My father used to say that black people are like “Crabs in a barrel” and he also warned me to never “be the first black to do anything” because blacks are among some of the most jealous of people. Throughout my short-lived life I have found some truth to those statements and I have found some not-so-truths to them, too.
Firstly, blacks aren’t the only crabs in a barrel, its just that we like our barrels to be made of glass (whatever that means). Of course other races envy and are jealous of one another. Blacks tend to like to embarrass one another in public and make controversy where there should not be any. The successful have always had to deal with those who envy and are jealous of their luck and fortune. So, needless to say the Gabby Douglas trials are nothing new to any of us. Gabby Douglas is the first African American to win “All Around” Gold medal in Gymnastics. She is a cute 16 year old teenager from VA Beach, VA and recently has been under fired from “the black community” because of the way she keeps her hair.
When really thinking about this, it is laughable. Firstly, shes a teen. Secondly, she’s an athlete. Lastly, her hair is not bad. The voices that criticize the young lady have said things like, “She should have hired a stylist to go to London with her” and “Why didn’t she get a perm before going to the games and competing?” And all have been from social media like Twitter and Facebook.
The nature of these critiques are superficial and do no harm or benefit to the now legendary Gabby Douglas or her accomplishments. The Black community will never be completely happy with anything positive that is done with their image. We saw this with President Obama after the election in 2008 with certain people in the black community saying that he is not “black enough”.
I don’t know much about hair, but I know this much, those who have problems with Gabby Douglas’ hair aren’t winning gold medals. They aren’t in London representing their nation in the world’s most prestigious competition. Therefore they should shut-the-fuck-up! The reason that Douglas has reached the top and gone so far is because she is able to put foolishness behind her and keep it moving. The hype over the criticism has reached the Huff Post. Featured in Huff Post’s, Black Voices is an article with words from Gabby’s mother claiming that the reason for her daughter’s hair not being fashionable is because she “lived with host parents who were white and didn’t know how to do black people’s hair”.
I don’t think that is even necessary, because Gabby is 16 and if she thought her hair was gonna be a problem she would have done it herself. I am almost as baffled as the talented Douglas. When she heard of the madness going on state-side she asked her mother “Really? I’ve made history and won 2 gold medals and my hair is trending.” I’m disgusted, too, but I can honestly say its not a black people problem. This is a problem with all western culture. I’ve seen a few of these Olympic fashion critics on Twitter and Facebook and have wondered to myself, if the games have become an athletic-fashion-show. It was bound to happen, but overall hasn’t affected the Olympians or their performances. It is extremely ironic that we the spectators are evaluating not only the Olympians performance but also their style from the safety of our couches.
The point of the games is not style or fashion. These are the worlds BEST athletes and it makes me wonder that if they were as worried as we are about their hair and nails, that maybe they wouldn’t be as great as they are!
BTW: My dad was wrong. In my 23 years of living I think we all are crabs living in a barrel and every time one of us almost creeps out to safety, there are three or four crabs holding on to dear life wishing for our return.