Ricardo A. Hazell
©2016, The Shadow League
Stereotypes and misunderstandings litter the American landscape in just about every societal aspect. It is an unfortunate byproduct of living in a multiethnic, multiracial, multicultural society.
Can Black girls swim? Can Black girls dominate Women’s gymnastics on a world stage? These are but a few of the questions that have been fired upon the aspirations of now-Olympic medalists Simone Manuel, Lia Neal and Simone Biles. Though Dominique Dawes won three medals at the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996, no black woman had ever won Olympic gold in swimming.
Nothing ever occurs in a vacuum in contemporary society. We ride upon the intentions and sensibilities of those who came before us. That goes for athletes and journalists alike. It is the different belief system of those he came before us that act as the musical notes of our modern day song, and not all of those notes go together. As far as the American “song” goes, many of those early notes were racist.
Today, we’re trying to sort out those notes that are offending to our ears in honing a more harmonious union. But transitioning from a shrieking, jarring, incapable pile of random sounds into a symphony of enlightenment has been arduous. This year’s political cycle, and all of its repulsive demagogues, as well as the racial realities revealed in the recent shooting deaths of Philandro Castile and Alton Sterling and the recent deaths of police officers in Baton Rouge and Dallas, respectively, are a reflection of that.
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