‘Wrong about black women’

Published 10:16 pm Tuesday, August 23, 2016

To the editor:

I think the writer of “Character, not race, matters in Olympics” (Aug. 20) misses the point.

Yes, all of Team USA should be applauded for the dedication and hard work shown in the Olympics.

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But the writer of “Gold, Silver, and Black at the Olympics” (Aug. 16) is aware of the distress and outrage African-Americans are expressing due to the reality that, regardless of achievements, people still judge people based on skin color.

This year’s Olympiad was special, because it showed a different picture of African-Americans to the entire world. As a 22-year-old, I am grateful that Gabby Douglas, Simone Biles, and Simone Manuel are showing society that it is wrong about black people, especially black women.

Too many times, African-American women are portrayed as angry, wild, violent, sharp-tongued, promiscuous and greedy. The media also stereotypes African-American men. Therefore, the media and entertainment industries are teaching black kids as well kids of other races that this is how black people behave.

As a result, society believes it has a reason to disenfranchise African-Americans, pointing to media and entertainment as their evidence.

But when individuals like Douglas, Biles, and Manuel accomplish things that are good, people try their best to make them look bad, like they recently did with Gabby Douglas for not putting her hand over her heart during the National Anthem and for her hair. However, since many people have seen Gabby’s performance, she has a lot of supporters that see beyond the petty stuff.

Young people, regardless of race, need to know they can overcome any obstacle that comes their way. They are continually told, “You won’t make it!” “You’ll never change!” “You’re a waste of society’s time!” and so on. That has to stop.

The Olympic athletes are already winners because of their hard work and dedication, but there are still people who hate the fact that minorities are showing they are capable of achieving great things.

When Hitler was confronted by Jesse Owens’ performance at the Berlin Olympics, the dictator was embarrassed to see a black athlete achieve. Just as it upset Hitler when Jesse Owens proved him wrong, some folks will be upset when they see people like Douglas, Biles, and Manuel achieving great things.

Kenya Smith