible. She rose to the occasion. All the hard work paid off, and Gabby Douglas can defiantly say: she knows the price of Gold.
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Content copyright © 2015 by Ruthe McDonald. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Ruthe McDonald. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Ruthe McDonald for details.


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