Gabby's Getting It, Hair Aside

Very rarely do I address digital ignorance being that it’s so prevalent it’s sort of like an intellectual pandemic. The whole Gabby Douglas hair thing has really hit a nerve and as an African American woman it embarrasses and depresses me. I’ve read the articles  on Gawker and Essence but I decided to ignore the media and just chant “Go Gabby!” as loud as possible but, late last evening while trolling Facebook I was grossly perturbed by a comment left on a high school friend’s page. My friend had posted in short a “Go Gabby!” status, and only a few seconds later someone she knew made a negative  comment about Gabby’s hair. My friend addressed it quickly.  Her comment was polished, articulate and an all-around amazing comeback. I was  still pissed, pissed so much I did back to back comment posts on how I was embarrassed that it wasn’t another race mocking how Gabby  looked, it was us, more specifically African-American women. Not African-American men who have taken social beatings for not being loyal to African-American women and no longer considering us beautiful.  Not Caucasians, not Asians, it was  women that had the same skin tone/shade/color and background of Gabby. Many of these women who could technically be Gabby’s mother were making fun of her hair. They were slinging back handed compliments, at first saying Go Gabby but in the same breath, making fun of her hair which sadly I believe they thought there were doing something good. We all have that one person, I won’t declare them a friend more like a frenemy, who will say “Oh you looked great, but you look a little fat in that dress.” Unfortunately, the art of the back handed compliment is more a female trait than male trait. In all of my thirty plus years, I have found that women more specifically, insecure or in the case of Gabby Douglas, unaccomplished women, have a tendency to believe that granting a compliment to another woman is a sign of weakness and that rather than let another woman or a fifteen year old girl bask in glory, they have to negate their positive prose with a negative remark.
 On Thursday night I cried tears of joy for Gabby Douglas not because it’s the Olympic games, where I get so  emotional for every American win, my homeboy calls me Team Bucket of Water and not just because we are of the same race. The tears of joy came when I saw Gabby’s family in the stands, knowing all the sacrifice that they probably went through financially and emotionally. Training for an Olympic sport can cause serious wear and tear on families where the entire inner workings of a family revolve around an opportunity that only comes once every four years.  Many families go into massive debt, sibling rivalries tenfold and often there is divorce going into the quest for Olympic gold.  Many Olympians refer to their social awkwardness and family dysfunction as collateral damage. Although my childhood athletic status was limited to Double Dutch and Redlight/Greenlight, I’ve watched my fair share of Bob Costas Olympic stories since the 1988 games in Seoul to reflect. The Costas  stories of these Olympians are all similar, with the theme being perseverance, focus, discipline, sacrifice and so and so on. I choked up while watching Gabby’s brother hug his mother before the final score for the Women’s Gymnastics All-Around. In his glaze I saw an older brother who was nothing but proud for his little sister. An older brother who was not hugging his mother to soothe her nerves and doubts. That young man hugged his mother as a way to say “See Mom, it was all worth it. You see this crowd, you see this energy, and you hear these chants. This is not just for Gabby, this is for the Douglas family.” Once Gabby was declared the winner, and what turned me into a red eyed mess was Gabby’s testimony to God and her sense of humbleness that touched my heart. Here was this teenager, who was connected to her sport, to herself and to God and she made no qualms about it.  She made me feel   immature and I’ll be 32.   I thought of myself at fifteen with my braces, my lack of confidence and my lack of faith on God and this teenager had inspired and uplifted me. If Gabby Douglas can give glory then I should too.

After seeing some of the tweets about Gabby’s hair, I decided to do some research into some of the tweets and in this case, a profile pic is a thousand worlds. From the poses, to the string of tweets a majority, I won’t say all, but a majority of these women were less than physically stellar. What makes me a judge of beauty  you  ask. Well,  I believe I can give an unbiased account of what  is attractive because  I work in a grossly superficial industry and also my zodiac sign is Libra. Does that make me qualified; I like to think so, specifically because Libras are known for their love of beauty as well as their diplomacy but I’m giving an educated opinion based off of my career I’ve had ten plus years of unbiased capabilities to detect overall attractiveness.    What I saw were tweeters that were out of shape and not that soft on the eyes. From the grammar usage in their tweets, I also deciphered a lack of a command of written English and not a lot of depth in their thoughts. Before  Twitter, those thoughts could easily be dismissed as you wouldn’t hear them but in this digital age, the dumbest people are always the loudest, and in this case, they have to post their views to social media.  So while they mocked this gold medalist, I saw a cabal of out of shape, low social status, unaccomplished people fueled by self-hatred. Yep, I went there, we hate ourselves, we hate ourselves so much that you don’t have to look to the media to do it for us, we are the best at doing it ourselves. Between blogs, YouTube rants and of course Twitter, you can no longer blame Don Imus for mocking African American women, if it’s something we do well is tearing ourselves down.  It’s not just the Olympics, it is everywhere this systematic mental civil war. Nothing breaks my heart more than to step into a room  and receive hostility not from Caucasians but from one of my own. The stares, the tension, the hostility from strangers that look like you are not only ridiculous but it can be downright puzzling to my Caucasian counterparts. The crabs in the barrel exercise is done so well within the African American community that it has become a spectator sport for us as well as the majority. The KKK is still around but they no longer have to burn crosses on our lawns that cost money,  it is cheaper and easier  to let us  destroy ourselves.

 What these fools should have said was thank you Gabby for not snatching out a weave and fighting in public like those amazing weave wearers on Basketball Wives. Nor did they say  thank you Gabby for not being on 16 and pregnant, or even better, thank you Gabby for not acting like a mega mean girl  on My Super Sweet 16. What these fools  of Twitter would   rather  do than  jump for joy for Gabby is mock a teenager as if our teenage years were full of professional hair and makeup artists. Grown women who post ungroomed pictures of themselves, mocking a teen is beyond sad, it’s abominable. I can’t wait for the Olympics to finish and let the true media blitz begin.  Gaby’s going to hit the talk show circuit, and rocking those gold medals like “What!” and that perfect wave she does with her hands secretly she’s saying “Hi hater” all while you walk to the bus stop, singing “I’m ridin’ around and I’m getting it”.