olympic scandals did not warrant similar attention
by isela larreinaga, editor-in-chief
The most talked about event this summer, The Olympics, has finally come to an end with an abundant amount of beautiful moments to remember. This year, the Olympic games took place in Rio de Janiero in Brazil and as always, has its share of controversies (link to Emily’s article).
The most notable issue that occurred is when Ryan Lochte, an American swimmer who lied and exaggerated the story of being mugged in a gas station in Rio de Janeiro. Early reports of the incident from Lochte described how he and three other American swimmers were involved in an altercation at a Brazilian gas station where the four men were approached by Brazilian officers who took their money. Since then, we have learned that Lochte indeed was not mainly the victim, but he reportedly vandalized some parts within the gas station causing damage which Brazilian authorities wanted him to pay for. (usatoday.com).
After going on a media apology tour, Lochte seemingly got a pass for his actions. He went on every single media outlet that he could to say how sorry he was for causing a major international incident that made Americans look spoiled worldwide. Even the IOC chairman said that “boys will be boys” even though Lochte is in his early 30s. Is it white privilege that has saved him?
Compare this to another recent incident involving African-American Olympian Gabby Douglas who was America’s sweetheart during these games for winning (three) Gold Medals in Brazil, but unfortunately, people took to bashing her for her appearance rather than her incredible athletic abilities. She was criticized about her hair and the fact that it wasn’t looking good but instead “messy”.
This is not the first time that members of the media and online commenters have spoken negatively about Douglas’s hair. Back when she was only sixteen years of age, she was criticized at the London Olympic games in 2012 because her hair was “not fixed properly”. Four years later, she is still being criticized how she doesn’t have “time” to properly comb and brush her hair for the performances. Many women of the same ethnicity, African Americans, took it to twitter to tweet about their views on her hair instead of her remarkable performance. (http://gossiponthis.com/2016/08/08/gabby-douglas-hair-dividing-internet-again-rio-olympics/)
It is really despairing to hear that the same race of Douglas is tearing her down instead of helping her to represent all beautiful black women. How can one focus on her physical aspects of someone first instead of their talent?
Everyday within this society, the little features and actions are noticed in an instant. But, you’re more noticeable if you’re not of a white descendant. If you’re of any other race, people are quick to judge. Why is something as small as Douglas’s hair being covered by every social media outlet but not the situation with Lochte?
Douglas wasn’t at a fashion show, she was performing at an Olympic game. During these games, hard work leads to sweat and hair all around you. People should not focus on her natural hair but the talent and hardwork Douglas had put into each round of the games. She wasn’t there to impress the audience and judges with her looks but instead with her amazing and breathtaking routines that she came with. Today’s society is all about looks, money, and bashing others down. Instead of having pride about natural hair, many did the opposite. Hate is always around now, and love is slowly disappearing. We have to love one another instead of pulling each other down. At the end of the day, I’m human, Douglass is human, you’re human. Hate is something ugly, it shouldn’t be overcoming us. Love shall win.
Bringing back to Lochte, why was there equal attention focused on the fashion statement on the natural hair of an African-American teenager and an actual crime that may have occurred?
It goes to show that white privilege is still a huge problem and it isn’t fair to many other people. Lochte is described as a “Twelve time gold winner” first instead of “Liar who just protects himself from the press”. Meanwhile when you read an article of Douglas, the first thing you might read is, “Girl who couldn’t fix her hair for her routine” instead of “20 year old gymnast has wow’ed the crowd with her spontaneous flips and jumps”.