Sunday, August 12, 2012
The 2012 Summer Olympics: Highs and Lows
I have not been an avid viewer of the Olympic Games since I was little and people like Carl Lewis, Mary Lou Retton, and Greg Louganis were the champions America was cheering for during the summer games of 1984 and 1988. I guess since I was never a huge fan of sports growing up, the Olympic Games just kind of fell by the wayside on my list of things that I found to be interesting over the years. However, I will admit this one fact. I did, however, sneak a peek at the summer games over the years whenever I just happened to walk past a television at home or wherever I was when track and field was on and the women’s volley ball team was going for the gold. I did cheer for Carl Lewis. I cheered for Gale Devers, and I lusted and I cheered “at the same damn time” whenever Florence Griffith- Joyner (Flo-Jo) was getting ready to do her historic thing in the track and field completion. I would not be keeping it real, it I did not admit that I had a huge crush on Mary Lou Retton back then. She was really cute and she had “the smile” that warmed America’s heart including mine. She also killed the competition in the gymnastics portion of the games.
That same magic, charisma and “that smile” would be reborn in the spirit and presence of OUR very own Gabriel Douglas in the 2012 Olympic Games. I cheered for her as often as I get in front of my television set at home, which was almost nightly. This year’s summer games kind of caught me off guard because I had no intentions of watching the games, but then, I heard some guys talking about the Brazilian women’s volley ball team. That struck a chord in me. I found myself trying to catch one of the matches so I can get in on the excitement. Well, in the process of trying to catch the women’s volley ball matches, I was hit with an explosion called Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce and the rest of the women’s track and field. Carmelita Jeter also had me distracted for most of the games, but I did regain focus at some point so that I could realize who else was in those races competing with her and Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce.
I became hooked on this year’s Olympics by way of women’s track and field, women’s indoor volley ball, and of course, gymnastic because little Gabby was kicking butt. If she was not competing, I did not watch the gymnastics competition. I also got a chance to check out the men’s track and field. The 34 year old brother, from the Dominican Republic, Felix Sanchez killed them in the 400 meters hurdles. He has won the only two gold medals the Caribbean island country has in all. Talk about representing for one’s country. Then, you have Usain Bolt of Jamaica who went on track and field greatness with his record breaking all around performance in track and field. Now, if he could just shut his mouth up about Carl Lewis, I can still respect him as an athlete who did his thing at this year’s Olympics.
Finally, I want to end this article by touching on the “hair issue” that created a firestorm of controversy in the black community and even all over the world. There were some tweets sent out concerning gold medal winning Olympian, Gabriel Douglas about the “look” or the “status” of her hair during the competition. The issue that Black women and Black men have with OUR hair is nothing new. Hell, I was shocked that there were no comments tweeted about her having chocolate skin. I guess there may actually be some growth somewhere in our community and in the world. I cannot focus on the obvious comments about Gabriel Douglas’s hair supposedly not being very representative of Black people in the Olympics without mentioning a little history first. Black hair in its original form (the hair that God gave us) has always been a political issue as well as being a source that drew rage, fear, and even envy from our white oppressors.
History has taught me that when the first group of captured Afrikans was brought to the Americas to be placed in chattel slavery, they were stripped naked and shaved bald. This was done to add credence to the lies and myths that Afrikans were uncivilized savages who ran around the continent naked and acted like wild animals. The next 300 years would be spent convincing the enslaved Afrikans that nothing about them had any significance. Everything was ugly and was a curse from the god they force fed the enslaved Afrikans. They were made to feel badly about having full lips, wide noses, dark skin, large hips, big butts, and yes, their natural hair. Of course, as the Africans were becoming convinced that their bodies were ugly and cursed, the plantation owners and overseers perform every lustful, degenerate, degrading sexual act that he could think of on the capture women and the captured men. Yes. Homosexuality has a root on the old slave plantations in America.
Anyway, after 300 years of this torture and cruelty, this country puts the so-called newly freed Afrikans through 100 more years of legalized discrimination and segregation that came to be known as JIM CROW laws of the south. The laws placed even more psychological trauma on the minds of Blacks in this country. We were even convinced that we did not look right unless we looked white. However, I must remind everybody that America is south of Canada. I know that some people tend to only want to believe that only the southern part the of the United States mistreated Blacks. This is not true. The entire country mistreated blacks. This is why most of the slaves who escaped to freedom fled to Canada, not Chicago. Now, during this time, the self-hatred training has set in pretty good. We are now on “automatic self hatred.”
Here we are in 2012 with that same self hatred that was forced on us by our former enslaver and oppressor. The response to Gabby’s hair is a direct result of this psychological training that has yet to be corrected and treated. Until we clinically and educationally treat this psychological trauma and undo this 400 year mental training (spell), we will continue to “act out” and “act up” with each other and in our communities. I know that many of us in the Black community have tried other remedies to get rid of the symptoms of slavery, such as denial, pleading ignorance, interracial marriages, classism, going along to get along, and even Jesus Christ. However, until we sit down and deal with root cause of OUR issues with ourselves, we will continue to indirectly shit on great moments such as Gabriel Douglas making history at the 2012 summer Olympics all because her hair was not “straight” enough to represent black people in the Olympic completion.
For all those who actually felt this way, shame on you. When a person is working out or competing in a sport, the body sweats, including the scalp. Whenever I go to the gym, I rarely see Black women there. I see women of all other races and ethnicities up in there on the treadmill, the stair master, hitting the weights, swimming, and doing aerobics. However, when I go out to restaurants, bars, and nightclubs where food and liquor are served, I see Black women all over the place. I am still trying to figure out when it was the last time I saw a Black woman where tennis shoes. Anyway, congratulations to Gabriel Douglas, Carmelita Jeter, Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, Felix Sanchez, Usain Bolt, and of course, I can’t leave out Michael Phelps for making history as having won the most medals at the Olympics.