Opinion: Why focus on Gabby Douglas' hair?
After her historic win, gymnastics all-around gold medalist Gabby Douglas faced criticism about her hair.
August 6th, 2012
02:20 PM ET

Opinion: Why focus on Gabby Douglas' hair?

Editor's Note: Tiya Miles is chairwoman of the Department of Afro-American and African Studies and professor of history and Native American studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of "Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom" and "The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story." She is also the winner of  a 2011 genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation.

By Tiya Miles, Special to CNN

When Gabby Douglas stood on the Olympic podium Thursday, a bright smile on her face and gold medal around her neck, she made history as the first African-American woman to win top honors in the all-around gymnastics competition.

Many African-Americans watching Douglas shared a flush of pride at the accomplishment, noting her joy, her poise, her grace and, apparently, her hairstyle.

I heard about this latter preoccupation from my sister, who swept into town for a weekend visit and opened with, “Have you heard that mess about Gabby’s hair? Type in ‘Gabby Douglas hair’ on Google; you’ll see.” I was dismayed to find a string of posts by African-American women and men debating Douglas’ hairstyle and the perceived imperfection that while her hair was straightened, parts of it had turned visibly kinky during her performance.

The fascination with natural African-American hair

Twitter and Facebook commenters and callers on black talk radio shows questioned whether her hair was too straight or too kinky, whether it was over-gelled or under-tamed, and what she should have done with that floppy bun. My sister, who thought this barrage of criticism was a “mess,” threw in the final comment: “All right, I admit if I was her mother, I would have put a headband on the girl, but really, who cares?”

A significant number of people, if the list my Google search returned is any indication. Why were some African-Americans fixated on hair at a moment that should have been set aside to savor a grand achievement?

For African-Americans and black women in particular, hair has long been troubled terrain. The natural kinkiness or curliness of most black people’s hair places it outside the bounds of mainstream American beauty standards, which emphasizes straightness, length and the bounce and flow of tresses in motion.

Reporter’s Notebook: Viola Davis keeps it 'real'

Historically, the difference of black hair texture has symbolized the inferiority of black people in the minds of some whites and even some blacks.

Naturally kinky hair was viewed as dirty, unkempt and unattractive into the mid-20th century.

In the 1960s and later, as blacks began to reclaim natural styles, Afros, braids and dreadlocks were associated with political radicalism in dominant American culture to the extent that some black women were threatened with the loss of their jobs for wearing braids to the workplace.

Over the years, black women (and men) have turned to numerous products and processes in an attempt to tame their locks into looks more fitting for American society – from twists and ties to pomades and gels to straightening combs and chemical relaxers.

It is no wonder that the first African-American female millionaire, Madame C. J. Walker, earned her riches from selling hair lotions and perfecting the use of the straightening comb.

For African-Americans, smooth, straight hair has been a symbol not only of beauty but of acceptance in broader American culture. And while black women wear their hair in myriad creative ways, one underlying orientation from this cultural history of hair oppression remains: the view that a black woman’s hairstyle is important and even symbolic, so she had better get it right. This is in part why Angela Davis’ Afro became iconic, why Beyoncé’s blond tresses are a signature of her look and why Nicki Minaj made a splash with a twirling carrousel of cotton-candy colored wigs.

Praise pours in for Viola Davis' natural 'do

African-American women feel that we have to “represent” through physical appearance. We know that when we step outside our doors, people do not only see and judge us as individuals, they see and judge our entire community and racial group.

For our own self-esteem and for the dignity of our group, we strive to appear our best. And to do so, we have often tried to replicate the aesthetic values of mainstream American society — including straight hair.

These acts of replication have been internalized such that we often do not distinguish between mainstream standards of beauty and what might have traditionally been our own way of looking at and loving ourselves.

The public reaction to Douglas’ appearance shows that this preoccupation with hair in the black community has gone too far.

In the black culture, a richness of hairstory

After her stunning win, tweeters who publicly demanded “why hasn’t anyone tried to fix Gabby Douglas’ hair?” and charged “gabby douglas gotta do something with this hair!” distracted the nation’s attention from what really mattered in the moment.

Defenses of Douglas posted by black women emphasized salient points: that she was an athlete who necessarily worked up a sweat, that sweat naturally affected one’s hair and that she had just accomplished something none of the “haters” could even dream of. A Facebook page called “I Support Gabby Douglas and HER HAIR” has collected 220 likes.

But overall, the chatter about Douglas’ hair has been insensitive and unproductive. Instead of criticizing this teenage girl for her appearance, black women and men could have been using those 140 Twitter characters to celebrate the skill of an Olympic champion.

The wise black feminist author Alice Walker spoke and wrote about the constraints of hair and beauty ideals in black culture in an essay titled “Oppressed hair puts a ceiling on the brain.”

When we engage in petty talk of perms and gels in the wake of a great triumph, we diminish ourselves and limit the potential of our young women and girls by sending the message that how they look overshadows what they think, imagine and accomplish.

Instead, we should be telling our girls that beauty is as beauty does. So what if 16-year-old Gabby Douglas doesn’t meet an unrealistic black hair-care standard?

She can swing and flip on parallel bars as the best all-around woman gymnast in the world; she can leap through the air like a shooting star.

We should all aspire to lift our heads so high.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Tiya Miles. 

Posted by
Filed under: Black in America • History • How we look • What we think • Women
soundoff (883 Responses)
  1. gimme_a_break

    the way she performs and flashes that million dollar smile, she can rock a bald head or a green and purple james harden fro-hawk if she wants... get those gold medals, Gabby ! you earned it all with all that hard work you put in, and screw all the haters who sit on the couch and criticize when they couldn't even dream of making any country's olympic team in any sport.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. BEQuiet

    The comments regarding Gabby's hair are undeniably silly and ridiculous. HOWEVER, it does not represent the sentiments or focus of an entire race anymore than SOME white people focused on their material possessions versus other priorities. Stupid? Yes. A concern of MOST Black people. NOT.

    Why focus on the comments of a few? They're stupid. Start focusing on the positive for ONCE!

    August 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mona

    I saw those rude tweets. You forgot to mention the people who were sticking up for Gabby were mostly young white people. Gabby is gorgeous and an amazing athlete. Some jerk was making fun of her barrettes because it had some gel on it, it was like, REALLY? She just gave a kick butt performance and won a gold and you noticed that? BTW the ones criticizing her hair looked like the only exercise they get is walking from the couch to the fridge, they need to a life!

    August 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike Smith

    So this might explain why black women criticize Gabby's hair even though she wears it the same way as every other gymnast does when she competes. But Gabby is not the first African-American female athlete. Why don't we hear the same storm about hair styles of black females in other sports, or about Dominique Dawes, for that matter?

    August 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ellen Thompson

    Why would CNN print such a ridiculous article?

    August 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • BEQuiet


      August 6, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rhonda

    Do we forget she is just a child. Hair should not be the focal point.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim Edwards

      You are right. It should be at the retina.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. longtooth

    Amazing! What fools we are ! This little butterfly wins Olympic gold and makes her nation proud, and all some people can do is fret about her hair. I'm an old white man, and I never gave a thought to her "do". I was too thrilled watching her triumph on the world stage.
    It's tragicomic to see white women curling their hair, tanning, and getting botox injections to fatten their lips while black women bleach their skin and straighten their hair. We have lost our way.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ndugu

    Let's just pray for the poor, misguided, petty, small minded, ignorant, pathetic soul who are all obviously in need of some sort of substance to their miserable lives. Why else would they pick on a 16-year-old kid about her hair? These people have no love for themselves so how can they show love to Gabby or anyone else? If White America is going to judge me based on what they see in the public sphere, I would much rather it be Gabby that any of her idiotic detractors. Let's just pray for them.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • LaFonda

      Let's pray for them right after we call them names and belittle them. Let us pray...

      August 6, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ndugu

        Yup! Glad to see I got through to you. Sorry about insulting you though. Seriously. I can and should have chosen my words more carefully. I sincerely apologize.

        August 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ccbaxter

    A woman spends all day surpassing several G-forces and spinning in every physical dimension imaginable, and a handful of people take issue with a few hairs out of place afterwards? Perhaps the real problem here is wasting one's time and energy listening to these people, let alone acknowledging their concerns in an op-ed piece.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim Edwards

      It's really only one g force she is surpassing technically.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Just!ne

    People will always find a way to overshadow someone's success. It's pathetic. If you were a professional gymnast, would you really give serious thought to your hair?

    August 6, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • LaFonda

      Ain't nobody overshadowing her, that hair is doing it for us.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ndugu

        LaFonda, Seriously, you need to get a life.

        August 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • LADY

        La Fonda, who is us? The lazy, overweight, unhealthy looking women like you who spend all of her money on her hair and neglect her children's appearances and buying food for the house? It's those female idiots like you who go out of their way to criticize others especially Gabby who is healthy, smart, energetic and more of a woman at 16 than you will ever be even in your old age, that is if, you make it. She will finish college above the rest and I'm pretty sure you don't have one college course. Get a life then you can find something more productive to talk about. How about you getting up from that table and bed eating all night and walk 20 steps more than Gabby, I bet you can't do it. GO GABBY SHOW THOSE IDIOTIC HATERS LIKE LAFOND WHAT LIVING IS REALLY ABOUT, IT'S NOT ABOUT THE HAIR IDIOTS!

        August 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • Just!ne

        Do you even know what "overshadow" means? Your comment doesn't make sense to me.

        August 7, 2012 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. auntie o


    August 6, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. winter1112

    how does her hair look any different than the other gymnasts? They all pull their hair back the same way. This is ridiculous!

    August 6, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. LaFonda JaWayne

    MMmmmm.. mmmmmm. Ain't nobody goin let dem baby mamma let them kids lookin like that.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • chip

      you are ignorant...no ignant!

      August 6, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • LaFonda

        Thank god you corrected the spelling. I was confused at first.
        That being said:
        Ain't nobody axe your white cracka ass to comment.

        August 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nono

    I think that there is one word describe people critize the kids, who carry our nation and their best in competetion:

    SICKOLS..... SICKOLS.... they have nothing to do in their life!

    August 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Carol

    Really gabby hair she has made history and a great all around gold metal You go gabby never mind people with no sense they could not begin to know the hours tears and sweat you have endured sooooo proud of you

    Go gabby go

    August 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |


    August 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |


    August 6, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Tim Edwards

    Her parents should be taken out back behind the stadium and shot for letting that girl go out there without getting her hair did.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • nono

      I just wonder what kind of parents or person you are in this world!!!!

      I am not a black , white American. I would suggest you sit down and think about it or go to the psyc. doctor and check your health.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tim Edwards

        Thank you for the thoughtful suggestion. My suggestion for you is to buy a book about grammar, learn the material in it, then shoot yourself in the medulla.

        August 6, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • chip

      you are ignorant...worst ignant! what does your hair look like.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tim Edwards

        Some people around here are ignorant of the fact that we black people have a different set of social norms by which we adhere. Asians have the concept of face, which you smaller brained white people don't understand. Likewise, the larger brained African races (proven that we have more neurons) have a set of social norms that all of our race must follow, lest they be cast aside.

        August 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • chip

      you are ignorant...worst ignant! bet your hair is a real mess.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Towanda

    I couldn't believe my eyes that there are comments about ANY Olympians hair – especially a gymnast – after flipping, flopping, turning, jumping, etc – her hair still looked/looks a lot better than Hilary Clinton's hair.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  20. LJG

    Not that it matters, but ALL gymnasts, regardless of ethnicity, slap their hair back in ponytails/buns with myriad clips, bobby pins, etc. holding the ends down - usually looking a mess. Gabby's hair looks no different than any other gymnasts. However, her performance rises above the rest and THAT is what matters.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |

    I am pretty sure white people are laughing at African Americans. I have never heard any race of people talk about how their hair looks except Blacks. What is wrong with African Americans? Did slavery cause this? What the hell happened to us?

    August 6, 2012 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • M.E.

      Nah, white girls take issue with our hair too. Universally, if it's naturally straight, we want it curly and if it's naturally curly we want it straight. I'm no exception, I straighten my hair daily and covet my husband's pin straight hair.

      August 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • curlygirl

        Universally? You don't speak for me–I love my curly hair.

        August 6, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • LADY

      This black lady is laughing at the idiot who posted this crap too and my hair looks like Gabby but I have seven degrees and make plenty of money with a great man that loves me....not my hair. So they don't need to laugh, nothing to laugh at, lol lol....see I'm even laughing, hahahah

      August 6, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Vance

    Okay so the little lady wasn't focused on her hair. Or perhaps she was a little too busy becoming an Olympic champion. She's what? 16? She has an amazing American story and let's face it, she is about to embark on an amazing journey. Ten bucks says she does her hair as she hits the talk show circuits and rakes in the bucks! Personally I hope she leaves it alone just out of spite for all the haters.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • chip

      There is nothing wrong with her hair, you people are ignorant!

      August 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • LADY

      ....and Vance, she wasn't standing in the food stamp lines waiting to pick up her card with her hair fried, dyed, and laid to the side with all of her chilrins looking as if they've been neglected with four different baby daddies waiting at their section 8 house to be fed, screwed, and taken care of. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GABBY!!!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • Vance

        Ooooookayyyy.. I'm not sure what any of that has to do with the topic at hand. ....But, right on...

        August 7, 2012 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
  23. don

    she should give tiger woods a call

    August 6, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Sherri

    I am white, but I don't see a thing wrong with Gabby's hair. It was pulled back, same as all the other gymnasts. What was wrong with it? I saw nothing out of the normal about it. Besides, this young lady did things 99.9% of us could not dream of doing! She is a superb athlete. Why in the world are you looking at her hair! Look at what she does with her body! Be happy for her for what she has achieved in her very young life. Why are some of you so superficial that you would even notice something like this? This is craziness.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariner v

      Why? The answer is simple.......because people can be really petty! Why else would someone focus on something like this rather than the extraordinary skill that is required to pull off what this remarkable kid has pulled off. We're supposed to be supporting our kids not knocking them down in the public forum. On a certain level this has to do with class. Someone that had class would do this in private. Pull the kid aside and say, "Honey, you look fantastic, we're just going to do a couple of things and you are going to look amazing." That would be classy. You feel good the kid feels good and everybody wins. Nobody wins here it is pure BS. Kids are supposed to learn from adults, looks like the adults need to learn something from this kid. For all those people knocking Gabby for her hair, you need to learn something from her and that is.........to bring your A game when you want to make suggestions to improve other people's game. All those people who knocked Gabby over her hair.....you get a P for Petty!

      August 6, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Jennifer

    Good lord, this is the Olympics, not the Miss America pageant. Who cares about her hair? She excelled at what she went to London for – that's the only thing that matters.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • peez

      Absolutely right!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  26. djh

    Funny, the only thing I thought about was there's an American girl who just kicked ***... but then, what do I know, I'm just an average middle American conservative white guy who hates women, kids, gay, minorities, the environment, the poor, animals and what ever else the 'enlightened' decide to accuse 'us' of.

    August 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Kim

    OMG, I can't believe this became an issue about race. I was shocked about all the gymnasts hair, could they not have hired someone to fix their hair up. Scrunchies... really, is this 1990. And the floppy locks just pouring out of hair bands. In equestrian the riders wear buns that are neatly wrapped in nets and all underneath a helmet, they are judged not just on their skills but on the presentation overall, heck the horse have tidier locks than the gymasts. Regardless of athleticism there should be a standard of presentation, these athletes represent the country of the USA, have some pride and hire a hair stylist to do a nice neat wrap so the last thing the judges are focused on is sloppy hair whatever ethnicity, keep it neat!!!

    August 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chriskof

      Shallow post, shallow poster.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • sly

      wow Kim, that's like saying you shouldn't attend church unless you are dressed to the nines ... doesn't a true christian believe that it doesn't matter how you look, as long as you show up? get over it, she did a fantastic job and accomplished something you certainly didn't!

      August 6, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Huh?

    Why did Tiya not mention weaves and the exploitation of poor Indonesian and Indian girls whose hair is grown, shorn, and sold in America so that black women can look "white." When is this exploitation going to stop and who is going to speak up against it other than Chris Rock?

    August 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • jez

      Actually, the Indian women are not being "exploited". They willingly shave their heads in religious ceremonies. Opportunists simply scoop up the hair and sell it.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
  29. joan

    Why even dignify this by reporting on it?

    August 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  30. OregonTom

    The young lady's hair is not the first thing I would take notice of in this case. She is 18 right?

    August 6, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • skipfrmdc

      Whao Dude! now that's relevant!

      August 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Hank Gardner

    The condition of Gabby's hair is totally irrelevant in this instance. what is relevant is the pleasant personality, hight skill level and great poise that she exhibited during her Olympic events. This is more that I can say for those idiots who chose, once again, to bash another African American sister who is accelerating toward professional excellence while they continue to spiral toward absolute stupidity.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:46 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Jazziette

    ❤❤❤ I just love and adore Gabby! Please don't ever change!!! You are beautiful just the way you are!!! Thank you for making the USA so proud. God bless you and your sweet family!!!!! ❤❤❤
    PS .... I think your hair ROCKS!!! Love it!!!

    August 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blondet

      Yes she does ROCK!!! Love Gabby D. and this is coming from a Puerto Rican. GO GABBY GO!

      August 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  33. JustMe

    Oh god, it's not just a black thing. Hilary Clinton got non stop judgement for her hair back when her husband was campaigning for President. Her headbands, etcetc. There is way more judgement passed on women's looks and style than men's no matter what field you're talking about. Although for the record, this is the first I've heard about Gabby Douglas's hair.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  34. fp737

    Her hair obviously didn't get in the way of her earning 2 gold medals at the Olympics – – – something 99.99999999% of the rest of us will NEVER do.

    Go, Gabby! You breath the rarefied air of an Olympian.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  35. NorCalMojo

    Black, white, straight or curly, she's the best gymnast in the WORLD.

    Suck on that, haters.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  36. disgustedvet

    When they start handing out medals for hair styles we will worry about them.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  37. marcia

    Why am I not surprised that the white community and middle/upper class black community sees a girl who worked hard and won a gold medal, and all the lower class black community can think about is her hair?

    August 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Lewis


      August 6, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • jessie B


      You dont know the class of all of the stupid posters. Please dont go into stereotypical extremes. Thats one of the things wrong with people and this country. I thought they were stupid too, but Im quite sure there were some so called "good people" throwing in their 2 cents.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • marcia

        if I'd been tossing around stereotypes I would've said "all blacks."

        August 6, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andy Smith

      Didn't have to go too stereotypical there....I'm sure some lower class white communities find her hairstyle to be an issue also. Ignorance doesn't know race.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  38. swkljb@yahoo.com

    I thought she was gorgeous. This was so awesome for this young lady. I am still smiling. I was so utterly ashamed of black people when i saw who originally started the negative commentary. Honestly, it was the only day in my life i was ashamed of my race. Please people, dont assume we are all that stupid.

    You go Gabby. To hell with the haters, especially the ones that look like you.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Anthony Stark

    Why focus on a gymnast's hair? Because you're stupid.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
  40. dwest12

    Gabby, please don't let some random comments on Twitter (or anywhere else) take away your pride in your accomplishments, and I don't just mean the gold you EARNED at the Olympics. You are a remarkable young woman - neither your hair nor your ethnicity over-ride or accentuate that! You are who you are, and the world is a much richer place because you are here! Those who choose to look no further than one genetic trait before passing judgment are not worthy of your time or concern. Rock on, Gabby!

    August 6, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  41. loveyourself

    Although, I think Gabby is an adorable girl it's her athletic performance and personality that have captured people's hearts.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  42. MoMo

    "Many African-Americans watching Douglas shared a flush of pride at the accomplishment, noting her joy, her poise, her grace..."
    Many Americans of various creeds, colors, and cultures shared a flush of pride at the accomplishment of Gabrielle Douglas, noting her joy, her poise, her grace..." and didn't even notice her hair. Gabby is an American hero, not only an African-American hero. And most of us think she is beautiful just the way she is.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar


      August 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      When will we come together? We need to. Gabby is one of the greatest athletes in the whole world. Who even cares about race, ethnicity, hair, politics, religion.

      Honor her for what she has accomplished.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • lucyhouston

      Thank you. I barely noticed the color of her skin, let alone her hair style. I was too fixated on her flipping twirling little body through the air. And when she stopped, all I could see was her radiant smile.

      August 6, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  43. anotherone

    I am not black, but if I was I would leave my way god made it. If somebody doesn't like it she should not look at me.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  44. lucyhouston

    This is the most absurd "controversy" I have ever heard of in my life. And what irks me the most about it, is the commentary that it makes about the black community. Not because of Gabby's hairstyle – which I didn't notice over her beaming smile – but that the black community that would rather criticize her hair than celebrate her accomplishment. Here they have a shining example of a young black girl who has gone after her dreams, held herself with composure on the biggest stage in the world, and done our country proud. And rather than take THAT and say, here is who and what the black community can represent, they have instead decided to be small and petty and critical. Of a 16 year old girl. I am aghast.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Lolo Jones

    Her bun at the end is an extension.SHE HAS FAKE HAIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    August 6, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
  46. theblackwhole

    Look, People. Just because this young lady has won a couple of gold medals (so far) that she has rightfully earned, let's not try to act like there aren't any real underlying current and/or historical issues regarding Black women who straighten their hair. The Black female's HAIR-anoia often has been and continues to be an ill-advised attempt to assimilate into a white way of "life". A BE YOURSELF and get played OR "be like us and get paid" dilemma.

    It greatly contributes to a debilitating self-loathing that has been passed from generation to generation of Black females, LARGELY via their OWN mothers, SADLY!

    So, while we wish this young lady, Gabby Douglas, all the success she can garner...it DOESN'T change one iota of history or psychological damage this utterly BACKWARDS practice has wrought on MANY a Black woman's psyche and self-image.

    In TRUTH...
    –The Black Whole

    August 6, 2012 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
  47. IrisandTulip

    Gabby is such a beautiful talented young lady. Who cares about her hair? Shame on anyone who is debating how she should wear it.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  48. willieLove

    who cares!!!!

    August 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  49. capnmike

    Some people are so shallow and small-minded (and just plain stupid) that things like hair styles and clothing are more important to them than what the person accomplishes. It is said that "Small minds talk about people, mediocre minds talk about things, and great minds talk about ideas"...they forgot to mention that "The mindless talk about fashions"

    August 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  50. the_dude

    I'm white and I though she looked super cute on the podium stand and I never once thought about her hair. I guess that was because it was all straightened out like a whites hair.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  51. the realitly

    It's misogyny people, pure and simple. You think anyone would dare comment on the hair of one of the jamaican sprinters? Heck no. But Gabby is a young girl, and according to society, she should focus her energy on trivial pursuits of beauty... not silly athletics.

    Those posts basically were saying "Sure she's an accomplished athlete, but she remains sub-par in society's eyes because she doesn't waste an hour in front of the bathroom mirror daily.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Funny you should mention runners. Watching the women's marathon my daughter commented on the winners hair, very positively. She though the style was quite attractive and even said she was glad she won cause she had the neatest (cool as opposed to messy) hair. I've often wondered why so many blacks straighten their hair, I never knew it was such a pressure phenom. I've always thought natural hair style was very attractive and love braids, not so much dread locks. I wish things were simpler in society. I feel the pressure now to color (50 and going gray) in my office by many of the women that color theirs, seems they feel I should color to keep it from being so obvious they do. Unless your hair is a total rats nest, smells or is full of lice, how you wear it should be a personal choice and not dictated by society of any color. Sad commentary on our society.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Reasonably

    Proving once again that "you" people focus on the most ridiculous things and lose site of what's important. And if you take that as a racist comment then you, yourself, are a racist. By "you" I meant the idiots that would focus on her hairstyle when she's rocking the gymnastic house regardless of your race, creed, color, ethnic origin or favorite skittles flavor...

    August 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • sapper4u

      Good thought!!

      August 6, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  53. mamanas

    When will African Americans embrace the beauty of our diverse and unique features?? Many–Fewer for sure...are still in that slave mentality to attempting to look like someone we are not. Most of us don't have the long flowing hair, or European features. I am not surprise that the few reactions came from within the African American community. There is still the mistrust of each other, rather than encouraging and supportive words. Gabby is an excellent role model.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Derek

      As soon as Gabby won the gold medal, I made a bet with someone on how long it would take before we'd see an article talking about how her accomplishment will somehow be a sign of racial oppression of blacks. It never fails. No matter what black people do good in the world, their own communities will debate endlessly about anything related to it that demonstrates how oppressed they are. Sure enough, this article came popping up less than a week later. It's not a stereotype when it's true every single time. How did I have the foresight to have made such a precisely accurate prediction? Just random, unfounded racism right?

      August 6, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  54. GK1951

    You know when I saw her win the gold medal all I could see was that gorgeous smile and beautiful face. Couldn't have even told you if she had hair. It's a shame that others feel it necessary to say such negative things about a poised, confidant young woman like this.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • don

      cut it all off and paint her head black

      August 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  55. larry

    The squirrel is probably doping just like that Chinese girl.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
  56. MajeztyRene

    To those who took to social media to discus Gabby's hair, they are just ignorant and small minded. She is a beautiful talented young lady. The same was said about the Williams sisters. I find the nicknames given to these wonderful athletes abhorrent ! Calling Gabby a 'flying squirrel' and the Williams sisters 'predators I and II'. I haven't heard those comments made about any other young ladies. My family and I focused on their abilities and their character and everyone else should do likewise.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  57. bob bowen

    to even casually focus on the hair of a champion - as Gabby most assuredly is - gives solid evidence to the sad reality that even in the midst of BIGNESS, human SMALLNESS will carve out a jealous piece for itself!!

    August 6, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • dwest12

      I am going to post that quote to my oft-used list! Well said!

      August 6, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Lizzy10

    Show me any woman of any race, creed or color who is happy with her hair and I'll show you--–ain't gonna happen, no woman is happy with her hair.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  59. Josh

    I guess racism is alive and well on both sides. "I'm a white blah blah blah "..."Ima black blah blah..." who cares. Who are you kidding? Ms Douglas made the USA proud. And her hair was cute. But I'm still gonna think the African American thug walking the sidewalk late night sagging his pants pimpwalkin is up to no good.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  60. fastball

    Barnum said – Never underestimate the stupidity of the average American.
    After reading some of the comments about Gabby's hair – all I can say is "amen to that".

    August 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  61. bookgirl

    This is the stupidest thing I have heard in a long time. These women can't even give props to the first African-American woman to achieve a gold medal in this sport. Do they have any idea what that took? Apparently not. Her hair...seriously? I thought she was beautiful inside and out. I hope she doesn't change a thing!

    August 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  62. Mzee Mark

    Before commenting on idol gossips thats meant to kill any form of life, hope and spirit; take a deep breath, say NO to the dark voice in your mind. Its so easy to hate than to love. Its so easy to judge and comdemn than show mercy and compassion. When we judge others, we are not defining them, but ourselves. Great minds Value humanity more than Ethnicity. Small minds discuss/spreads fear, hatred, and foolishness...
    Gabby God Bless you as you grow into a woman full of grace and honor

    August 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  63. RV41

    Why?, because it would be too mean to talk about how ugly she is.

    August 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • anti-rv41

      You're a bottom feeding insect moron. You sound like the kind of idiot who frames your nasty skidmarked drawers as art.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • dwest12

        Oooo– burn!!! Go, Gabby!

        August 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
      • sapper4u

        LOL, keep it up, he or she is hiding making comments on someone they know nothing about!!

        August 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Natalie Long

    So what if she fixes her hair differently than other blacks? She is just being herself, if she wants to have a messy bun, so what? Is it illegal? No. Is it insulting? No. Will it kill anyone? Not if you're obssesed with black hair. So just lay off. It's a free country. If you don't like her hair, well I guess that just sucks for you

    August 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  65. gigi

    To embellish upon Eleanor Roosevelt's quote - Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people and truly fabulous people recognize Gabby for the talented, dedicated, accomplished phenom that she is & could care less about her hair! ~ gigi

    August 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  66. cali girl

    My first thought was she is such a beauty. Poise and charm, all of the fab five were very professional and great leaders for little girls everywhere who look up to them.
    Anyone who had issue with Gabby's hair, all of you are pathetic. Gymnastics is hard, hard work and requires many moves that you would not want your hair going everywhere or in your face. If you looked at all the girls it would not be a hair contest. Look at all of the runners and their hair, or the volleyball players or basketball players, the players are not worried about their hair.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  67. Wendy Joy

    I totally agree with this article! I think Gabby is incredibly talented and also gorgeous, why are people critiquing her hair?? they need to critique themselves first, they can't even come close to what she can do, so they pick on her hair? So shallow...

    August 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Steve

    I was surprised at first to hear that people were criticizing Gabby for her hair. But then when I heard who was criticizing her, I said to myself, "Well that figures."

    August 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yvi

      and just WHO? was criticizing Gabby's hair, Steve?

      Nevermind, I'll tell YOU: a handful of people on twitter, which cause someone to write a blog and the media started headlining it as a result. Since when does the media, make a major news story out of twitter comments

      August 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  69. daisydo

    The best tweet I saw on this, and I am paraphrasing, is, feel free to comment on her hair, as long as you will let her comment on your muscle tone.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  70. David

    It is amazing how so much hate and negativity has been thrown at this beautiful young lady.
    She represented the USA in the highest of honor and respect. What does she get for it?
    People saying things like She wasn't being American on the podium because she didn't sing the anthem.
    Neither did Michele Phelps and many others who chose to look at our flag and just take in the moment.

    People talking about her hair for goodness sakes. I guess they want her to have caucasion hair.

    People asking questions about her family's financial problems. That is too much. What does her mom
    having financial problems have to do with her winning the USA two Gold Medals? Her family sacrificed so much to give their daughter a chance a shooting for her dream. Of course they are not doing so great financially after giving so much.

    It's just ridiculous. Someone said Gabby reminded her of Michelle Obama. Because Michelle talked about
    the how proud of America she was at a great moment in time. Blacks understood exactly what Michelle was talking about. Black folks understand about black hair and how we wear it too and the things our women have to go through to keep it looking good. It's just a shame people want to look at the tiniest of things when it comes to black achievement and try to bring it down.Of course we wouldn't dare talk about Michele Phelps' hair because white hair is acceptable in any form, wet, dry, oily, dry, spiked, etc. It all just makes me sick.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar

      Actually I heard more people complaining that her hair looked 'too white' than anything else. But I'm with you. The whole hair issue is beyond ridiculous

      August 6, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar

      And she isn't the only one whose parent's finances are being scrutinized, Ryan Lochte's parents are in foreclosure and that's been just as widely reported as Gabby's mother's bankruptcy. Again, I agree it is no one's business and has nothing to do with their achievements.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Oh and on the hair issue, my black people apparently started this mess. We as black need to grow up and recognize what is really important. The media apparently picked up the hair mess and went crazy with it. But I blame my own black folks for that part.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
      • Wendy Joy

        Thank you David! I don't know about inferior hair styles but the only thing inferior about black women would be if they were too busy looking at Gabby's hair to notice her fabulous accomplishment!

        August 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Melvin

    Who cares about her hair? This is sad because as a people if we were not so fixated on hair and materialism and more focused on things that matter most, maybe we would make history more often. Great job Gabby!

    August 6, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
  72. Clay2nd

    I am a gymnastics dad. To the Gabby Haters, Gabby is wearing her hair the way she is for a reason. The judges can take a deduction when a gymnasts hair comes loose or a beret fall out. If you will notice Gabby like all of the gymnasts have their hair plastered to their head. This is about deductions and GOLD medals not about style or ethnicity. I personally find it disgusting we are even having this discussion. It does nothing but take away from the accomplishments of an amazing person and athlete.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • llosano

      Thank you for the explanation, people who are having issues with Gabby's hairs are just JEALOUS.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
  73. cedar

    She is a beautiful young woman who gave her all and won. I'm proud that she represents my country.

    I'll also never understand why it is ok to say young African-American children that they should only look up to girls of their own skin color. An ABC producer (who is African-American) came out recently and said something similar about a show on ABC Family. Calling them out for not having any 'young girls of color' (her words not mine) in their cast and saying that she couldn't feel good about her children looking up to the characters because they didn't look like the characters.

    Why are we telling our children to only look up to people that look like them? My son doesn't look up only to white athletes. It just seems like it is the opposite of what we should be teaching our kids. If the role model is a respectable and sets a good example what the heck matters about their race (or their stinking hair!?!).

    August 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yvi


      you have to remember that as an AA, we are in the minority. So- we can not turn on any channel at any second and any given time and find a plethora of journalists, actresses, actors, talk show hosts, businessmen, politicians and professionals of color for our children to emulate. Yes- we have them in the AA community but it is very important for children to see these images. If, there were AA's on tv as the majority like whites then your response would be very valid. I don't think they were saying to onl emulate from our race but we want our children to see positive images on tv just like white kids see positive images on tv of their race.

      And yes, your child can watch tv and look up to black athletes but notice, you said athletes – not scientists, or doctors etc. Because they are not shown much- yes we definitely have them in our community but these images need to be on tv not only for our kids but white kids as well.

      Question: how many black dolls have you bought for your child or nieces and grandchildren?

      August 6, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • cedar

        I understand what you are saying. And I'll be the first to admit that as a white person I don't understand how it feels to be the minority which is why I posed the questions I did.

        And I bought my youngest sister a set of the original American girl dolls which included the doll Addy who is African American I believe. But that was years ago. I have no nieces and only have a son.

        August 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  74. rg

    I completely agree with this article, and I'm so proud of Gabby! However, as a female gymnast, I'd like to point out that Gabby does not compete on the "parallel bars," which is a completely different men's apparatus, but the UNEVEN parallel bars.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  75. jessica

    Who cares about her hair?!?!!! She's AWESOME!

    August 6, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  76. Peanut Gallery

    I never even really noticed Gabby's hair. I noticed her beautiful smile and incredible spirit she has. I cried when she won that gold medal. I can just imagine all the hard work and dedication that went into it. I've been inspired by her for many reasons, but the day I look for someone's hair to inspire me is the day I will need a reality check.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  77. dairyMom

    Didn't notice her hair at all. Just the amazing smile and her proud mother. But then I am white.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Andrea

    This is exactly why black women are overweight and don't exercise. You can't work up a healthy sweat and keep a pristine hairstyle. I think Gabby made the better choice. Get over it. (ps, I am a plus size black woman and know this to be a fact)

    August 6, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  79. Tate

    Another white female (in her sixties). Congratulations to Gabby on her superior performance; she was an excellent representative for the USA. I didn't see anything wrong with her hair . . . I saw a pretty, delightful, accomplished young lady.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • scoobypoo

      Ditto from an older white male!

      August 6, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  80. M

    She is beautiful, no matter what they say.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  81. TheOtherGuy

    Ms. Douglas, you ARE a true champion! It was an absolute pleasure to watch your performances!
    Best wishes to you! Go Gabby in 2016!

    August 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  82. cheapseats2

    This is where the Internet has brought us. We had no idea there were so many idiots in our midst. The Internet just gave them a new ability to be heard. Obsess over an athlete's hair? Unbelievable. She is an amazing and gifted athlete and most rational people leave the discussion there. The rest of you need to get a life and stop looking for your 15 minutes of fame by telling your buddies you started a viral discussion on the web.

    August 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  83. Dedaanan

    1. White people really don't care if black people wear their hair straight, natural, in braids, etc. This is your issue, not ours.
    2. It's too bad they aren't proud of her—as an American—for winning, no matter what color her skin is.
    3. The young lady was participating in an athletic event, not a beauty contest or fashion show. I'm sure she was shooting for what was practical and comfortable, not what was chic or politically correct.
    4. How anyone could be anything but proud of her is beyond me!

    August 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Herman Clark

      I am very proud of Gabby Douglas, and could't agree more. I am caucasian and find Gabby, as one of the most beautiful woman, in America. Look at what pride, she has brought to our country and all the hardships she had to endure and overcome to accomplish something, that most people, regardless of the color of their skin or hairstyle that crowns her head. Such ignorance, shouldn't exist, in a land of the free. God bless you Gabby, your the BEST.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
  84. NorCalMojo

    She should dye it pink and shave it into a mohawk. That would teach the conformist drones.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
  85. white female

    I'm what would be considerated a typical white american female (though I don't have silky straight hair – slightly curly and frizzy instead) and not once did Gabby's hair style enter my mind. Instead I was concentrating on her grace and atheletic skill. Plus I noticed she has a beautiful and very cheerful smile.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  86. Matthew

    I didn't see anything wrong with her haircut. I guess I am just out of style.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  87. Richard Everett Muller

    The people who criticize such small matters are VERY SMALL themselves. This is almost too stupid to be believed. But then we live in mostly stupid times, don't we? There was a man once who said an important thing about people who have no guilt-or-sin being overly judgemental. And NO; I do not wish to see your pictures either...

    August 6, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  88. nuketim

    I'll bet that every person who posted negative comments has petroleum-based hair; so their comments are negated.

    People can be so insensitive. These are the same people who don wigs and hair extensions to enhance their own bad hair.

    SHUT UP.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Name*jojo

    Why do non-white journalists always have to discuss their race in their columns?

    August 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Genghis

      Sometimes it's because race has quite a bit to do with the topic. In other words, because it's relevant.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • another white female

        Oh give me a break! Why does ANYTHING have to be about race! Get over it already!

        August 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  90. Allen

    You know i am a blackman it is sorry how much we hate self you see all our women with someone else hair

    August 6, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  91. Kristin

    Her hair? People focus on her hair? Wow. Maybe because I'm not black, I truly don't understand, but I see nothing wrong with her hair. Maybe we all need to stop judging people based on appearances alone. Man alive.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      No, I'm a black female & I don't even understand this nonsense. She accomplished something very few do & instead of celebrating her, some are talking about her hair. Unreal, sad & embarrassing.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  92. tthomas017

    You hit the nail on the head! As much as the comments upset me, I was not surprised. This is a black person thing as another poster implied caused by a white person thing. Our hair has never fit the standard of beauty. We've tried, put poison on our scalps and tried some more but we're still inferior and the thoughts seem to be most prevalent in our own heads now. Sad.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar

      Please don't act like African American women are the only ones that struggle to fit the standard of beauty. I'm a white women that also has to put 'poison' on my hair to get to be straight and shiny. Some days I do, others I don't. I also have curves that most women of my race don't.

      I learned a long time ago that I'm a white woman who simply isn't built like one. I do what makes me feel good and stopped caring about what other people expected me to look like. I sure as hell wouldn't let people I never met and will never meet dictate to me what my hair should and shouldn't be or what size my breasts or rear end should be because of the color of my skin.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • cedar

      Also, when you blame this 'black person thing' on white people (even though most of the critics were African-American) you do nothing but perpetuate the stereotype that African-Americans would rather sit back and blame the white man for their problems than do something to fix them.

      There are real problems involving race in this country, some which are the fault of white Americans. But honestly, blaming this crap on us though makes people just roll their eyes and ignore the real problems.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wendy Joy

      Call me crazy, but as a white girl, I have never thought of black women's hairstyles as being inferior. Personally, I don't pay much attention to how people wear their hair, even myself, as long as it is clean and out of my face. I have even on many occasions admired beautiful hairstyles on black women and wished that I could do the same thing to my hair, why do you think black women have inferior hair?

      August 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
  93. Rebecca

    I heard Oprah was also talking about Gabby's hair right? If so she could have sponsored her with a hairstylist. Anyway, whatever the hair problem there was, she is a proud American to represent every black woman out there and if the ladies cannot see pass that, they're a bunch of haters.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rali

      If Oprah was talking about her hair then she really needs to get a new life...

      August 6, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  94. Beverly Townsend

    I will bet every cent I have that those who had the time to focus on the need for Gaby to improve her hair-do will never possess the ability to become an Olympic gymnast. What a missed opportunity for each of them to have congratulated her on her excellent performance and winning gold. She is a shining star for many young gymnasts who are not worried about the superficial things of life but on achieving your best.

    August 6, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  95. crush

    This must be a black person thing, cuz I do not see what the problem with her hair is. She looks like a champion to me.

    August 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  96. Not-an-Olympian

    Congratulations, Gabby, you just did something the REST OF THE WORLD couldn't do! Hope you enjoy being an American celebrity, because we're going to try our best to suck the joy and greatness out of all your accomplishments. I wonder if this is how other countries celebrate their athletes?

    August 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  97. Pk

    I am an African American MAN and I wasn't surprised by the hatred or comments spoken by other African Americans. Two things that I want everyone to take away from this lesson is this. 1. If you want to keep something from blacks, put it in a book. 2. The best way to stop a black person from being successfull is to point out that success to another black person. In the first incident we are more worried about looking good and having rims on our cars than reading a book. The second statement will always be true, we (blacks) are jelouse to see another black "get ahead". Sad but true... This girl won a Gold medal, and stood on the heels of Jessie Owens and all we can talk about is her hair.

    August 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Thanks for the advice, Pk! This knowledge will surely help me improve my ability to keep the black man down.

      August 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Llcaz

      Although you did not express surprise, your post in itself spewed hatred. I take issue with a black man expressing such inaccuracies and applying them to MY entire race. You, Mr. Hater, have fit yourself right into that group by adding on an extra layer of ignorance. Not only do we read books to educate ourselves but did you know that we have graduated to writing them as well? Some of us even possess both books, advanced degrees, and nice rims....how about that for multi tasking? Jealousy when another black gets ahead??? Perhaps you have experienced it in your life but that does not ring true as your blanket statement says that it does. It was the blacks before us that paved the way -in fact some gave their lives -for the generations that followed them because they wanted us to get ahead. You being a black man certainly doesn't make you our spokesperson. And by the way.....if YOU had read more books you would be on par with your spelling skills. That's my takeaway from you "lesson".

      August 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pk

        Man the truth hurt!!! Maybe I was a little to broad in my statement. Perhaps this would help open your eye's, I earned a B.S. from a credited school all while serving in the military. Oh, after I retired from military I focused my efforts on our young black brothers, I teach them to look a man in the eye when you are speaking, pull your pants up, don't talk ebonics and expect to get ahead in the work place and most of all don't expect help...get it on your own.... I am in the trenches, Brother!!! Where are you? Yes I was little to broad in my earlier comment, however if you see what I see day in and day out, maybe, just maybe you will comphrehend. And to Steve!!! your wife or girl friend probably have a BBC stuffed in the closet... Sad....lol

        August 6, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Venie

      To Pk,

      I am a White college professor and I did not appreciate your comments. I know a lot of African American people who DO enjoy reading books and who were very happy and proud of Gabby Douglas winning the Gold Medal. The African American people I know were not concerned about her hair. The next time you decide to speak for ALL African Americans do yourself a favor...don't! I truly do not believe you are qualified to do so, no more than I am qualified to speak for every White person out there. Finally, perhaps you need to elevate your associations, perhaps that is why you do not know any intelligent, articulate, book reading African Americans.

      August 6, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
      • Pk

        There you go, the White professor pointing out that he is a Professor. Do you have tenure? who cares. Did you serve your country, I did... over 20yrs... go back to the class room brother, I'm sorry, go back to the classroom dude, and let the real men be in the trenches.

        August 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Michelle

    Natural Girls Rock. Go Gabby. So Proud of You.

    August 6, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • BIll


      Olympic gymnast. natural.


      August 6, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  99. HappyDays

    Not once did I pay attention to her hair! I don't do Twitter or Facebook, so I had no idea this was an issue until this morning! As an AA woman, i'm embarrassed by this conversation that refuses to go away. Now this has gone mainstream. Wow, now some idiots have managed to overshadow her gold medal wins by focusing on something so trivial!

    August 6, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  100. Abigail61

    Really, people! Grow up! This young woman is an incredible athelete – regardless of whether her hair is long, short, tied up, hanging loose, in braids, in a mohawk, dyed blond, pink, green, or neon blue. What does her hair style have to do with her incredible ability or achievements? And new media – focus on newsworthy stories – not the pettiness of whining public.

    August 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
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