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I was rather appalled reading this article and others like it, and I cannot honestly cannot begin to understand whoever thought bashing Gabby Douglas's hair was an okay thing to do, but this is my take on the entire debacle:

"Okay. This is dumb. She does not represent African American girls. Her success will not open magical doors into the Olympic world for African American girls. Her hard work and dedication have allowed her to represent the United States of America as a whole, not just one part of it, and she did an absolutely amazing job. She is one of hundreds of thousands of black girls who do not wear their hair "naturally." Who gave anyone the right to have a say in what someone does or doesn't do with their hair? Is her perm or relaxer casting some sort of negative light on African Americans? Will Whites and Hispanics and Asians and anyone else see African Americans in a whole new light due to the condition of her hair? Something tells me that is not the case. The African American culture is on a very dangerous path to self-destruction due to the amount of internal discrimination that goes on. Lighter skinned blacks (read: want to be white girls) vs. darker skinned blacks (read: unsophisticated). Natural-haired girls (read: nappy headed ho's) vs. chemically treated-haired girls/girls with extensions/girls with weaves (read: no pride in their heritage). Let it go people. It's just hair. And it's not even your hair."

I am heartbroken that a group of African Americans chose her to be the sole representative of them all during the Olympics, which rather defeats the purpose of the Olympics as an athletic competition between nations, not factions of nations. It is an event that is meant to unite everyone, if only for a few days. Not only was she unfairly held up as a symbol for a group within that larger United States, she was then criticized for not being the best symbol they felt she could be on a topic as frivolous as her hair. It is rude, offensive, and shallow. This should not happen to anyone, especially not a girl who, at 16, has achieved more than most people dare to in decades. Her medals don't make her more of an American, and her hairstyle doesn't make her less of an African American.