Natalie Hawkins

by (@hallekiefer)

Gabby Douglas Tells Oprah About Dealing With Racist Bullies; We Wonder What Is Wrong With People?

Some days, there is so much foolishness going on in the world, it’s all we can do not to collapse onto our fainting couches and fan ourselves with one hand. That was our immediate reaction upon reading that Olympic gold medal winner Gabby Douglas had to deal with racism from her fellow gymnasts on her way to the top. “I felt [I was] being bullied,” Douglas revealed to Oprah on yesterday’s Oprah’s Next Chapter about her time training at her home gym in Virginia Beach. When her teammates were asked to scrape the balance bar, for example, “They’re like, ‘Why doesn’t Gabby do it? She’s our slave.” Great slavery joke, you guys! If only you were as good at being a human being as you are on the uneven bars!

Recalled Gabby, “I definitely felt isolated. I felt, ‘Why am I deserving this? Is it because I’m black?’ Those thoughts would go through my mind.” Of course, we probably shouldn’t be too surprised that the Olympic gymnast had to deal with all this; the kerfuffle over Gabby Douglas’ hair during the Olympics made our eyes roll so far back into our heads, we had to use a dust buster to pull them out. Eventually the bullying got so bad, Gabby’s mom Natalie Hawkins explained, “She said, ‘I’d rather quit. If I can’t move and train and get another coach, I’d rather quit the sport.'” Luckily Gabby was able to move to a gym in Iowa to work with Shawn Johnson‘s coach Liang Chow, and the rest is history. It is literally world history, and no one can take that away from her. Meanwhile, if we were Gabby, we’d be so tempted to slowly drive past our old gym wearing our gold medal, but she’s probably way too classy for that.