Observations of an Invisible Woman

The Whitetification of Gabby Douglas

Dear Black People,

As much as I love you dearly, sometimes you piss me off and get on my nerves! Instead of being proud of this black child who lead her gymnastics team to gold in one of the most electrifying routines ever seen on television, you criticized her hair. HER HAIR!!! You tore down a black girl who worked hard her whole life, whose mother sacrificed everything so her child could pursue her dreams and made her feel like worthless dung because of the kinky hair that God gave her. Since when is superficiality more important than merit and integrity? Since when do we trash a child who represents us rather than love and support her?

You know damn well at the tender age of 16, Gabby is recognizing her womanhood and sense of self. For her to adorn a dead animal on her head to stifle her harshest critics, black folks, is shameful and disheartening. What happened to us? Why did we become so callous, so unfeeling and so empty? Why put hatred into her mind about her African features and dark skin, the same darkness that fights disease and protects her from the sun’s harmful rays? A hateful heart is an empty heart. And all of you that influenced this child to change her appearance should be ashamed of yourselves! Since when is black beauty an oxymoron? And why didn’t you curse Lolo Jones for having “messy hair?” What’s the difference between Lolo’s out-of-place locks and Gabby’s locks?

NOTHING!!!!! The only reason you pick on this child is because she’s dark! Yet you find nothing wrong with this: Yes….she’s been reduced into an object. The caramel flesh of this Mulatto was on display for the world to see since 2009. Of course Ms. Jones courted the media with revelations of her virginity. Some claim that her prowess is tame in comparison to her teammate but yet she shines! You do know that this plays into the hands of a white supremacist system, right? Doting over a Mulatto that some consider mediocre whilst criticizing an obvious black woman is damaging to both women’s psyche. One gets inflated and the other becomes deflated…both by their skin colour, so both are losers. And you wonder why light-skinned Negroes and dark-skinned Negroes have always had animosity. Of course, Gabby and Lolo chose to go down this road…but it begs the question:

Did outside influences tap into the fears and insecurities of both women? Was the relentless pressure to be blamed? Remember the animosity between Joe Frazier and Muhammed Ali? Not one person can deny that Colourism played a role in the heated exchanges between the two athletes.  And why did we allow ourselves to fall prey to this madness? Being a mixed woman with caramel skin, I’ve heard many folks, including my own sisters, cry about the “unfairness” of being born with darker colouring. Frankly, I’m sick of this shit. And I want it to be over. I just haven’t got a clue as to how. I’m pretty mad right now. I’ll take the weekend off from writing to cool down my nerves.

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43 thoughts on “The Whitetification of Gabby Douglas

  1. http://www.ebony.com/news-views/the-medias-gabby-douglas-problem-147

    what do you think of this article in response to what you’ve written here?

  2. @ Kenya

    Thank you for this link. I agree that this media courts racism and sexism amongst black artists/ athletes and this has gotten way overblown.

    However we as a black race cannot deny that colourism and standards of white beauty do not affect how we see ourselves. The fact that Gabby chose to wear her hair “differently” and Lolo chose to go down the road of the “sex-kitten” tell me that we have a lot of work to do.

    Good article by Ebony.

  3. Big up to little Gabby, you keep your head up little girl real Black people love you.

    When will we break the self hate cycle?

  4. Mickey on said:

    When White supremacy falls & Black self-love prevails.

  5. Kushite Prince on said:

    Lolo crying over the media picking on her for not winning a medal.

  6. Kushite Prince on said:

    Dawn Harper actually beat Lol Jones at the trials this year. But she didn’t receive any of the hype that Lolo got. Dawn and Kellie Wells both beat Lolo during the hurdles this year. Lolo came in fourth with no medal. Dawn said something about “other people getting more attention than her” but she didn’t say any names. It’s obvious she was speaking about Lolo. I’ve heard Lolo described as an “All American beauty”. What does that mean exactly?
    I believe that most whites believe biracial women are prettier than black women. That’s why actresses like Halle Berry and Paula Patton are described as beautiful more often than Angela Bassett or Regina King. The sports world is no different. When white people look at Lolo they assume she has at least one black parent. And she does(father is black). I don’t think darker skinned black women can be the “All American beauty” in this country. I think it reminds white folks of Africa too much. Biracial people in general are more relatable to them. I don’t have anything against Lolo Jones. She ran a good race and came in fourth. Nothing to be ashamed of. But I think it’s the media’s fault for hyping her up so much.
    I also don’t think Gabby was the favorite to win. In the USA Today two weeks ago,they did an article on the Fabulous Five gymnasts. But on the front page Gabby was missing. WTF?? How inconsiderate is that? That shows they didn’t consider her a standout. Of course Gabby surprised all the critics. Good for her!

    Here’s Dawn Harper beating Lolo at the trials:

  7. mary burrell on said:

    The media is play the coloration game. I did’nt want to go there with the Lolo debacle, But it’s obvious this is what they are doing. It would behoove African Americans to not fall for this foolishness that separates us. It is nothing but modern day slave mentality from the white media. Gabby is beautiful. I don’t like what they are trying to do to her. The extensions make her look old. She is just a child and they are using her for their foolishness. Mama Douglas needs to step in and put a stop to them trying to use her daughter and turn her into something that she’s not. She is not some sex kitten. She needs to keep her sweet little girl image.

  8. @ Prince:

    This is why I say both women are tormented and both lose. Their athleticism is being overshadowed by other nonsense.

  9. @ Prince:

    The all AmeriKlan beauty is someone who exemplifies “white” beauty standards.

  10. mary burrell on said:

    I meant colorism

  11. Kushite Prince on said:

    Yes it’s a distraction. I feel what you’re saying. I found a video about Lolo on Youtube,I think you’ll find it interesting. I’d like your thoughts.

  12. @ prince

    Lolo invited the media into her life then recoiled when they tore at her.

    On one hand, as ye sow so shall ye reap.

    On the other hand, she is being used and exploited by the media for her “exotic” appearance.

    But being empathetic, I do feel for her.

  13. introvertedwanderer on said:

    One of the things that annoyed me about the criticism of how Gabby chose to do her hair for the competitions is that those people criticizing didn’t seem to use common sense and look at the context of the situation. As an athlete, Gabby has other things to concern herself with, instead of worrying about whether her edges are laying flat enough. Athletes have to work out, train, perform, etc, etc, and during those times, they are going to sweat, so if Gabby had spent a ridiculous amount of time worrying over her hairstyle, it wouldn’t last long anyway. One of the best ways to keep her hair was exactly the way she wore it at the games, which was slicked back, and pulled away from her face, the way a lot of the other female gymnasts wear their hair.

    I read a recent article about how people were criticizing her after she changed her hairstylyle to do a round of tv appearances. So at the end of the day, she can’t win. She got criticized for how her hair looked before and she got criticized after it was changed. I personally feel like black women should be able to wear their hair any way they want. If they want to go natural, get relaxers, wear extensions, that’s up to the individual to make that decision. Sometimes a way of keeping ones hair is just that, a way of keeping ones hair. Black women seem to be the only ones burdened by unrelenting criticism of how they keep their hair. I don’t see other races of women facing this. If a nonblack woman decided she wants to put in extensions, or do something else with her hair, it’s usually just considered just another way of keeping the hair, but with black women, because of the history of the way our hair has been viewed and the self loathing that has resulted in some people as a consequence, black women’s hair choices are always questioned.

    I remember when I was in school, I kept my natural hair for a lot longer than a lot of other black girls do. I actually kept my virgin hair up until I was about 13, and then submitted to peer pressure to get it relaxed. Before getting it relaxed, my mother used to style it in several braids or I would get cornrows done by an aunt. And other times, I’d wear it in a ponytail. The other girls, thinking that they had a right to put their two cents in, would always make remarks and basically bully me about my hair. It’s like they felt that they made the standard for how “black hair” should look and be maintained. Looking back on it, I should have asked them if they were also going to pay for me to get my hair done, since they felt like they were the keepers of my and other girls hair. They just had a nasty atttitude about hair, shaped by white beauty standards and probably years of being criticized or just hearing comments by their own families about their hair, so then they project their own issues with their hair onto black girls/women who wouldn’t have otherwise been thinking about hair that much.

  14. Kushite Prince on said:

    Yes, she used the media and they used her in return. First she was the sexy exotic vixen–then she’s the pure virgin. I understand why you may feel a bit sorry for her. But hopefully she’ll learn from her mistakes.

  15. Dear Introverted:

    I’ve discussed black women’s hair so much…yet it’s always a hot topic. In my honest assessment, the only reason why we suffer such animosity and scrutiny from the Eurocentric and unfortunately, Afrocentric crowd is for one reason:

    You hair is a direct TIE TO AFRICA and it is considered offensive!

    Samson had locks, so did Moses. Our hair, may it be kinky, nappy, coarse, wavy or curly is a direct threat to EVERYTHING the white man stands for.

    Skin colour can be altered, noses can be surgically straightened but hair is a tell-all to heritage. Since the Eurocentric ideal of beauty dictates that ALL peoples look like them, is it a wonder why blacks gang up on each other for the sake of preserving that idea?

    We are a conquered race. We’ve been taught and brainwashed what is pretty and 9 times out of ten, pretty ain’t us.

    I wear my curls natural…all the time. When it was long, it was a corkscrew curl and got loads of attention in the form of ” Is it real?”

    I don’t let anyone tell me that black isn’t beautiful!

    Whoever gets offended…screw off.

  16. Your Highness:

    Blacks will have no other choice but to understand that supremacy is the antithesis of their success and well being.

    Those that don’t wanna understand that…sell out.

  17. Kushite Prince on said:

    That’s true. I’ve seen it too many times to count.

  18. I don’t see other races of women facing this. If a nonblack woman decided she wants to put in extensions, or do something else with her hair, it’s usually just considered just another way of keeping the hair,

    In Harlem yesterday, a fourteen-year-old boy asked a friend and I for directions to wherever he was going. Given that it was Marcus Garvey’s 125th Birthday, I engaged the child on what he likes to read, and at some point he mentioned his height and we discussed his basketball prowess.

    Knowing how kids are, I spoke to him about the importance of getting that college scholarship, but additionally, I related to him to keep money to the side, away from White attention, which he can then use to give independence to his people; explaining that Booker T. Washington too was a covert Black philanthropist.

    When we here discuss Gabby Douglas, we need not recognize what non-Black women do. For it’s true, non-Black athletes have short hair for athletics and long, full hair for media: it may be because professional stylists aren’t professional “braiders.”

    Still, like with the boy I spoke with, we should communicate to these rich athletes or media types to covertly do with their money something toward the independence of the race.

    We can’t racially compare against non-blacks: they are independent and we are dependent upon them. Even Gabby Douglas would be a flexible woman alone without White patronage. For all it’s worth, if the White man will give you this amount of money to do what you like to do that’s not directly hurting anyone, then whatever. It becomes what you will do with that money.

    It’s possible that Gabby Douglas didn’t change her hair for the criticisms, but because a stylist who only knows how to make large extensions told her that large extensions would look lovely on her and she dropped that new money on him. It’s possible even that the White man said “I’ll give you $$$$$$$ for you to get a $$ hair style, ’cause only $$ hairstyles belong on White TV.” That makes sense.

    It becomes upon us what will Gabby Douglas do with the $$$$$$$. Will she turn it into $$$$$$$$$$? Will she spend $$$$$$ on racial independence? Will she turn it into $$, spending $$$$$ on racial dependence (like many other athletes)? That’s what we should be discussing with Gabby Douglas.

    Whether non-black girls go through the similar experience is to me a conversation we too often had that doesn’t bring us closer to racial independence.

    Gabby Douglas is young, new money. Where is the Black community to assure us that she won’t be new broke in five years?

    My 2 cents. 🙂

    Thanks for the comment,

  19. This guy is one of my favorite supervillians.

  20. Satan:

    Did you read my Things this blog has taught me?
    I stated that whites are not happy being white.

  21. mary burrell on said:

    OMG! White People are fascinated with our hair. That little black girl was just a little princess, She knows that she’s fabulous.

  22. Nah. Haven’t read it. Though don’t think that statement could possibly apply to most whites. I don’t believe that they see themselves racially, and even if they and when they do, they have enormous pride (as they should) in themselves.

  23. Fiamma on said:

    I have to agree with Satanforce in that I don’t believe that most whites think of themselves in racial terms. Most seem to view themselves and other whites as individuals. When they pass each other as strangers on the street, they are passing not another white person, but simply another person. It is when they pass a person of color that race –the other person’s race, that is– comes into play.

    It is mostly white racialists, I think, who eat, drink and sleep ‘white’. White racist skinheads are typically racialist, as are many, if not all, of the so-called ‘race realists’ who troll some of these blogs. Doug1 struck me as being a white racialist. Anyone white person who devotes hours each day, as Doug1 did, trying to convince PoC of their own supposed inferiority, while touting the supposed superiority of himself and other whites, is a white racialist in my opinion

  24. @ Fiamma and Satan

    Ok. Fair enough.

  25. The hair thing was a joke taken to seriously by the media. When you have scholars on television talking about twitter conversations as if they are reality, you have a problem. No one cares about her hair, we are all jealous that she is young, accomplished and ( potentially) rich. It has nothing to do with her hair!!!!

  26. oh…. so This is why they hate Lolo Jones….. for an olympian, this is too much!

  27. http://www.africanglobe.net/featured/african-beauty-culture-threatened-western-civilization/

    Now i will be the first to admit that TJsotomayer has got serious issues; but what he says about hair is undeniably the reality.

  28. Was in the garrison yesterday. Asked one of my friends what percentage of the women wore their hair in its natural state. Dude thought for a moment and said ‘1 percent.’ Remember, the women in the garrison are some of the poorest in the Island, and yet they beat some of the most expensive hairstyles. Makes you wonder.

  29. Yeah…our priorities are so messed up. Like buying a 60,000 car but having no money to pay the rent!

    Satan, did you read brainwashed by Tom Burrell?

  30. No. I’m doing a chapter by chapter summary of Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman. My dark ages coming/dumbing down books are:

    You are not a Gadget
    True Enough
    The Shallows
    Cult of the Amateur
    How to watch TV News
    Dark Ages Ahead
    Brave New World Revisited

  31. ok…can’t wait to read your posts on them.

  32. JensenJay on said:

    U.S.A ! SWEET HEART!! you think she could be love by being her-self?

  33. In this country? Nah. They’d destroy her.

  34. This is why i had not really commented on Gabby Douglass’ post until now, because i knew it was really just a smokescreen for a much deeper issue…”natural” hair (meaning unprocessed, sans horsehair, human hair (that doesn’t belong to the wearer), etc…

    TJ–and damn i can’t believe that i am actually going to type this–is right. Black women do have an obsession with not wanting to be black. You can take the word “black” i just used here and dissect and take it a part anyway you like–but that doesn’t change the reality that black women are lying about why they wear weaves– “it’s b/c black men won’t date me if i don’t”…no…just say “i think white women/Asian women look better than me”…

    If we flipped and spent billions of dollars giving patronage to Flori Roberts, Fashion Fair, Iman cosmetics, and found the loc and braid shops that distribute their own products to patron–just how great would it be to be a black woman.

    And the poor kid Gabby–she can’t be blamed at this point–not until she is equipped with the right information can she truly be held accountable for her decision..whichever it may be.

  35. Mickey on said:

    @ phoebeprunelle,

    I don’t think it’s a “I think white/Asian women look better than me” deal. I think it’s a “They have prettier hair than me” deal. think about it. Blacks have been taught all of their lives that their thick lips, big butts, wide noses, and dark skin is unattractive. However, many Black women gave a collective, “Fuck you! I like my thick lips/big butt/wide nose/dark skin.” to those that said otherwise. However, the “nappy hair is bad” meme stuck. I thought that because Blacks are considered having the most different hair out of everyone else on the planet, it is the reason why the hair issue remains. Though this is just a theory of mine.

  36. @Mickey, i can understand that…

    Fuck you! I like my thick lips/big butt/wide nose/dark skin.”

    Too damn right!

    I have, unfortunately been around black women who in fact wish they were “white” or in some twisted way had “whiter” physical attributes. I think a few black men do not appreciate a black woman being natural, but the key word is “few”. Most black men i have come in contact with at work, school, want black women to be “natural”. These dudes seriously clown weaves! There are articles out there written by black women telling other black women that going natural could hinder her dating prospects…

    its a complicated issue–black women in some ways are getting mixed messages, i am not going to deny that, but at the same time, it is not limited to hair–but skin, as well as what to self-identify as, and that is a whole different post.

    In this regard, black women have to take the lead; i am really convinced that if en masse black women went natural–black men would still be in our beds, in our faces and ALL that good stuff.

  37. and completely unrelated to any prior, check out the blackification of white chick:

  38. Pingback: My Homepage

  39. What’s strange and hasn’t really processed completely in my mind before was what this self-described “Ghetto” woman told me yesterday.

    In Brooklyn, Downtown is where integration and money is. It’s also where the natural Sisters are. Sometimes, when I had the time or conviction, ‘on the prowl’ if you will, I would go Downtown and espy the natural Sisters clinging on White men. The Brother who I was with didn’t understand it. He connected “Naturals” with “Afrocentrism.”

    Come to find out though, this Ghetto woman was distinguishing the different crowds of Black people; from where I rally and from where she recommends I rally. She had a wig, but recommended I go into that “bourgeois” crowd who would say of her “Oh she doesn’t love herself, look at her wig.”

    Ain’t that something though? That a “Ghetto” woman would link natural hair with “Bourgeois” women, almost as if “unnatural hair” were a cultural statement in and of itself, and ‘natural hair’ were a rejection of “ghetto culture” (like how bourgeois people move from the Ghetto, and “Ghetto” [even Black!] men.)

    Just something I wanted to tell ya, truthbetold. Oh and I had a wonderful experience talking to this Sister. She had such a wonderful heart!

  40. phoebeprunelle ,Onitaset got deep on this issue but another part is men ,most black men I see kept their hair extremely short, with a sizable percentage that go bald as in completely reject their head hair period.
    Another percentage that cut their short and then wear a hat ,not to mention the ones that process/straighten.

    On the issue of looks ,is this really so or are we conditioned by years/centruries of abuse and also forced to by people who dominate us economically and militarily.

    Since I became conscious I never alter or cover my hair out of simple self respect.
    And not being conscious and self respecting too has its price

    (everything does) Gabby Douglas comes from a part of america where african americans like her although primarly male are killing each other at record levels,
    in spite of the repeated references to her being a “child” she is an adult,a young and definitely not wise one but an adult.

    She like most others choose to emulate the meanest and ugliest people in the world with no thought or value of truth or self respect, to me its justice that she looks worse trying to imitate her oppressors.

    We need yet another entertainer/athlete?

  41. @ Mbeti

    That’s my fear. She’s being “groomed.”

  42. JensenJay on said:

    kp said:I believe that most whites believe biracial women are prettier than black women. That’s why actresses like Halle Berry and Paula Patton are described as beautiful more often than Angela Bassett or Regina King. The sports world is nodifferent. When white people look at Lolo they assume she has at least one black parent. And she does(father is black). I don’t think darker skinned black women can be the “All American beauty” in this country.

    JensenJay said:interesting you say this cuz that dose not match what I’m seeing everyday, what wm really prefer. this whole bi-racial hype thing is being pushed by ww. it is ww ,who is doing this shit to keep the real completion away dark skin bw r ww biggest most POWERFUL THREAT! so they use mix bw by put them on a fak pedestal to make war between dark-light skin women. why you ask? well it’s all about keeping dark skin-bw from taking center stage having the spot light and keeping her from having admiring eyes from men of other races, when you look at who non-bm date/marry these women are not light skinned they are dark-skinned from Michelle Obama complexion to alek weka skin tone. I know plenty of non-bm who dating IR will go after more darker skin bw these men are white men latino men, Asian men and even now middle eastern men. so don’t be fooled by the ww hype against bw, who they know their men really prefer. lots wm have told me their deep burning secret’s of being with or preferring darker bw over ww. think I’m lying just look at wm, who r with bw and look at their wife’s . remember the poof is in the actions not the words.

    So what’s this really about ?? Three words: PETESTAL! PETESTAL!! PETESTAL!!!
    Ww don’t wanna loss that center stage position and being the only one the Alphas go after (tho, all of this is actually changing) saying, “damn, that ebony sure is a fine piece of thang there. I wanna marry that one there“.

    So believe me when I say the saying of ww is not matching the action wm! Of who he’s going crazy for and gazing at.

    Ww say it’s Halle Berry, Paula Patton and beyonce
    But wm say it’s Angela Bassett, Regina King, Michelle Obama and Alek weak type
    So pay more attention to wm and his love of bw ,not ww them sluts HATE! bw
    with a passion.

    oh,ww means WhiteWomen.

  43. Kushite Prince on said:

    I see your point. You make a very good argument. But I do believe white women are threatened by the beauty of black women. Be they biracial or otherwise.

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