Message Sent Successfully
Be Sure to Check Out Our Top Headlines
- 81977Oklahoma tornadoes: 'It took it all'
- 32354Oklahoma State football: Limiting Wes Lunt's transfer options makes Mike Gundy look bad
- 27598Oklahoma Severe Storm Updates
- 23828Oklahoma weather: Crews work to clear storm damage in Oklahoma City as the state braces for severe weather Sunday.
- 15915Oklahoma weather: Severe storm updates
- 8307Bounty hunters look for bail jumpers, fugitives on the streets of Oklahoma City
- 7696Oklahoma City Thunder: What could Serge Ibaka learn from Hakeem Olajuwon?
- 7650Oklahoma football: Jay Norvell working on luring a tall group of wide receivers to Norman
- 7465Severe storms possible in Oklahoma again Monday
- 7362Oklahoma tornadoes: Several homes damaged by tornado, but no injuries in Edmond
Back to share with a friend form.
Add More Recipients
Controversy over Gabby Douglas' hair highlights ongoing debate
By Yvette Walker
| Published: August 3, 2012
Gabby Douglas is a gold medalist and Olympian at 16 years of age.
That's more than any troll on Twitter can say for herself.
In fiction, a troll is a hideous, wicked creature lacking humanity. In the real world, they post unkind tweets about other people. The definition fits the people who decided to criticize American gymnast Gabby Douglas for having what they describe as unkempt, sweaty hair during the women's gymnastics competitions at the Olympics in London.
Never mind the girl was working as hard as her body would let her. Never mind she was twisting and contorting on the uneven bars, the floor exercise and her nemesis, the balance beam. Never mind she was perspiring, as any human will do when putting your body through such a workout.
And, sadly, many of those trolls appeared to be African American women. Sad, but not surprising. This is not a racist tweet trend. It's an example of black women digitally beating up a little girl whose star is rising.
Were they trying to be funny? And if so, why focus on her hair? Any black woman can answer that. It's the old war of “good hair” vs. “bad hair.”
Among some African Americans, “good hair” is straight or slightly wavy, similar to the kind of hair on the heads of Caucasian people. “Bad hair” is tightly curled, kinky, or “nappy,” and is the kind of hair found on the heads of many people of African descent.
The debate has gone on for years in the black community, but digital technology is making it easier to air this dirty laundry.
One of the first to report the Olympic hair hate was the online magazine SportyAfros.com, which was picked up by Jezebel.com and others. Monisha Randolph, a regular contributor to Sporty Afros, examined three of the main complaints found on Twitter:
“She needs some gel and a brush …”
“Someone needs to give her a hair intervention …”
“She has to “represent” …”
Stunned, Randolph wrote, “ ... the last time I checked when you play a sport, you sweat. I know I do. And when a Black woman who has chosen to wear her hair straight begins to sweat, her hair will (not might) begin to revert back to its natural coily, curly or kinky state. Does Gabby need to stop every five minutes to check her hair? No.”