gabby douglas*Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., urged that we be judged by the content of our character instead of the color of our skin.  I ask the question, why is Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas being judged not by the perfection of her talent and performance but by the condition of her hair? Particularly, by those who should be beaming with pride and patting Gabby on the back for her accomplishments.

When I read the first article by Dr. Boyce Watkins about the uproar over Gabby’s hair I was going to pass on it because I thought the entire subject was just too asinine to even discuss.  But it just seems as if it won’t die.  I was talking to a very good friend of mine who spends 75 percent of her time working with young girls and Gabby’s hair came up in our conversation.  My friend had not been watching the Olympics and so she was totally oblivious to “Gabby Hair Gate”; however, she had a conversation with some young girls she was working with and they commented to her about how bad Gabby’s hair looked.  They stated, “She (Gabby) made black women look bad.”

While watching the competition with my sister and a couple of her friends, one of my sister’s friends commented about Gabby’s hair, saying something to the effect that “Gabby’s mother should be ashamed not to have gotten her edges done.” Another friend of my sisters, with whom she works with, chimed in with “if it had been a white person she would have gotten her teeth fixed.”  I was stunned and so angry about the comments that I left the room.  My sister’s friend who commented about Gabby’s hair and her “edges” is an individual who has never worked a day in her life, as far as I know, but receives a monthly government check and sits around all day playing a computer game.  Her daughter, who looks like she should be playing offensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers, just graduated from college cum laude but the only thing she does is sit around on the Internet  all day and watches videos on how to apply makeup or converse with Face book friends.

I call the people who made the comments about Gabby’s hair, teeth and whatever the “Enquirer Crowd.” People whose inquiring minds are so small and narrow that the only thing they do is sit around all day and talk about what others don’t, should, shouldn’t or can’t do.  They are the low minded, under achievers whose only claim to fame in life will be to criticize others. They will never win a gold medal in gymnastics on the world stage, never find a cure for any disease, never invent a life altering computer software, and never do anything for the betterment of humanity or society.

To make such childish,  ignorant, backwards statements is beyond comprehension. To focus on anything other than this incredible young woman’s talent and accomplishments show ignorance, a lack of character, a lack of humanity, a lack of patriotism and more importantly a lack of civility. How far have we fallen that we must show such cruelty and try to belittle such a beautiful, talented, amazing teenager who, with the help of her mother and others, propped herself up and soared to enormous heights on the world stage?

With her outstanding performance at the 30th Olympiad, Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas became not only the first African American woman but also the first woman of (any) color in this whole wide world, the first black woman and the first woman of African descent to win an individual gold medal in the women’s all around gymnastics competition. Forgive me if I’m redundant.

According to databaseolympics.com,  from 1952 until 2012 the all around gymnastics competition gold medal was won by Russians, Romanians, Hungarians, Germans, Ukrainians, Czechoslovakians, Anglo “white” Americans or should I just say “white folks.”  It was not until the 2000 Olympics that persons of color even won a medal in the competition and those were bronze medals that went to three Chinese gymnasts (Xuan Liu in 2000 ( Sydney); Nan Zhang in 2004 (Athens)  and Yang Yilin in 2008( Beijing Games).  This is what makes what Gabby Douglas has done so remarkable and outstanding. She has impacted not only America but the world.  And to make a comment that “she made black women look bad” is the ultimate in ignorance and stupidity.

Gabrielle “Gabby” Douglas is a true role model for all young girls and women (black, white, Asian or Latina) throughout America and the world (forgive my redundancy again), the African American community and the African Diaspora.

Congratulations Gabby, we honor and salute you. You reached for the moon, girlfriend, and landed among the stars.

Ms. Chico Norwood is a freelance writer and the former managing and sports editor for the Hub City News in Los Angeles, California. She is a former staff writer and assistant sports editor of the Los Angeles Sentinel, the Los Angeles Watts Times and Rapid Publishing, publishers of the Lynwood Journal, Compton Bulletin and the Californian. An award-winning journalist she is the recipient of a National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) Best News Story Award, NNPA Best Sports Story Award, an American Media Health Fellowship, Outstanding Young Woman of America and several other awards of merit. Her articles have been published in the Los Angeles Times, Ebony Magazine and other local and national publications. Contact her via: [email protected]

chico norwood

Chico Norwood