Pride Soaring

 

 

 

The Kings of the four seasons by Marcella Muhammad

 

 

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Davis walks his talk with gold in 1,000 meters

Cheek takes second; Hedrick fails to medal in quest for second gold

Brian Bahr / Getty Images
American Shani Davis, left, is congratulated by the Netherlands' Erben Wennemars after winning the gold medal in the men's 1,000 speed skating final Saturday. Wennemars took the bronze. His fellow team members do not offer any congratulations

 

 

 

 

TURIN, Italy - Say what you want about Shani Davis. Call him a trailblazer. Accuse him of selfishness. Snicker at him for being a momma’s boy.

Just don’t forget this: He’s also an Olympic champion.  The statement “FIRST BLACK” comes into play once again as if being Black is a handicap.  When I hear that term today I must admit my feelings have changed form how I felt in the sixties.  In the sixties the term was used as a wiping strap beating me into believing that for Black people being able to brake into certain fields was an impossibility because of some inferior flaw in my genes.  So when a Black person broke through it was a exceptional achievement.

Now when I hear this statement I have emotions of antagonism from the fact that today in this day and age we still have to endure the same debasing measuring tool.  Instead of feeling inferior, I now understand that braking into certain fields in which we have not shown our prominence, is because we were not given equal opportunity.  Shani Davis’s long and hard road to the Olympic top podium, shows that the struggle is still true today as it was in the sixties and scores before.

Davis’ mother, Cherie, has a long-running feud with the folks at U.S. Speed skating, believing they worked against her only child when he was younger because of the color of his skin. The organization says that’s not so, but Davis doesn’t train with the national program, frequently complains about a lack of marketing opportunities and gladly lets his mother fight his battles.  This gives him the title of “Mammas Boy.”  I ask you how many male amateur athletes are helped by their mothers and don’t get that title?

I am reminded of the protest waged by the athletes in the most popular medalThe image “http://img.infoplease.com/images/blackpower.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. ceremony of all time. The photographs of two Black American sprinters standing on the medal podium with heads bowed and fists raised at the Mexico City Games in 1968 not only represent one of the most memorable moments in Olympic history but a milestone in America's civil rights movement. Civil Disobedience!

We are on the move for our liberation. we're tired of trying to prove things to white people. We are tired of trying to explain to white people that we're not going to hurt them. We are concerned with getting the things we want, the things we have to have to be able to function. The question is, Will white people overcome their racism and allow for that to happen in this country? If not, we have no choice but to say very clearly, "Move on over, or we're going to move over you." by Stokely Carmichael

The Black Iceman Cometh

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Short track speed skater Shani Davis carries the tremendous honor of being a black man representing his country, while composing himself, and remaining composed, through incidents that may or may not have something to do with the color of his skin. He has felt the cold chill of isolation over the years. His intelligence and ability has been called into question many times. Comments from peers have cut like a knife, leaving Davis to ponder the rhetorical question blacks in America have been asking when it comes to racial issues: is it me or is it them?
    "In this previous game I hadn't played and he said to me, 'Maybe you'll play next time.' And when he was knocked out and I told him the same thing, he spent the rest of the time playing ball calling me 'boy.' He kept on hammering me; it was very hateful. I counted about 35 times he said it. Other skaters were there, and interns and no one stopped him from doing what he did."
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   The immediate interview after Shani clinched the gold, a reporter (white female), questioned him about the race.  Shani without the skinning and grinning smile, answered her questions, but his demeanor wasn't what was expected, since he had more than one battle on his mind, so the reporter asked him if he was angry.  I am reminded by the mentality that Black men are hostile animals and lack of smile was an endorsement of Black Angry Men idea.  He wasn't angry but filled with relief from the weight placed on his very broad shoulders. 

NBC with it infinite wisdom later enforced the mindset of using a spade to handle a spade by having a reporter (Black male), to question Shani.  I have not seen this reporter prior to this interview with Shani.  Out of the dankness of their diversity program came this critter to be the familiar hommie to interview Shani.  Again I am reminded of the sixties.  We surely have not achieved equality in the Greatest Nation.  I have not heard the statement "The First Asian American" or the "First Russian American"

Finally, he smiled and waved to the crowd, picking up a stuffed bear that a fan tossed on the ice. As he came to the other end of the rink, Davis found Wennemars waiting. The friendly rivals gave each other a big hug in front of the orange-clad, predominantly Dutch crowd, prompting the biggest cheer of the night.
    “I like him as a person, I like him as a speed skater,” Wennemars said. “What the United States thinks about him doesn’t matter because Shani is the Olympic champion, so he is right.”
    As the Netherlands', Erben Wennemars waited to congratulate Shani Davis his teammate Texan Chad Hedrick stated his delight only in the American who came in second to Shani. It’s not a coincidence that Hedrick and George Bush come for the same state. The same state that executes more Black men in this country. Still Shani is considered a selfish and self oriented non team member. The team didn’t rally around him, and as Shani stated they didn’t help him to become what he is today.
“Once Shani beat me, I didn’t care if I got a bronze,” he said. “I’m here to win. It’s all or nothing.” This is the statement from non selfish team oriented Hedrick.

 

 

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“I’m one of a kind,” Davis said, fully aware of how much he stands out in the mostly white sport. “I’m a different type of person. I have a different charisma. A lot of people don’t understand me.”

 



“I’m just very happy about my race,” Davis said. “More than anything, the things I trained for, I was right about.”