Gabby Douglas, Racism and NBC
With so many different cultures working together during the 2012 Olympics, it's only a little surprising that NBC would stumble over race. According to Racialicious contributor Kendra James, these faux pas weren't limited to ill-timed monkey-cum-gymnast commercials leading into a segment about Gabby Douglas, but rather spread across the events like butter on toast.
Despite NBC's decision to cut part of the Opening Ceremonies, make insulting comments at the expense of countries whose names they found amusing , and air a commercial featuring a gymnast monkey after Bob Costas' "Master Class On Race" featuring Gabby Douglas were questionable, yes. But they were by no means the only ones looking to medal in the Olympic Hate and Journalistic Biases competition.
Featuring Douglass on Brian Williams' news magazine Rock Center was a good start. They even dubbed her 'America's Sweetheart,' which made it altogether stranger when they didn't quite treat her as such ...
Despite her appearance on Rock Center, their subsequent coverage of and following Gabby's gold medal all-around win had more lows than highs.
Worse than the aforementioned gymnast monkey commercial (an ad promoting Animal Practice, a show whose existence alone should serve to prove that NBC is well past its prime), was the speech delivered by Costas beforehand.
You know, it's a happy measure of how far we've come that it doesn't seem all that remarkable, but still it's noteworthy, Gabby Douglas is, as it happens, the first African-American to win the women's all-around in gymnastics. The barriers have long since been down, but sometimes there can be an imaginary barrier, based on how one might see oneself.
Those imaginary barriers can be a bitch, y'all.
Read Kendra James' entire piece at Racialicious.
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