Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Gabby Douglas’

Tale of Two Douglases: Gabby v. Alyssa

September 8, 2012 1 comment

Gabrielle Douglas, “Golden Gabby” with her historic Individual All-Around Gymnastics Medal at the 2012 London Olympics

During the London Olympics, I was enthralled by the historic achievements of Gabrielle Douglas. Golden Gabby made history as she was winning gold medals. And she was poised in the face of the white-hot media glare. Even when others lost their minds over, of all stupid things, her hair, Golden Gabby stayed elegant, poised and mature beyond her years.

In the time since the Olympics, Golden Gabby’s future is secure due to the promise of many lucrative endorsement deals. But she appears to remain what she was, a sweet, extremely focused, loving teen aged girl.

Last night, we were introduced to another Douglas girl. Alyssa Douglas. I don’t know very much about Alyssa. Like Golden Gabby, she is a teen age girl, 16 years old to be exact. She is from a town near Cincinnati, Ohio. It is my understanding that she aspires to be a hairdresser. I also know that she spews violent, hateful rants about the President on Twitter. I include her name because she removed any privacy concerns when she publishes her violent post on Twitter. I reconsidered posting her photograph, which is easily found. Just because this child is irresponsible with her privacy, I won’t pile on since I already find her judgment flawed. If you want to know what she looks like, you can do the same google search I did. But I will tell you that Alyssa is white.

Yes, last night Alyssa Douglas took to Twitter to post a simple one line tweet that defies logic and common sense: “Someone needs to assassinate Obama…like ASAP. #DieYouPieceOfShit”

Alyssa Douglas’ Twitter account has been removed, but the damage has been done. I understand that for a time before her Twitter account was removed, she was actually GAINING Twitter followers for dumping that kind of random violent ideation onto the Twitterosphere. Wow. Does this CHILD realize what she has done?

I bet Golden Gabby, who experienced the savage effects of Twitter and Facebook, understood what this stupid child did. But even if Alyssa did not understand the consequences of the stupidity at the beginning of the day, by now I am certain she is grasping the severity of the situation.

You see, the Secret Service doesn’t like it when folks threat the President of the United States…even if those threats are issued on Twitter. A man was recently jailed in Charlotte for threatening the President on Twitter. Frankly, I hope they throw the book at this girl. At the age of 16, you are old enough to understand that your actions have consequences.

The Obama Family after President Obama delivers his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.

As for the folks who would tell me that I have no sense of humor because Alyssa was only joking. My response is simple. You are right. I have no sense of humor when the life of a man with a wife and two children is concerned. Since someone issued a similar threat against Gov. Romney, I have the same no nonsense attitude. A call to arms to kill a public official is NEVER FUNNY. It’s stupid, reckless, and potentially criminal.

We live in a society where it is easier to buy a gun than it is to vote. In our country, a young man, who would go on to leave a trail of devastation in his wake, was able to purchase SIX THOUSAND ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION on the internet without raising any red flags. Have you bought cold medicine lately? It’s almost as difficult to do as voting, but guns and ammo…no worries. It is in that environment a 16 year old child takes to Twitter calling for the killing of our President.

The Secret Service has already been to her home. I hope she has spent the entire day getting to know them. I hope she has been scared the entire day.

Alyssa’s parents don’t escape my notice in this. Hate like what young Alyssa is spewing is learned. So I say, cart the whole stupid family off to jail, just to be safe.

Gabby and Alyssa… Two girls both 16 years old… Gabby has already accomplished more than many would ever dare to dream, and in the process, she has gained international fame. She represents the very best of aspiration, faith and diligence. We know that Gabby was surrounded by love and support, even when things were challenging.

Alyssa is at the other end of the spectrum. By her small and hateful thinking, which she had the bad judgment to post to Twitter, she will become infamous maybe on an international scale…for wishing a man dead. The irony is that the man she is wishing dead is internationally famous as a champion for hope and change. Alyssa strikes me a symbol of how entrenched racism and hate are…even in someone so young.

Someone ask Gov. Romney what he thinks about the tale of two Douglases. I wonder if there is any honesty left in Romney to recognize how much GOP dog whistle politics probably played a part in the downfall of Alyssa, and that Gabby succeeded in spite of them?

Oh, in case you had any doubt, Gabby wins this gold medal, by a mile!

I hope that you never forgot my open letter to the Secret Service. I hope they didn’t either.

Keep the President and his family safe.

 

Copyright 2012

Kimberly S. Jones

Golden Gabby: Dream Realized, New Dreams Born

August 3, 2012 8 comments

Gabrielle “Golden Gabby” Douglas stands on the podium after receiving historic gold medal

In 2012, it is a complicated time for Blacks in America. Hate speech spills out over the Internet like acid, working to burn and destroy everything in its path. A young Black man was gunned down in April for “walking while Black.” The first African-American President of the United States is disrespected by political rivals who would question his patriotism rather than challenge his policy. There are still so many of society’s peaks, political, economic and social for the Black community to reach, even for one of us, despite the fact that so many are so familiar with life’s valleys. Yes, it is a complicated time to be Black in America.

But today was simple. Today is about a young woman, named Gabrielle Douglas, who picked up the team, formerly known as the “Fab Five,” but rechristened by their hero and leader, Gabby, as the “Fierce Five,” and carried them to the peak of Olympic glory – team gold in women’s gymnastics. For the American women to win the team gold was historic, in and of itself, as it had only been done ONCE before in 1996. But for Gabby Douglas to win the team gold and the individual all-around gold…she made history twice. Not only is Gabby the first US gymnast to win the all-around gold and team gold in the same Olympics, she is the first Black woman to win all-around gold IN OLYMPIC HISTORY. Oh yes, she joins a very small sorority that consists of only four women, including Gabby, US women who have won the Olympic gold medal in the all-around competition in gymnastics.

Golden Gabby takes flight en route to her historic gold medal

Gabby competed for her gold medal in fine style, as she has through this entire competition – with fearless elegance. She took first place after the first rotation, and never looked back. She had nerves of steel, and composure of that never indicated any sense of stress or strain. She kept her cool and rose to meet her destiny and place in history, as others were faltering. She vaulted, flew, jumped, stuck those landings and gave us a smile that had enough wattage to assure us of her star power. When it was over, the Russians didn’t have enough to catch her.  Gabby was where she had been all day…ahead, but now with the gold medal around her neck.

The end of this story should be a wonderful picture of this smiling, excellent 16-year old who sacrificed her childhood in pursuit of her dream. She can leave London with more hardware since she qualified to compete for medals on the uneven bars and the balance beam.

But there are two other stories to be told with the Gabby Douglas story. I hate to bring it up on a day that should be about this wonderful girl’s achievement.  Both of these other issues tell us something about us, about America – media and hair.

First, I was intrigued by how the media virtually ignored Gabby after the team won the gold. Any other storyline of the Fierce Five was more compelling to the media than Gabby. The New York Times barely mentioned Gabby in their write up of the historic gold medal win, instead choosing to focus on a young woman who didn’t make the cut. Yes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. As a Black person, your excellence must be that much more outstanding than your white peer’s, otherwise, it will not be deemed noteworthy. Here is a case in point: A young Black woman has just proven her excellence to the world on the Olympic stage, and the camera couldn’t find her, reporters’ words barely mentioned her.  This fact says nothing about whether or not Gabby is excellent, because she clearly is, but it reminds us that we have work to do with media’s coverage of positive stories of the Black community.

Gabby’s hair… Now this is one that made my blood boil. This elegant, poised, talented, excellent young woman achieved more in the past few days than most folks will in their entire lives, and folks are zeroing in on her hair? The arrow to my heart was that this stupid, useless critique was coming from the Black community. At a time when we should be looking at this young woman with pride for her achievement, some sad, small-minded folks on Facebook and Twitter can only focus on her hair. This is a mirror moment. The way that individuals in the Black community perceive Gabby Douglas says a lot about that person. This young woman has MADE HISTORY, but folks are talking about her hair. If you are focused on her hair and feeling shame, it is a reflection of your own self-loathing. If you see her achievement, hard work and poise, then I would argue that you have a better sense of pride in yourself and sense of hope for the Black community as a people. Once again, it has nothing to do with this young woman who appears to have such a very grown up sense of self, sacrifice, faith, commitment…and now joy and achievement.

Golden Gabby with her Individual All-Around Olympic Gold Medal in Women’s Gymnastics

The Flying Squirrel has transformed. She went into the Olympic crucible and came out…Golden Gabby. She peaked and flourished at the perfect time. Her reward is a place in history. Unfortunately, she also picked up some misguided haters for her troubles as well. In the world of affirmations, there is one that says, “Make your haters your motivators.”

So Golden Gabby, don’t change a thing! Just know that tonight, there are countless little black girls AROUND THE WORLD who watched you and now believe that they can become an gold medal winning Olympic gymnast. You gave these girls an incredible gift.

Golden Gabby, from the realization of your dream, new dreams are born.

Copyright 2012
Kimberly S. Jones