Olympics Rely on Dark Girl Magic, But Don’t Support It


For better or worse, the Tokyo Olympics are finally here. This means that a tremendous burden will be placed on the shoulders of a single group of athletes: Black women.

Simone Biles is one of the brightest talents in the Games. But if recent history holds and tries his most striking moves in Tokyo, gymnasts will set an arbitrary limit on your scoreto. Some say this is to deter other competitors from attempting similarly dangerous aerial maneuvers. I say that the organizers of the sport cannot cope with his sheer audacity.

Naomi Osaka is a supernova, perhaps the most recognizable female athlete on the planet named Serena Williams, Osaka’s idol who wisely decided not to mess with the Games. But if Osaka isn’t polite and nice in her interviews with the news media, she will be thrown under the bus, a reaction desired by her. Withdrawal from the French Open because he didn’t want to attend the press conferences there. This pressure exists alongside the fear that he will be teased as either too Black or too Black. not enough japanese if he doesn’t win the gold medal.

Gwen Berry He is one of the world’s strongest hammer throwers and one of the bravest athletes to protest racism and injustice. But the Olympic lords made it clear that it would be better for him to act on the medal podium – otherwise.

These Games will have a split personality. they will bare The Olympics’ greedy pursuit of multibillion-dollar profits from sponsorships and television contracts, in this case, which forced the event into a Japanese public want it canceled There is an increase in coronavirus infections and emergencies.

While no fans will be able to watch it in person, they will provide heart-stopping, dramatic performances.

They will show something else. The structure that surrounds and organizes sport, especially the Olympic movement, is failing to support women – especially for Black women.

Biles, Osaka and Berry are not alone.

When Alice Dearing became the first Black British woman to compete in swimming, you won’t see her wearing the newly created Soul Cap, which was specially designed to accommodate thicker, curlier hair. NS international swimming federation banned He.

And there will be several prominent Black women hovering over these games like ghosts, prevented from competing.

Who will watch the women’s 100m run without thinking? Sha’Carri RichardsonThe American sprinter was suspended from competition for a stern violation, unnecessary rules banning marijuana Forced use by a power structure that barely contains black sounds?

Who will watch the women’s 800 meters race without thinking? Caster SemenyaWho dominated when they won gold medals in that event at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics? He won’t defend these titles in Tokyo because track officials have decided his body is producing too much testosterone.

Funny, no one tried to ban swimmer Michael Phelps for his naturally occurring hyper and double elongated joints, longer-than-average fuselage and wingspan, or strong lung capacity.

Phelps is white and American. He has influence in every way.

Semenya is a black woman from South Africa. It is disrespectful to him and his humanity is disregarded.

She is not the only Black or brown woman to be discriminated against by a system whose lodestar is the Euro-centric, Swiss-based International Olympic Committee.

The IOC is blaspheming the Games with a fuzzy myth and claims to be politically neutral and divorced from the brutal realities of the world. But this is a lie. Games reflect society. Black female athletes competing in Tokyo will bear the heavy burden that Black women carry in every aspect of life.

Many expect them to perform excellently and make headlines selling the event.

The expectation is that they will become ambassadors of their nation, even as they struggle to earn equality and respect from the federations, governing bodies, sponsors and media that make up the rules and traditions of their sport.

The pressure will be intense. Other than professional tennis, women’s sports are never valued enough. This makes the Olympics by default the largest platform for their overall recognition. When the spotlight isn’t in female athletes, the challenge is even tougher.

Four years away from the glare, African-American sprint star Allyson Felix, He left Nike in disgust In 2019, when the shoe company offered a contract that cut her salary by 70 percent after giving birth. The job never ends. In Tokyo, even while proposing to become the most decorated female athlete in Olympic history, Felix, with her new sponsor, Athleta, is leading an effort to offer grant money to Olympic athletes who are mothers for basic needs like childcare.

This responsibility should not belong to him.

The phrase Black Maiden Charm is heavily distorted during the Olympics. But while the Black Girl Charm is commendably comforting, it comes at its own cost: the pressure to give women the perfect all-around.

Ask Richardson.

As Sprinter’s confusion surfaced on social media, Amira Rose Davis, an assistant professor of history and African-American studies at Penn State, watched with a nuanced eye.

“It was heard shortly after that Sha’Carri failed the drug test, and in that period before people found out it was marijuana, you could see how quickly her image changed, how quickly all the accolades she got were thrown out and it became this kind of disposable joke. came,” Davis said.

He continued: “Finally, his case became something you could trumpet. But before that, there was a time period when you might find that this symbol of Black Maiden Charm was no longer useful as an individual. So that idea went to waste. It has become something you can throw away and forget about.”

All athletes know how quickly they can be forgotten and rejected. But Black women know this better than anyone.

None of this is new at the Olympics.

A crossing line connects ancient athletes to today’s athletes. In the American context, we can start with the runway stars. Louise Stokes and Tidye PicketIn 1932, she became the first Black woman to qualify for the Olympic team. On a trip to Los Angeles, where the Games were held that year, they encountered harassment from their own team members. Mildred “Baby” Didrikson. Then, when the competition began, they watched from the sidelines with no explanation for their exclusion.

You are probably hearing their story for the first time.

Who is remembered, who is forgotten?

And yet Black women are pushing forward. They will appear and appear at the Tokyo Games.

This is not magic. Working in the face of harsh realities.


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