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Gabby's Hair -- An Issue of Life and Death?
Townhall.com ^ | August 9, 2012 | Larry Elder

Posted on 08/09/2012 5:56:56 AM PDT by Kaslin

Gabrielle Douglas became the fourth American -- and first black female -- to win a gold medal in women's individual all-around gymnastics. Effervescent and attractive, Gabby stands to make millions of dollars in endorsements. But she has received criticism -- in the social media, via Twitter, Facebook and, according to The Daily Beast, several "black blogs."

It's about her hair:

"Gabby Douglas gotta do something with this hair! These clips and this brown gel residue aint it." "She needs some gel and a brush." "She has to 'represent.'" "My mama sitting (here) screaming at Gabby Douglas on TV because her hair not fixed." "i don't care ... 16 or 26, black or white ... gabby douglas' hair is ratch." (Ratch, according to Urban Dictionary, means gross or disgusting.) Dismiss these morons for what they are -- few in number and hardly worth the energy to become annoyed about.

But the issue of "black hair" is important for serious reasons: blacks and drowning and blacks and obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black kids ages 5 to 14 are almost three times more likely to die by drowning than white kids. Nearly 70 percent of black kids do not know how to swim, versus 40 percent of white kids, according to a USA Swimming survey. And, per the CDC, blacks are 51 percent more likely to be obese than whites.

This brings us back to Gabby Douglas' hair.

1996 Olympic gold medalist Dominique Dawes, a black female athlete, said:

"Unfortunately ... our self-esteem, many times, is wrapped up in our hair. I know a lot of African-American women, including myself -- when my hair was relaxed, I did not like working out when I was training for those three Olympic Games. I was constantly sweating. My hair was relaxed, so it would be dry and brittle because of the relaxer. I didn't want to get into pools, because the chlorine mixed with the chemical-treated hair does not make it look good whatsoever. And that's what people have been attacking little Gabby Douglas about. And it's sad that it's not on her achievement and her performance."

Many black women wear chemically treated hair, and water makes the hair revert to its natural kinky texture. Since treating the hair again takes time and costs money, many black women simply choose not to go into the water to avoid damage to the chemically treated hair. Why bother learning how to swim?

Couple this with the fact that 70 percent of black kids are born without a father in the home, and this often means there is no one in the home who knows how to swim and can teach it.

Fox's black sports columnist Jason Whitlock said: "We have a health crisis in the African-American community, and it's particularly acute with African-American women, and some of it is related to their hair. They're afraid to exercise because they don't want to sweat and hurt their hair. ... It's a $9 billion industry, straightening out our hair."

Dawes said: "It's what we call the 'creamy crack' (straightening out our hair). ... A number of women will not work out, because they don't want to sweat that perm out. They spent so much money. Nowadays, it's about $120-plus to get your hair relaxed. ... They don't want to sweat their hair out, so they're not going to work out, and they're not going to jump in the pool. And it's a shame because it really is costing us African-American women our health."

By the way, if it is true that some black women have insecurity on the issue of hair, they do not suffer a lack of self-esteem because of it. Studies show that black girls have higher self-esteem than white girls, in part because they are more confident about their bodies. White girls, on the other hand, reported more insecurity about their figures. White girls are more likely than black girls, for example, to hold up the Barbie doll body type as the ideal. Black girls were comfortable with varied, heavier body types.

And what Americans define as a pretty face differs from past standards of "white" beauty. A UCLA professor studied the faces of models during the last five decades of the 20th century. He found: "Today in American society the African-American female does not have to display Caucasian-like features in order to be considered beautiful. African-American models displayed fuller lips than the Caucasian models, who showed fuller lips than the average Caucasian. It now appears that the non-Caucasian face with fuller lips is now viewed more beautiful than the traditional thin-lipped Caucasian."

Gabby appears to be holding up quite well to the criticism. Gabby's mother described her daughter's reaction when she learned of the snarky tweets: "'Really?! I won two gold medals and made history, and my hair is trending?' So we laughed about it."

Now then, Gabby hair haters, think about this. In calling Gabby's hair "ratch," are you dissuading young blacks from protecting themselves by exercising or learning how to swim?


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: gabbydouglas; singleparenthood
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1 posted on 08/09/2012 5:57:05 AM PDT by Kaslin
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: jimfree

Very odd one.

The unspoken issue here is that the “treated” hair is designed to make it look less “black.”


3 posted on 08/09/2012 6:08:10 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: Kaslin

A lot of very telling background on black culture in one article. Gabby is just the latest example of why black achievement in this nation is still stifled. Hint- it isn’t the evil “Man” (aka White Man). In the black culture, success is shunned. Is a black person works hard to better themselves, they are pulled down by their own people. “Uncle Tom” is still used to discourage black men from excelling (just ask Clarence Thomas, Alen West, and other Conservative black men who have made it). I have heard youn black students called traitors to ther race for... Answering questions in class or making good grades.

And just like in Gabby’s case, if you can’t bring someone down with those discouragements, then attach them personally. Their hair, body, skin tone, etc.

And again, nearly all of this comes from the BLACK community.


4 posted on 08/09/2012 6:09:33 AM PDT by TheBattman (Isn't the lesser evil... still evil?)
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To: Kaslin

The swimming issue goes back a long time before straightened hair, though. There is some cultural reason why black people are afraid of water. Where I used to live, people said it was because the beaches were once restricted to “Whites Only.”


5 posted on 08/09/2012 6:11:32 AM PDT by miss marmelstein
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To: Kaslin

Michelle Obama hasn’t yet sported an Angela Davis type Afro so I suppose she is acting white.


6 posted on 08/09/2012 6:12:13 AM PDT by The Great RJ
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To: Kaslin

I’m sure Gabby could care less and will be laughing all the way to the bank. Jealousy is an ugly thing and those that make fun of her hair are more than likely welfare recipients who have the time and money to get their hair and nails done. Gabby doesn’t have the time (her hair is just fine), she’s to busy working hard and making something of herself.

Congratulations Gabby and God bless you!


7 posted on 08/09/2012 6:12:48 AM PDT by mardi59 (THE REBELLION IS ON!!!)
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To: jimfree

Her hair looks like the hair style of every gymnast for at least the last half century. Only someone who had never watched a gymnastic competition would wonder about her hair.


8 posted on 08/09/2012 6:17:02 AM PDT by CaptainK (...please make it stop. Shake a can of pennies at it.)
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To: Kaslin

Gabby and her team mates are shining little jewels. I don’t see where their hair is a problem. Except to racists maybe.


9 posted on 08/09/2012 6:18:06 AM PDT by Mike Darancette (Obamaid has to go.)
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To: Kaslin

Black people don’t like...black people.


10 posted on 08/09/2012 6:18:25 AM PDT by .45 Long Colt
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To: Kaslin

Her hair looks good.


11 posted on 08/09/2012 6:18:32 AM PDT by BykrBayb (Somewhere, my flower is there. ~ Þ)
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To: Kaslin

How silly.

Her hair type is part of her beauty, and she is a beautiful girl.

I don’t watch the Olympics so it’s all new to me. She’s very lovely!


12 posted on 08/09/2012 6:20:31 AM PDT by SMARTY ("The man who has no inner-life is a slave to his surroundings. "Henri Frederic Amiel)
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To: miss marmelstein

A black woman told me it was because they fear water due to the historic memory of their ancestors being thrown overboard into shark infested waters during the slave trade. Not kidding


13 posted on 08/09/2012 6:22:22 AM PDT by kalee
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To: Kaslin
Tell them to p' off, Gabby!


14 posted on 08/09/2012 6:23:16 AM PDT by rdb3 (We need Ward Cleaver for President. We already have Eddie Haskell. (ATB))
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To: Kaslin

She’s adorable and is an excellent representative of the US at the Olympics !


15 posted on 08/09/2012 6:23:16 AM PDT by Reagan69 (I supported Sarah Palin and all I got was a lousy DVD !)
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To: kalee

“A black woman told me it was because they fear water due to the historic memory of their ancestors being thrown overboard into shark infested waters during the slave trade. Not kidding”

“Historic memory.” Still trying to get over that and then the FBI plots to introduce AIDs into her neighborhood. Sometimes you just can’t win.


16 posted on 08/09/2012 6:25:46 AM PDT by SharpRightTurn ( White, black, and red all over--America's affirmative action, metrosexual president.)
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To: mardi59
Gabby Douglas could shave her head as bare as a male swimmer and she would still be femninine, attractive and beautiful. It's what's inside that counts and she has it, in spades.
17 posted on 08/09/2012 6:25:46 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: Vigilanteman

Exactly! Instead of putting Trayvon Martin on a pedestal, the african Americans need to find out WHO their real heroes are. Gabby did great.


18 posted on 08/09/2012 6:32:51 AM PDT by mardi59 (THE REBELLION IS ON!!!)
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To: Kaslin

Is there some kind of inborn jealousy with Blacks that makes them critical of other Blacks who actually achieve something instead of getting attention for nothing except running thier mouths...like Jesse and Al?


19 posted on 08/09/2012 6:32:59 AM PDT by lonestar (It takes a village of idiots to elect a village idiot.)
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To: miss marmelstein
The swimming issue ...

... is more of anthropometric genetics between the races.

If you take a typical 6' black guy, and a typical 6' white guy, the black guy is more likely going to have longer legs (inseam), which means a shorter torso.

While that ratio may be a benefit in running, it's more of a negative in swimming, performance-wise.

There are reasons ships and subs are designed the way they are.

There are always exceptions, of course.

20 posted on 08/09/2012 6:33:17 AM PDT by Calvin Locke
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To: Kaslin

Why don’t these facebook and twitter people go back to tweeting eachother about when they go to the bathroom and leave this little Christian American hero alone?


21 posted on 08/09/2012 6:34:29 AM PDT by 2nd Amendment
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To: Kaslin
I cant believe this garbage.

Congratulations, kid - all the hard work paid off. You did it and thats all that matters.

22 posted on 08/09/2012 6:35:07 AM PDT by skeeter
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To: mardi59

It seems Blacks are quick to identify with the Traylon Martins but have no clue to identifying with Blacks who have a work ethic, like Gabby.


23 posted on 08/09/2012 6:35:47 AM PDT by lonestar (It takes a village of idiots to elect a village idiot.)
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To: kalee
A black woman told me it was because they fear water due to the historic memory of their ancestors being thrown overboard into shark infested waters during the slave trade.

Africa contains a great deal of arid land, and most bodies of water contain something that will EAT YOU.

I think the avoidance of water goes way back before the slave trade.

24 posted on 08/09/2012 6:38:12 AM PDT by MamaTexan (I am a Person as Created by the Laws of Nature, not a person as created by the laws of Man)
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To: Kaslin
These dumba$$es need to get a life.

Gabby is an American; not a “black” or “white” American. She is a positive, successful example of the greatness of our nation.

The race baiting trash can leave her alone.

25 posted on 08/09/2012 6:39:12 AM PDT by HereInTheHeartland (Encourage all of your Democrat friends to get out and vote on November 7th, the stakes are high.)
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To: Kaslin
Saw this one on Facebook yesterday:
26 posted on 08/09/2012 6:39:12 AM PDT by knittnmom (Save the earth! It's the only planet with chocolate!)
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To: CaptainK

Considering it is rare to have a black medalist in this sport, perhaps blacks have not watch much gymnastics before?


27 posted on 08/09/2012 6:42:34 AM PDT by PghBaldy (Obama 07/22/12: "we all reflect on how we can do something about some of the senseless violence...")
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To: Kaslin
Gold Medalist USA
28 posted on 08/09/2012 6:43:17 AM PDT by mardi59 (THE REBELLION IS ON!!!)
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To: kalee
A black woman told me it was because they fear water due to the historic memory of their ancestors being thrown overboard into shark infested waters during the slave trade. Not kidding

Oh c'mon.. that is stoupid...can't believe you fell for that.

The reason why blacks don't swim/like the water is they did not have the opportunity to swim when they were younger. I lived in a rural area and there was pool in our HS and at least 3 other public pools in my area within close distance to my home + many ponds/lakes etc

Many blacks in inner cities don't generally have access to pools so they don't learn to swim.

Nothing racial about it or inferiority just they don't have the access/opportunity when growing up.

29 posted on 08/09/2012 6:44:03 AM PDT by trailhkr1
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To: MamaTexan
Africa contains a great deal of arid land, and most bodies of water contain something that will EAT YOU. I think the avoidance of water goes way back before the slave trade.

Facepalm.jpg

30 posted on 08/09/2012 6:45:46 AM PDT by trailhkr1
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To: trailhkr1

I did not say I believed. She did. I thought it absurd.


31 posted on 08/09/2012 6:45:48 AM PDT by kalee
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To: MamaTexan

I think it has more to do with those with higher bone and muscle mass not floating as well than anything attitudinal.


32 posted on 08/09/2012 6:47:25 AM PDT by skeeter
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To: knittnmom

Love that picture, isn’t it amazing? How can the human body do something like that?


33 posted on 08/09/2012 6:48:13 AM PDT by pepperdog (Why are Democrats Afraid of a Voter ID Law?)
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To: HereInTheHeartland

It does stink that this all-American girl is just being bashed by these race pimps. They saw nothing but brown skin and hair that wasn’t “representing”?

Back in the 80s this type of nonsense wouldn’t even be an issue. Now, after 20 years of turning our girls into skanks and trash, we actually get one that is wholesome and NOW there is a “problem”?


34 posted on 08/09/2012 6:49:20 AM PDT by VanDeKoik
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To: kalee

Oh, believe me, I’ve heard that story, too!

There’s a lovely movie called “Conrack” starring Jon Voight as a teacher of island Gullas or Geechees (or whatever they’re called!) and he is stunned to learn how much they fear water. He eventually teaches the children to swim.


35 posted on 08/09/2012 6:50:27 AM PDT by miss marmelstein
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To: pepperdog

Absolutely!


36 posted on 08/09/2012 6:53:35 AM PDT by knittnmom (Save the earth! It's the only planet with chocolate!)
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To: kalee
A black woman told me it was because they fear water due to the historic memory of their ancestors being thrown overboard into shark infested waters during the slave trade.

Yeah, those devious slave traders loved nothing more than throwing hundreds of dollars worth of product overboard.

37 posted on 08/09/2012 6:53:49 AM PDT by Sloth (If a tax break counts as "spending" then every time I don't rob a bank should be a "deposit.")
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To: Calvin Locke
If you take a typical 6' black guy, and a typical 6' white guy, the black guy is more likely going to have longer legs (inseam), which means a shorter torso.

While that ratio may be a benefit in running, it's more of a negative in swimming, performance-wise.

I'm reminded of this everytime I scuba dive. I'm not black, but I'm well over 6 ft with very long legs and low body-fat. I have to "trim" in order to keep my legs from 'sinking' so that when I fin I remain 'level' in the water.

Long distance swimming is particularly tiring since I have to exaggerate my body position in the water. I kind of have to tuck my chin to draw my body's center of mass more over my center of buoyancy. This allows me to propel myself through the water more efficiently. If I don't my legs 'drop' and some of my motion is required just to keep myself 'up' in the water. Much more tiring.

38 posted on 08/09/2012 6:56:59 AM PDT by Tallguy (It's all 'Fun and Games' until somebody loses an eye!)
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To: Kaslin

And thus cultural issues can be shown to be destructive of both safety and prosperity. A society that values improvement will find it easier to cast off cultural preferences that impede improvement. We see in this article a culture that demands the power to hold young people back for the sake of cultural preferences.

I wonder what percent of people who are complaining about this young athlete’s hair style voted for Obama in 2008? Is there a correlation somewhere to be found?


39 posted on 08/09/2012 6:57:33 AM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: Kaslin

What about the ever-so-popular shaved head look?


40 posted on 08/09/2012 7:02:29 AM PDT by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: skeeter
I think it has more to do with those with higher bone and muscle mass not floating as well than anything attitudinal.

LOL! Perhaps. Perhaps I watch to many shows where the natives in Africa and other geographical locations like it where the natives are always seen either in boats or knee deep by the shore facing the water. In one interview, an old man said the crocodiles were always 'taking' people.

--------

Be that as it may, the fact the bitter old hags criticizing this lovely and accomplished young lady shows just how petty and racist they can be.

Good for you Gabby! Show 'em how it's done with class!

41 posted on 08/09/2012 7:03:27 AM PDT by MamaTexan (I am a Person as Created by the Laws of Nature, not a person as created by the laws of Man)
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To: Tallguy

I’m caucasian and was a sinker when I was young. Too skinny. I was actually a good swimmer, but I just could not float which caused me to have to quit a life-saving class. Any time I tried to float I sank to the bottom like a stone. Sadly, I could float a lot better now fifty years later.


42 posted on 08/09/2012 7:04:31 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: jimfree
The girl has a gift.

So do a lot of other kids. But many will never know it, because they don't have the guidance and encouragement to pursue that at which they might excell. And the work ethic it takes to get where Gabby is.

43 posted on 08/09/2012 7:07:00 AM PDT by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: trailhkr1

Funny that’s what Cullen Jones thought when he started his charitable organization which focuses on bringing swimming lessons to disadvantaged youth. What he found to be the #1 reason that blacks do not know how to swim was fear. As he said, it is generational fear. When parents are fearful of the water and do not know how to swim, their children are afraid and do not learn to swim.


44 posted on 08/09/2012 7:08:47 AM PDT by ebersole
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To: lonestar
...except running thier mouths...like Jesse and Al?

Off topic, but wasn't it Jesse who said of Obama before the '08 election "he's never run anything but his mouth"?

45 posted on 08/09/2012 7:11:36 AM PDT by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: lonestar
...except running thier mouths...like Jesse and Al?

Off topic, but wasn't it Jesse who said of Obama before the '08 election "he's never run anything but his mouth"?

(I forgot the last part) A possible example of the older black's jealousy against a young, charismatic potential rival?

46 posted on 08/09/2012 7:19:03 AM PDT by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: Kaslin

This is a stupid article. Women of all colors spend money on their hair. As for gabby I thought her pony tail was cute.


47 posted on 08/09/2012 7:22:59 AM PDT by linn37 (Newt supporter here.)
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To: Sherman Logan
I dunno if you've seen it, but if not, Good Hair is a great documentary on the subject of black hair.
48 posted on 08/09/2012 7:25:33 AM PDT by OnlyTurkeysHaveLeftWings
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To: Reagan69
Yes she is!

FWIW, Gabrielle Douglas, Douglas (anagram) = USA gold

49 posted on 08/09/2012 7:35:24 AM PDT by Sgt_Schultze (A half-truth is a complete lie)
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To: ebersole
What he found to be the #1 reason that blacks do not know how to swim was fear. As he said, it is generational fear. When parents are fearful of the water and do not know how to swim, their children are afraid and do not learn to swim.

I'd guess that the inter-gererational "fear" of the water probably only goes back to the Black migration from the rural south to the urban industrial areas of the US during the '40's. It's hard to imagine kids of any color not availing themselves of the lakes & streams.

Among the first things to get cut in any city budget crisis is the operation of city pools.

50 posted on 08/09/2012 7:35:49 AM PDT by Tallguy (It's all 'Fun and Games' until somebody loses an eye!)
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