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. Jethro

    I am a middle aged, white, obese, & balding male. Pick on me...not her. Gabby is a blessing from God! We are lucky to have her represent the USA!

    August 8, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dee

    A lot of blacks (not all) will spend the rest of their lives in misery. Not fulfilling their dreams and missing out on a lot, because they are too busy watching someone's hair.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lucia

      Particularly, the fake hair imported from India and Far East! These are self loathing African Americans who cannot stand the fact that God gave them hair texture and skin color different from other ethnic groups! Having said this, there is no sensible justification as to why major media networks jumped on this pathetic story!!

      August 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Eusoubra

    What is the point of this article? A great majority of Blacks (worldwide) take some shame in their physical attributes. it is evident in women who will spend their last dime on wigs, weaves and straighteners that in no way resembles a natural look for them. NEWSFLASH: That Indian texture does not compliment you nor look remotely like it's yours. BUT...Black men also demonstrate a shame as evident by their disdain for women whose physical traits are Afro-diminished or mates who are other anything other than Black. This is so deep rooted in the Black self image and has been since Blacks (and other minorities of color) encountered White people millennia ago. It will never change because Black men and women are now hard wired to loathe their nature to attain what cannot be attained.
    GABBY will read some of this media soon and this programming will be reinforced and the cycle continues as it has for thousands of years. So this author has wasted her time attempting to spark change and acceptance of Black nature.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Peregrine

    What do the black women think is wrong with Gabby's hair? How do they think it should have been styled or fixed? It looked fine to me.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • QueenBee79

      Same here. nothing wrong with it...and quite frankly her talent out weighs anything people can think of to talk about.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sarah

    I didn't even think the term "African American" until Bob Costas said that, and then I was pretty disgusted. She's an American gymnast. There was an AA gymnast on the team that won gold in Atlanta, 16 years ago. Aren't we over this yet?

    As for her hair, every girl on the US team has the same style - someone called it "deconstructed." It looks like all of them are trying to tie knots with their tresses. Perhaps because hair isn't their concern. They just want it out of the way so they can concentrate on doing their best, showing the world what they can do. People from all over the earth are represented at the Olympics...we need to get passed our petty comparisons.

    August 7, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Mary Boone

    High insecure heels,
    Digging into their self esteem
    Walking on their self respect
    Stomping down in the dirt their dignity
    In order to have long weaves
    Long nails
    Long eyelashes
    to their self hatred

    Ignore your achilles’ heels
    Stand on your toes
    Golden girl gabby
    Your hair is more beautiful than your swing
    Your smile is more adorable than your floor exercise
    Your dismount cannot be discounted by those who criticize your hair
    You are not your hair
    And if you were
    You would be even more beautiful
    If that’s possible

    August 7, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rai

      Well said!

      August 7, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sherri

    I am very proud of Gabby and the rest of the team. Period.
    Worrying about her hair is total nonsense. Very superficial of all of you who are making the rude comments. This young lady has worked harder than most of you will EVER work. Has accomplished more than 99.9 % of us will EVER accomplish. Focus on what she has done. Not her hairstyle. How shallow can you get?

    August 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Gabby is a child, and no child deserves to be attacked by adults the way that she has. I am sure this wounded her. Not only did they talk about her hair, they started in on her Mother and Father. These attacks were meant to destroy her. I am sure that these individuals have friends with like minds, and can celebrate beating her down. But, Gabby has other outstanding talents, a great personality, tenacity, and endurance. We have not seen nor heard the last of her. She will not be defeated, she will continue to maintain her proper place at the top. Gabby is a winner.

      August 7, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. muddy

    I don't think her hair looks so bad. How about Condoleeza Rice? The most powerful woman in the world and she couldn't control her hair! She always looked like she was wearing a helmet. And what about those teeth? With all of her money you'd think she could have found a good hairstyle and got her teeth fixed. Just sayin'.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jojola

    A sixteen year old has just become the first black female to win two gold medals in a sport that has been predominately white and all some folks have to say is complain about her hair? Matter of fact, I can't believe CNN had the nerves to write about this on their website. Instead of blogging about Gabby's accomplishments, some selected to comment on her hair, really? I pray that Gabby and all the future black young female athletes she has inspired will not read about this insignificant matter. Keep on reaching for the stars, Gabby and God has blessed you with beautiful hair!

    August 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MN Mommie

    It's just plain ignorance to focus on her hair. She's there for country not a fashion show!

    August 7, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Amazed

    I am stunned by this article! I noticed she had her hair pulled back into a pony tail like the other girls, but nothing negative. I am a white woman who saw nothing but a remarkable young lady putting on outstanding performances and having the time of her life! I saw talent and beauty! How could you not see anything else when you look at Gabby? Those eyes, cheekbones and smile are fantastic! America should be proud of Gabby! She is remarkable!

    August 7, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ronvan

    This is PURE BS!! Those in the black community, who have access to the newspapers, TV, internet, etc., SHOULD be condemning these comments all over the place! It is totally disgusting, and even WORSE, coming from her black sisters and men! YES, this 16yr. old, just made history! LET her enjoy it without stupidity! She is young, her story & family are a tribute to what YOU CAN DO, if you put your mind to it I am WHITE, yet I am SO PROUD OF HER!!

    August 7, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CNNidegaz

    WHO CARES???????????????

    August 7, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. reallife

    Maxiiscott sound as if she is troubled by her own idenity. I have been natural (hair) most of my life and its people like her who would think my hair was a mess. I'm thankful that people like you dont' define my self esteem. I feel sorry for you that you don't have the freedom to live comfortablely with who you are.
    I'm sure that Gabby will not have a problem spending all those millions she's earned due her hard work. Her hair will not be an issue at the bank.

    August 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • cheryljames

      Not trying to be funny. She will boost black hair products. i love it go Gabby.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dee

        What you said is not funny, it is rather silly and immature. Gabrielle is a winner, she is going to sign with Fortune 500 companies, and not spend time worrying about black hair products. She has already made it clear that she does not have a hangup on hair. Kelloggs is one of those companies, their products are sold all over the world, to all races of people.

        You are so hung up on hair that you have not noticed that there are no commercials for black hair products on primetime TV, the academy awards, or the Super Bowl?

        I am a dark-skinned woman that carries the African-American label. I have hair that attracts a lot of attention from men and women of all races. People are constantly complimenting my hair. I don't dwell on it, in fact, I don't see anything special about it, I don't spend a lot of time in the mirror messing with it. To me it is just hair, and in my mind, it does not look any better than anyone else's. Other people trip on it. I don't see anything wrong with Gabby's hair. To me, it looks just as good as anyone else's.

        August 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. EM Richards

    When my husband told me about the comments about Gabby's hair I knew right away it was from our own - African Americans. It is truly sad commentary that her hair was the takeaway from all she has worked hard for and accomplished. We are so quick to put down our own that it still boggles my mind. I was an athlete and tomboy growing up played soccer, ran track and I certainly didn't care how my hair looked out on the field, I cared about winning. I was so proud of Gabby I cried and not once did I care about her hair style. Also, I bet if you took a poll of the stupid people who criticized her hair they are fake hair wearing, fat couch potatoes who can hardly walk and haven't set foot in a gym in ages. Grow up people and get a life!

    August 7, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  16. anon

    What I dont understand is how black women can AFFORD all that expensive hair treatments. Isn't the black population being particularly hard hit with the current economic times? Some of the most basic of hair care for the black community can cost a minimum of $200.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • cheryljames

      i wonder the same thing about whites,spanish, and orientals that sell that stuff.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnQ

      They rely on Sugar Daddies or extortion from baby daddies (threatening more expensive child support claims). Or they sell food stamps. Not all, but some do.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dee

        Thank you for saying "some of them".

        August 7, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      It is these kind of comments that got this started in the first place. People such as you that can't mind your own business, and feel the need to try and judge what is going on in someone else's life that you don't even know. Stop tripping about African-American women.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  17. Toya

    My aunt was critizing Gabby and her mom for their horrible hair. I couldn't believe it. What a stupid thing to confirm: that as a group of people, all we care about is how a person looks. It doesn't matter how smart, sweet, funny, or caring a person is, if she doesn't care about her appearence, what's wrong with her? It's sad really.

    That as a group, we complain of not being treated fairly yet here a girl has achieved something great but some in her own community are hung up her hair which anyone who actually plays sports or excercises will tell you will become pretty damaged due to sweat. What Gabby accomplished was truly commendable. It's just sad that some people won't accomplish much for getting hung-up the simple question "How does my hair look?"

    That being said... I was more concentrated on her smile. Gabby would benefit greatly from braces.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. B

      Wow, your comment was great until the end, when you completely undermined everything you said. ::smh::

      August 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Do you, your Mother, Aunt and sister have million dollar contracts with Fortune 500 companies because of your hair and teeth?

      Beauty is a depreciating asset. In other words, as people age, their looks will fade.

      Gabrielle is not only a star, but she has personality, is intelligent and can hold an intelligent conversation.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  18. JRod

    I love Gabby and we as Americans should feel very proud of her. Good for her, i like her hair just the way it is.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      and I love you for giving her the credit that she deserves.

      August 7, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  19. booggaloo

    Does anyone have anything to say about Serena Williams hair in the gold, singles tennis medal round. I don't because they are both very talented and gifted people.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eusoubra

      That is because Serena is ashamed of her natural her and is unbe-wig-able. I wish someone would write an article about the overuse of wigs and weaves from India as if Indian hair represents Black women's ideals of themselves. When I was young only old women wore wigs now it is 9 year old Black girls. Black people instill this mindset in their young girls from infancy so why be shocked when they take to the airwaves?

      August 7, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dee

        Compared to health, love, family, food, shelter and clothing, hair is trivial. Serena looks like she is healthy. Hopefully she will have a long and prosperous life regardless to how she chooses to wear her hair.

        I have read articles about how black women are supposed to wear their hair. I don't subscribe to that because it is that person's opinion, and I don't have to go along with that person's opinion. The problem is that too many African-Americans are insecure, and hate themselves, so they lash out at others.

        August 7, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sarah

        Serena wasn't wearing a wig - she had a headband on. Looked like she was just getting it out of the way.

        August 7, 2012 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
      • micjey1313

        you do know that Williams has a pretty sevier medical condition dont you? Im sure that has a lot to do with what people are talking about.

        August 9, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sarah

        Venus is the one with the autoimmune illness, not Serena.

        August 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      I have no complaints about anyone's hair.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  20. M

    Woman's beach volleyball is sooo much more interesting and fun to watch, luv what they wear.

    August 7, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • TWD

      But they are not nice looking women so the bikinis are not a good look for them.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Secondaire

    Gabby is fabulous, and Americans of all colors should get behind her for what she is – an Olympic champion! Everything else is superficial nonsense!

    August 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Richard

    This is sick.

    August 7, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Jeff

    The black women criticizing Gabby Douglas' hair could probably learn a thing or two from Gabby Douglas about priorities, dreams, and hard work. It's not an accident that Gabby Douglas is on the podium in London and the haters are sitting on their couches munching on potato chips. If the black community had more Gabby Douglas, they'd have a lot fewer problems. There is no doubt about it. Great job Gabby Douglas! America in general is very proud of you.

    August 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dian

      I agree. What does her hair have to with her accomplishment. The topic of her should have never been made a topic. As a black person sometimes I wonder why so many blacks worry about insignificant nonsense. The ignorance that I hear at so many times is unbelievably unnecessary. I am happy for Gabby and I will promote positive words about of my mouth for her instead of petty insignificant nonsense.

      August 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  24. cyclegurl

    Seriously.....Enough already.

    August 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Steve

    Also one more thing, do you realize the publicity that this girl is getting from this controversy and the amount of money she will be earning from endorsements, far more then if this whole thing had not taken place, It makes you wonder who really threw the wood onto the fire.

    August 7, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  26. elle

    I'm a white woman who came of age during the Carnaby Street, swinging London era in the mid- to late-sixties when that stick-straight hair look was everything. I ironed my hair, of course, and had blistered burn marks along my forearms to prove it. At the slightest breath of mist or sweat, my hair reclaimed its look anyway. I hated myself. It's difficult to express to others how this can frustrate even the smart kid that I was. I was a girl, and I felt ugly. That's not trivial or shallow. It's emotion. I graduated and got my first job in Oakland working with mostly African American girls. At last I had friends who understood. At first we would shop for wigs together, which were very popular at that time, but as the Black Is Beautiful movement arose, more afros and natural looks, braids and creative do's appeared. I got the support and courage to let my hair be itself. Magic! I looked gorgeous, who knew? People stopped me and asked what I did to my hair to get it that way. But it was much more than hair. It was about seeing and accepting the beauty innate in yourself; not comparing yourself to Grace Kelly or hating yourself for not being smooth-haired and blonde. I felt so close to my African American girlfriends that it changed my whole life from then on. And that was 45 years ago! For Gabby, that sweet and brilliant princess, I could wrap her hair into a ballerina bun in about half a minute with a pretty jeweled snood pinned over it - and it would look gorgeous. But she is focused on her moment now; that's what is important. She'll learn all these fashion tricks eventually. For now she has to live for her art.

    August 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Lar 5

    Drop the conversation about Gabby's hair. The black community should be celebrating her tremendous achievement. My goodness how stupid is this nonsense. You should be riding around in cars with bumper stickers that say "GABBY IS THE GREATEST". Shame on you.

    August 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Gerri

    She has so much to be proud of in and of herself! She is just a child so leave her alone! This world is going to hell and you want to gripe about someone's hair....... so sad!

    August 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  29. donna

    How come nobody ever mentions Serena and Venus Williams' obvious use of steriods. They look like men in skirts – yuk!

    August 7, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • south4evr

      Saying that Serena and Venus Williams look like men in skirts is an insult to men!!! Can you say GO-RILLA???

      August 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      So when two black women basically own a sport it's steriods?? Let me guess hmmmmm "WHITE" stop hating and tell your girls to practice LOL

      August 7, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      How come you are signaling out African-American women athletes for criticism? This is racism.

      August 7, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • eroteme

        Those who criticize a 50% African-American president are also racists.

        August 8, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Margaret

    Somebody would complain no matter what. She can shave her head for all I care, she is an amazing athlete. Those young girls work very hard to get where they are. Lets just admire their skill. Those muttonheads who tweet and twit about her hair are the same ones who let everyone know they had sliders for dinner and could not walk a block let alone do what Miss Douglass has done. Give the little lady a big hand and a very well done.

    August 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Junebug

    I think you are speaking in generalities, JohnQ, because my friends who are Black are not of that ilk. I am more than aware of the fragmented nature of Black society, therefore I would never make a blanket statement such as yours–not by a longshot.

    August 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnQ

      @JuneBug Nope not blanket at all. I am black and I can say that by majority, I speak the truth. Hell I cant even stand to be in the same room with my Mother or her sisters for the very reasons I laid out. I am 38 years old and have never had the desire to date or marry a black woman. I have yet to meet a single one that is not shallow, malicious or just plain stupid.

      August 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Eudyptes

    I don't understand why anyone cares what her hair looks like. Its pinned back and up, which I would think makes sense in gymnastics... to keep it out of your face. To me it just looks like how anyone in gymnastics or almost any sport would wear their hair if it was long (no matter the color of the person or texture of their hair). I mean, you are flipping around and stuff... of course there are going to be some stray hairs that come out by the time you are done. My hair probably looks worse on an average day at work and I sure am not doing anything as active as this girl.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Terry Davis

      I really feel sorry for the individuals that are supposed to be black. I think they would rather be white, or have or have Gabby to posess other features other than Black. I am a 62 year old veteran and college graduate and I can truly say that I am truly ashamed of my ignorant people that cannot recognize the dedication this you lady has made and to be known as the best in the world. It is incidents like this, that I ask the questions, when will I women stop putting all this garbage in their hair and look in the mirror and say to themselves I am beautiful as I am without wanting to look like some
      other race. To Gabby I am very proud of you, there are many Ignorant people out there, you have the confidence, in yourself without having a ton of makeup on your face. Take the paint of the critics face I'm sure you will understand why they are haters. You have a bright future to let anyone hurt because I am hurting for you. What has been said is a total disgrace. You have a bright future

      August 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  33. megan

    women do not compete on parallel bars. they are uneven bars.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  34. G. Baez

    This is a sad commentary on the black community. Watching her performance I never even though about her race, let alone her hairstyle.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eusoubra

      It's unfortunate that you didn't think about her race because it is central to who she is as a human being. There is a huge difference between acknowledging the truth (She is Black) and making vast assumptions about her character and motivations.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Sparko

    For crying out loud.....when I first read there was "controversy" over this gold medal winners hair I was confused. And frankly now that I know the story behind it I have to say its still just as mystifying. I am white, near 50 and have straight, straight hair. In the past I have permed it to get curly! I still use a curling iron. Believe me, we European Americans have plenty of issues with our hair too-and are just as subject to fashion wims when it comes to our hair as any ethnicity. The Farah flip of the 70's, the super perm of the 80's and the list could go on–all are NOT NATURAL. Can't we just focus on what this amazing teenager has done and is doing and not worry about something as superficial as her hair???? Jeeze......

    August 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • maxiiscott

      Sparko, the difference between your experience and ours is that you didn't have the pressure of being evaluated and judged first by your skin color. When Gabby won, I was so happy that the initial response to her success was not, "The first African American to win......." However, less than 30 minutes after her win, her color was the headline on all the news stations. So while all of these responses are saying her hair doesn't matter, apparently her skin color does. So add that to not looking her best and unfortunately she is being judged. It's terrible to feel in order to be accepted we have to erase what society feels is not pretty. I'm not saying it's correct, but that's the absolute truth. So on one hand you understand, but truthfully you won't ever really get it because at the end of the day, you and I can both fix our hair, but I can't fix the color of my skin.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dee

        These people know better than to slam Gabrielle for being black, so they slam her hair, family and teeth.

        August 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  36. doug

    In Iowa she could be Gabby, but now the liberal media makes her that black girl who does gymnastics. This is why we don't have equality, there is added wieght to the shoulders of people of color with the lib media and their race baiting great society ways. Their Democrat forefathers rode around on horses wearing hoods and burning crossses, this batch of dems are even more damaging for the welfare of people of color in America. just look at any dem district where they have had complete control for decades, if that city or district wasn't in America it would be rightfully lablled genocide.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sparko

      Oh lord, there goes that "liberal media" again.... must be nice to have an "all purpose" villain to blame EVERYTHING on. Pathetic.......

      August 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Margaret

      I suspect that most of the people commenting on her hair don't even vote, let alone call themselves liberals. Ask them who is president and they have no idea and don't care. Ask who the republican running is and the will say Romney who? It is more about how superficial our society has become. There is more interest in the Karadsians, and what Octomom has been doing than what is going on in the world. People just pass on the dumbest emails full of lies and never check to see if they are fact or not. With the low test scores, and how proud people are that they have not read a book since they were in school it is no wonder we have become a National Enquirer country.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Abigail

    This is about nothing more that a bunch of small minded people who cannot appreciate great achievements when they see them, and instead focus on something so petty. Another perfect example... Bobak Ferdowski who helped to land Curiosity on Mars. Who cares that much about other people's hair?!?!? We should just be saying Congratulations!!!!! Way to Go!!!

    August 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  38. doug

    All too much on this little girl, if treated like her fellow gymnists she would have 3 golds. Nope, she's black and the liberal media must put all this race stuff on her shoulders rather than allow her to excel and concentrate on her skills. Gabby, like millions of other people of color, is a vicitm of the Democrats great society.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  39. NorCalMojo

    I still don't get it.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Reggie from LA

    Please disregard any comments about that childs hair styling. Anybody who has said anything about her (to that regard) is portraying some strange insecurity or egotsical eventl. It is beyond ridiculous to find fault with such poised championship.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |

    It's a sad statement on American culture when someone excells and wins a Gold Medal at the Olympics and all we can talk about it her hair. I guess it is more important to look good than to be good. God Bless you Gabby. You're an outstanding athlete and have a wonderful smile.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  42. Liz

    What a disgrace that in this moment of national pride and Olympic excitment people want to tear down this exemplary young woman over how her hair looks. Gabby is perfect the way she is.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnQ

      Nationalism is no different than racism. The Olympics is a shameful aspect of humanity in general. Not a single starving child will benefit from peeople doing flips and retarded water dancing. Human priorities are screwed in general.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dee

        You are trying to use humanity as a cover up for the fact that you have a hatred of African-Americans, and you are angry because an African-American woman won the gold medals.

        August 7, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  43. DLH

    who cares, why does CNN even bother with this kind of stuff?

    August 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  44. babs

    People are cruel; and then the MEDIA just has to go and make a bigger deal about it.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • south4evr

      And they will print it right next to a column demanding an end to bullying!! Go figure!!??

      August 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Klutz

    With that talent and that smile, who would notice the hair. However, the sulky Russian with too much eye makeup was noticeable.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  46. Travelingal702

    Don't these black women who criticize Gabbys hair have anything better to do in their lives than to try to negate her outstanding achievement? GET A LIFE and look at the positive side of what she did; the effort it took; the dedication; the devotion to the sport – and stand up and cheer for her!! don't be so PETTY!

    August 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      It's likely just envy more than anything.

      August 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  47. leen321

    What a dysfunctional society that we are giving any attention to this young woman's hair, including this article. Sorry Gabby

    August 7, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Zoe

    The ceaseless commentary is a sad statement on behalf of those individuals making it a big deal, not on Gabby Douglas. This gymnast has performed her best and made her country proud, and all the monsters who are making an issue out of superficial details are doing so because they have been trained and taught that as women, their only value is in the cosmetic and aesthetic details and not in using brains and talent to excel. Lets stop perpetuating these archaic ideals an bring women into the modern era. Gabby Douglas doesn't cave into peer pressure – yet another attribute that makes her an inspiration for young women.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  49. rach

    I myself could care less about her hair. This young woman is AMAZING! For people to waste time being concerned about her hair is immature. To all the people that talked about her hair, You get up and perform on the balance beam, do a floor routine and swing on the uneven bars. Then and only then will I think about wasting time talking about your hair. Why must people waste time tearing other people down. Use that same negative energy to build someone up, it will do wonders for your soul.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  50. xman51

    She is a beautiful, intelligent and gifted young lady. I am African American,Caucasian American, and Native American. When I see our athelets on the podium or just competing. I see just Americans that I am so frickin proud of win or lose.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  51. Charles

    This article is an insult to the accomplishment that this young lady has made. It is also an insult to every African American person; male or female that CNN allowed such a STUPID article to be published. This young lady had made history and this stupid article is being read by people all over the world. CNN, you should be ashamed to allow this article to be attached to such a historic moment for African Americans and young woman around the world.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • claire

      Did you even read it? It's a very educated sociological article about the stigma of black hair and the pressure black womem feel to appear more "AMerican". Which is why Gabby got slack because she could look like all the white girls with their straight pretty hair. To deny this is literally ignorant. NO OTHER GIRL got slack for her hair, cause no other girl was black.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • JohnQ

        Black Women perpetuate this stigma . They do it to themselves because they buy into the advertising and marketing ploys of the hair care industry. American Women of all ethnicities in general place these standards upon each other to clown themselves up, starve themselves, plasticize their bodies and reconstruct their faces just to have one up over the next woman.

        August 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • maxiiscott

        Exactly. 30 minutes after she won, the headlines began with "The first African American to win Gold in......." Race became an immediate issue. People are fooling themselves.

        August 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • KeithF

      When she won I was happy for her and team USA. Then Costas brought up race right out of the blue. There will never be equality and acceptance as long as people call out the differences when someone does something. Who cares that she is black. If you do, I believe you to be a racist. Am I supposed to call out every time a white guy makes a layup in basketball? I still think to call out her race and to even discuss her hair is racist. Costas was very condensending to me. Aw, look how well the little black girl did. See that proves black girls can do gym. See they can go it. Alll that language is racist and the sooner everyone realizes that and quits having this history month and that history month, we can get on with our lives and not have the labels. She is American.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      Charles, I agree.

      The Author is using Gabrielle and African-American women as an opportunity to get some notoriety, or she is ashamed of African-American features, and thinks that all other African-American women are shamed of their features. A lot of African-American women are secure.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  52. Lee Kelly

    Wow...embarrassing...says a lot about where our culture places its importance, doesn't it?

    August 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  53. Really??

    Who are these people? This young lady won the GOLD, and made me proud to be an American. She held herself beautifully during interviews, her mom did a GREAT job raising her. After she won–she held herself with class / no acting like it was their FIRST win (as other athletes in other sports). Yes I'm a white female – I didn't even notice her hair – her smile was too georgous.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  54. KeithF

    You are all idiots if you make anything out of her winning other than she is American. Costas bringing up she is african american made me want to puke. Who cares???? The only people, black or white, that would bring up her race after winning the gold are nothing more than racists. Yes, black racists. They think they have to bring up race any time a mouse farts. It makes me not cheer for someone I was so happy for. Just because of you idiots. Well, I will continue to root for her and all the other Americans and athletes from all over that try their best to win and forget you bigots, black and white. Who gives a crap about her hair. Leave her alone, she seems to be a nice girl that is trying to do her best for her country and her team. Idiots. All of you on cnn, Tiya grinning like an idiot and writing about the girl's hair. My girls are in gymnastics. Keep your hair up and out of the way. Other than that, who cars.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • claire

      Whenever you are a member of a historically oppressed minority, it's hard NOT to recognize achievments of people in your minority. NO one is racist for pointing this out because guess what GABBY is literally THE FIRST black all-around gynmast. If it had been a black girl every single olympic to get this honor, people would be saying its the first white girl. But of course that has never happened so this is literally history in the making. No reason to bash people about being racist when pointing out the amazing fact that no other black woman has been able to pull of this feat. For instance, the DNC speaker is the first Latino EVER. I can't help but be amazed and disgusted that barely in 2012 will we have a latino speaker. Am I racist? No. I am Latino myself and plan to have a career in politics and it's very interesting to learn that barely in 2012 this is happening.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
      • KeithF

        Fine if you are going to be a politician. If you are going to be a latino politician, then you are a racist and part of what is wrong with this country. If there is a black or latino speaker of the Republican party, I wouldn't notice. I couldn't tell you what race they are. My point is that I didn't notice Gabby for being anything other than American. To do otherwise, is racist. Latino, Italian, Jewish. Talked about a history of oppression. Maybe we should all try to elect and promote people of Jewish heritage??? To make it about race is racist. Plain and simple. It's OK, nobody wants to admit they are racist, BUT TO MAKE IT ABOUT RACE IS RACIST!!!!!!!

        August 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
      • maxiiscott

        Claire, best wishes to you in your endeavors and I like how you think!

        August 7, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  55. Junebug

    Personally, I was shocked at the fuss, and I felt a pang of shame on Gabby's behalf, how she must have felt, if even for a moment, when she found out that people were discussing such a trivial, ridiculous fixation as her hair. When I watched Gabby's performance leading up to when she won her solo Gold, I was mesmerized by her athletic perfection, her adorable pixie presence, and her shining, confident, beautiful smile. I never for one second thought about her hair. I observed she was well-groomed, has the slamming body of an Olympian, her makeup doesn't look all tarted out like some of the other women athletes...she is a young woman whose years of dedication, hard work, disciipline and personal ability allowed her to reach that moment. I was thrilled for her to the point of tears. It was an important moment for her as a human being, as a woman, and as an African American.

    I am stunned that anyone, particularly one of African American descent, could cloud over her moment of glory by making derogatory remarks about something so trivial as the style of her hair. I'm not sure what inspires that sort of thing, but those who made the remarks should really take a good look inward and explore that. It's just not cool.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Betty

      You are so absolutely right. And, unfortunately, I've seen Gabby perform since this mess. She seems to be off her game and it's really a shame. She is a beautiful, talented young lady. The press could have kept this story until after the Olympics. There was no reason to air this now. Everyone knows how it hurts to be talked about behind you back. Gabby is a child, for heaven's sake!! But to Gabby: You are excellent in every way. God bless you.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Sarah

        I hope this isn't the case. I saw an interview with her earlier today where she said they (the team) were safely ensconced in the VIllage, so they've been able to avoid media. The coaches are probably (and should be) keeping them away from all of this.

        August 7, 2012 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Bukoo

    If it wasn't the hair it seems it would be something else. Why can't someone just be appreciated for their accomplishments and just let it go at that. All this other stuff makes me question what is the real motive and objectives with regard to this issue? Is it just because of some jealous undercurrent having to do with who she is and not what she's doing? I've never heard of any other olympian being scrutinized with regard to their preference of hair style. So I have to seriously ask myself WHY?

    August 7, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      It is racism. Not only Gabrielle's hair, people have criticized her parents, and her teeth. Then they started criticizing all African-American women. Then they started on Serena Williams. It is racism.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  57. Ryan

    It stupid

    August 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bukoo

      You are CORRECT...it is stupid. So what does that say about CNN?

      August 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
      • ww

        CNN just felt the need to start something. But believe me, black folks would have been discussing her hair anyway. After all, how is Gabby going to attrack a man if she doesn't have "hair" like Beyonce? At this time of her life and all of her life, Gabby just has to learn to be Gabby. Forget all the haters and their shallowness.

        August 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  58. OBG

    Was this really worthy of publication? Really? Someone make a comment about hair style and it merits an opinion piece on CNN.com?

    August 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Junebug

      it wasn't just "someone," it was many people, and the commentary was on how trivial it was, given the breadth of her achievement and why it even came up. Use your brain.

      August 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  59. WGMOW

    Typical stupid females hyperventillating again. Kid wins a gold medal and they get all hyper about her hairdo. Just proves once again the shallowness of the female mind. Oh, and before you all call me a mysogynist – go right ahead, but be sure to note that I am a WOMAN mysogynist.

    August 7, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  60. Manhattan

    Any time a black person goes above and beyond and accomplishes great things there are always those coming out the woodwork to discredit them or put them down! A majority of the time it is their own people! Or NBC! I think she is a wonderful inspiration in all her own Natural Beauty! No blond hair and blue contacts needed! Congratulations Gabby and continue to stay positive! The Haters hate that!

    August 7, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
  61. pearlgirl1l

    As an african american woman, its just hair, and she can where it anyway she wants to. Hair does not define who you are just like the size of your feet. Its her personal preference and how much nerve does anyone have judging her. White girls straighten there hair too, does anybody care?

    August 7, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  62. James

    I could care less about her hair and the ONLY reason it has come up is because the media as brought it to the forefront. Don't write about it and make it a big deal and the supposed controversy would go away. Keep writing about it in articles like this and will have more and more articles and comments on why this is being brought up so much. Self promoting and self perpetual journalism.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • TWD

      "Could or couldn't care less"? Could means you do care.

      August 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  63. Phyllis

    This is an important article if only to help understand one of the many issues that affect black people and their self esteem that do not necessarily affect others. It is impossible to overestimate the stress that the prevailing culture puts on the 'other' , the 'different' , those who stray from the desired 'norm', whether it be their weight, or skin color or beliefs. Why is sameness prized so much and difference the source of shame and fear?

    August 7, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Wildfawn

    Fixing your hair straight isn't going to make people think that you are white. . . and you shouldn't want them to. Being capable, having usable talents and abilities, and being hardworking will make most people, at least those who are worth it in the first place, accept you as you are.

    This young woman achieved something few people of any race manage. It wouldn't matter if her hair were shaved or out in an Afro, she'd still have achieved it.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  65. BZ

    Here we have a gathering of the most accomplished athletes in the world and all we can talk about is her hair ? How embarrassing.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Chantel

    I never even noticed Gabby's hair. She was phenomenal last week during team and individual!! Her smile is contagious and everytime they would show her smiling I would smile with her. Her poise and confidence is wonderful and I am so proud of her accomplishments at this year's Olympics.

    It blows my mind all of the discussion about her hair. I am a white woman that also doesn't follow America's norm for beauty either. I have thick curly hair that I can do nothing with. Straightening is useless and takes entirely to long to do. Would I like straight hair? Sure if it came to me naturally but I have learned to love my hair and myself.

    And I also know that if I were in Gabby's shoes right now, with social media and some black American women bashing me for my hair, when I just won 2 Olympic Gold, I would use that new found platform to tell them what bridge to go jump off of!

    God Bless You Gabby!!!! A majority of us a VERY VERY proud of you! And your hair!

    August 7, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  67. royalthird

    Black Americans will always be there own worst enemy. The Bill Cosby show airs and from the black community there's the complaint that the show is not a true depiction of the black community. As if blacks have never been teachers and doctors. Controversy exist period because man himself has too much time on his hand. Man himself can not be satisfied with the mere fact that this young lady won the gold that her hair has now become a controversy in the black community and elsewhere? Please. I personally believe all of this crap happens because most people do not want the microscope focused on themselves.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  68. Detada

    This whole hair debate is a testament to the disfunction of our priorities.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • marragor

      Could not agree more with you. This kid is amazing and has accomplished so much and people are "worried" about her hair?????

      August 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  69. Andrea

    All the women on the team wore the same deconstructed ponytail hairstyle. I don't judge a person by their hair (or lack thereof).

    August 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Amy

    I am not African-American, but I am an American that was so proud of Gabby's accomplishment! I never once remarked, or even thought to remark about her hair. Honestly, I thought it looked just like all the other girls' hair on the USA team. I can;t believe after doing what she did, people were putting down her hair?!

    August 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  71. curiousgeorgette

    Does anyone know how big the industry of hair products for black hair is in the US? I bet is worth billions of dollars. Some black American women spend hundreds of dollars every week in their hair! Wasted money if you ask me!

    August 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      As long as they are not asking me to pay for it, I don't care how much they spend, or what style they choose to wear.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  72. DCWriter

    As a white female who straightens her naturally curly hair, I can only imagine what MY hair would have looked like after performing such an incredible, athletic routine – and how I would have felt if people had criticized it. I, for one, didn't even notice Gabby's hair. I was instead focused on the beaming face of a young woman who had just achieved a lifelong dream that a minute fraction of us could ever hope to emulate.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharon

      You're a very ugly person, I'd hate to be that unhappy.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Maira

    Really?!? WHO CARES ABOUT HER HAIR? The girl could be bald for all I care. I'm not looking at her hair, I'm awed by her strength and athleticism. I could not do ANY of those moves, I'd be out of breath within the first 4 minutes of any of her routines. SHE ROCKS!!! As an American I'm proud, she represents the best of the US and I am proud to share a part of her accomplishments.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  74. cxdieselxm

    would we really be making this much fuss if it what a white person from africa who won?

    August 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  75. eroteme

    Through the past years African-American women's hair has greatly improved. Number of years ago I spent quite a bit of time in Zambia, i.e., Lusaka. Appearance-wise the only one could tell the difference in a male and female Zambian was that women wore ear rings. Times change. Perhaps now Zambian men also wear ear rings, following the silly USA current custom.

    August 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  76. M.J. Weber

    I watched her performance (I am white) and never once did I think of her hair. I watched her amazing ability and strength. I was so happy for her that she excelled at this sport and did so well. I thought she set an awesome example for African American and all other races of children in the present and the future. Someone they can all look up to and try to strive to do what she did.
    I hope more African American children get into sports like this in the future.
    I will never forget the still photo of her in the air where it appears like she's upside down flying.
    Who cares what her hair looked like! It's what she worked for and attained, not her hair!

    August 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Imaginetheresnoheaven

    GABBY DOUGLAS is a gymnastics GODDESS. Thank you, Gabby for making us proud to be US Americans.
    Negative comments about her hair are stupid and help no one.
    If African American mothers would worry more about educating their children and less about their hair or their daughter's' hair, I am sure our country would be a better place.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      First, there is no such thing a an African American, if you are born and raised in this country then you are an American, when the black community stops segregating themselves then and only then will the white community do the same.

      August 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
  78. patiat

    Cattiness knows no single color, creed, or nationality.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  79. Minerva from Los Angeles, CA

    I think the author is missing the point. Whenever there is something new and different, like an African-American female gymnast taking gold, there will be a tendency to analyze it in our minds. Its outside the pattern. So we focus on little details, like hair, or clothing, or speech, or background. Its just the human, perfectly normal way to understand, digest, assimilate change. This will pass, and by writing about it, we are adding to the fuss, not detracting. If something piques the interest of humanity about Gabby's hair, so be it. So what? We can all see she is a delightful young agile gymnast who leaves us breathless with her grace, timing, balance, strength to the point where we are not conscious of what she is wearing, let alone her hair.

    She has experienced the high of a gold medal, and the low of a fall from the beam. That is a lot to experience by 14. What a shining example she is, esp to the African American community and to all of us. What is so uplifting about the Olympics, is that it evens out the playing field for all groups. It opened up the door for black South Africans to compete, and now finally women from Saudi Arabia! Hurray for the Olympics, and for our precious Gabby Douglas. So very proud of her, especially as she fought so hard to get training and determined the course of her own life!!

    August 7, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  80. rye manhattan

    Well, I didn't notice until now, but they are right – what the heck is going on with that hair???

    August 7, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  81. Elizabeth

    I don't really understand why a bunch of African-Americans criticizing a girl's hair is proof of white bigotry. I personally think black girls with natural hair are much more attractive than girls with over-proccesed hair.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  82. Hard Logic

    Her hair is a non-factor of what she has achieved. So why are you ignorant people so concerned about what this girl's looks like? Oh, because you're ignorant. You people have nothing else better to do but criticize someone's hair. With all the negative comments on “Social Media” and now the news, this girl is going to end up with a negative complex about her looks! Her hair is just fine! She does not have time to worry about what her hair is looking like when she is trying to represent our nation and OUR people. She is not so self absorbed like most black women about her hair. She does not have that insecurity that most black women have about their hair. The way some women criticize her hair seems to have a little jealous tone. The main black women that have something negative to say about her hair, wish they had her hair and that's the bottom line.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  83. Damian

    Seriously her hair? People need ot get a life and leave this girl alone. Firstly it looks fine to me.......secondly focus on her abilities not something so petty! You all should be ashamed of yourselves.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  84. Mike

    This is a waste of time

    August 7, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  85. AlwaysHonest

    The black community doesn't care about Gabby's hair, because there is nothing wrong with it! We are proud of her accomplishments and think her hair looks fabulous. This columist needs to get a life...Seriously!

    August 7, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
  86. Hard Logic

    Well said Lava. I've seen so much negative comments about Gabby's hair on social networks, I'm not surprised to see it here. Now the American black women's main insecurity is put on display for all to see and criticize. Black women can be their own worst enemy.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  87. Dee

    What's the problem – can't take a beautiful young lady with poise and talent? Gaby is a 2012 OLYMPIAN with 2 GOLD MEDALS, one is for THE ALL ROUND BEST GYMNAST in the world, world, world, world, WORLD !!!!! She is beautiful, talented and gifted, with poise and grace and a trillion dollar smile to melt anyone. She worked hard for this and is very deserving. CONGRATS GABY-WE ARE PROUD OF YOU and we thank you for bringing home the gold.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  88. BeYourself

    Can't say I ever noticed her hair. She's beautiful, strong in character, and her performance was phenomenal. I am sure little superficial details about her hair were the least of her worries. Congrats Gabby and continue being the strong and beautiful YOU.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  89. cgs

    Funny this is coming from the black community. I have heard nothing but admiration for her from my white friends.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  90. John

    This is the dumbest issue I think I have ever heard of. The girl just won Olympic gold. She is competing in an athletic event. Who cares what her hair looks like?

    August 7, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  91. summer shaw

    I am white.
    Gabby Douglas' hair did not even register on my radar.
    I don't get it.
    Gabby is amazing and wonderful.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Everymom

      I was going to say what summershaw said. Almost word for word.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
  92. Bruce in San Antonio

    Mark Twain said: "Do not argue with stupid people. They will bring you down to their level and then beat you with experience." He is correct.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  93. Petercha

    I don't care about Gabby's hair, or her race, or whatever. What I DO care about is that she gave glory to God! You go, Gabby! America is proud of you!

    August 7, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  94. Tina

    First off, let me say that Gabby is an amazing athlete and she deserves high praise for that. That being said, don't be so angry at some black people for pointing out that Gabby's hair was less than acceptable. The cameras at the Olympics are constantly on the athletes, even while they waiting to perform AND after they have done so. So it's not unusual to start to take a closer look at their appearance. One might say that, being a black athlete in the Olympics, you might want to make sure you make an all-around good representation of black people. Now, I did take notice that her hair definitely was too gel-ed, and not very well held together, like her counterparts. I didn't dwell on it. But I did wish that it looked better. 'Why'd the black girl have to be the one with the mesed up hair'. AND I am 99.9 percent sure that when Gabby makes her public appearances after the Olympics, the Today Show and what-have-you, her hair is going to be on point. I'll be there are black stylists out there right now waiting to stake claim to that task. In any event, Well Done, Gabby!

    August 7, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Bruce in San Antonio

      I have seen NFL players who could barely get their helmets on during the afro fad. I have seen NLF players with shiny domes covered with nothing but sweat. It simply makes no difference. What makes the difference is are they fast, strong, determined enough to get into the end zone. We would do better to focus on the priorities.

      August 7, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  95. Carbon9

    wake yo game up

    August 7, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  96. honestlyforreal

    @ agreement with you @J. Baldwin. Just had that convo with a couple of my co-workers here this mornning. I brought up the hate that "US" black woman have and use against another blackwoman. And I also mentioned that the hate of white woman still thinking that BLACK WOMEN should be still at the bottom.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  97. SFCRetired

    All I have to say is that this old, white, Southern man would love to be able to claim that beautiful, dedicated, and talented young woman as another daughter or granddaughter!! She should be pointed out to every young woman, heedless of ethnic origin, as an example of what can be done when one focuses on a goal and works to achieve it. All I have is a heartfelt round of applause for her.

    August 7, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Petercha


      August 7, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Really??

      Wee said, sir!,

      August 7, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  98. Seyedibar

    I don't get it. What was wrong with her hair?

    August 7, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  99. ChrisCintheD

    I'm with you. I don't think there's anything wrong with noticing something that seems...amiss. I noticed the Russian girls looked thin and some had on wayyyyy to much make-up. Other people noticed, too....and commented about it on Twitter. Yet, none of that has gotten the press Gabby's hair has gotten. Why does the media care sooooooooo much about an observation many have made about her hair?

    August 7, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  100. Jeff

    If they weren't focusing on her hair, they'd find some other thing to complain about.

    August 7, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Rhope

      Could not agree more. There are folks who will complain about everything...seeking to bring down a successful person. Go Gabby!

      August 7, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
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