The Olympics are over. The United States won the most medals and all the athletes were treated like heroes.
Well, most of them.
There was a disturbing trend during the Olympic coverage as most of the negativity directed at the African-American women that competed for the country. Perhaps it was all coincidence or perhaps there’s something more to it. But let’s recap:
– There was the disgust over Serena Williams using a “gang” dance to celebrate her gold medal victory as if the C-walk hasn’t been diluted to the point where they’re basically doing it on Glee or Step Up 3D: Crunk Juice or whatever the movie is. It’s been years since anyone’s considered it a “gang-related dance.” Come on, people. Let’s face it: Serena Williams is at least in the top three in terms of women athletes all time and she’s having the most dominant tennis run we may have ever seen. In a sport where there isn’t an American male making any waves, Serena has ruled the women’s side and put on a legendary gold-medal performance. She really should be celebrated as an American sports icon, instead of disparaged for doing a dance which lost most of its sting and connotation several years ago once it went mainstream.
– Somehow, Gabby Douglas’ hair almost became a bigger issue than her award-winning performances. Douglas was the first African-American to win gold in her sport yet every congratulatory tweet was met with another, either an insult to or in defense of her hair. Even her mother had to answer to why Gabby’s hair looked a certain way…while her child was winning gold.
– Lolo Jones didn’t win anything in the Olympics. Want to know a secret? A lot of people didn’t win anything. And while we can definitely talk about the hype vs. talent disparity going on, but none of it called for the New York Times character assassination article right before the Olympics.
These Black women, like all of our athletes, left U.S. shores to go abroad and represent America in the greatest gathering of sports. While they were away, rap was determined to bring “b*tch” back to prominence as Kanye penned a loving ode to his woman called “Perfect B*tch,” which was preceded by The-Dream’s “Dope Bitch” too, let’s not forget. Also not to be forgotten, the Internet was panning Lupe’s “B*tch Bad” song that doubles as a foil to all of rap’s renewed love for woman’s worst pseudonym. The song – all things considered – should have been a much bigger event than it is.
Then there was the idiotic article articulating exactly why Black men prefer White women and posters talking about how Kim Kardashian is the Black man’s kryptonite. It’s times like this I wish “B*tch Bad” had more of an impact, or that we as a whole could drum up the cache to show pride, support and solidarity for our queens. But alas, that’ll take years.
With the criticism they received and the other frivolities going on here, I’m left to wonder how excited our Black female athletes were to be returning home. Maybe they’d prefer to go the route of Black Expatriate Community that left around the Harlem Renaissance, opting to go to a country where they’re respected. The sad part is the original Expatriates left because of how they were treated by the White community. A century later, the African-American female athlete may need to flee from her own community.
By the 2016 Games, I just hope Black female athletes – and Black women in general – don’t have to deal with these issues.