Gabby Douglas Wins Olympic Gold, But Will She Be As Popular As Joseline Hernandez?
16-year-old Gabby Douglas has become the first African American woman to win the gold medal in the all-around gymnastics competition. Her image is plastered on every website and surely will be gracing commercials, Wheaties boxes, and more. Her accomplishment is groundbreaking and she should be applauded for showing so much poise at such a young age. Not to mention that her achievement is being praised by the entire country and not just African Americans.
But let’s look into the future for a minute, shall we? A few months from now when the Olympics are over and Gabby Douglas returns home, will we still champion her history making accomplishment as much as we are enamored with rappers and reality TV stars? It sounds silly at first, but society has an interesting way of revealing what we value. I am hopeful that I’m wrong about this, but a small piece of me dies when I think about who society celebrates and why. In a perfect world, Gabby Douglas’ celebrity would soar. But in reality, she may return home being less popular than, say, Joseline Hernandez or any random cast member from Basketball Wives. However, in a day and age when the talentless make more money for acting an ass on television than a teacher, you have to wonder if what I’m saying is true.
I’m bringing this to light because I am challenging everyone to stop supporting those who have nothing to offer the community and celebrate those who are making history and trailblazing for the next generation. I am hopeful that Douglas’ win will spawn a number of young African American women to become gymnasts, just like Dominique Dawes and her 1996 Olympic accomplishments probably encouraged the parents of Gabby Douglas to take her to gym class. What I’m not hopeful of is a bunch of young women who yearn to be Hernandez or another Basketball Wife. The celebrity of reality TV is short lived and we’ll see where most of these people end up 20 years from now. But what Douglas has accomplished will last forever.