Fit is a Feminist Issue Link Round Up #105: Black Women Athletes and the Olympics


The Olympics is starting to look like it has a thing against Black women competing. I wrote that back when there were just a few of these issues and now there are more I want to add, “You think?”

See The Olympics Continues to Prevent Top Black Athletes From Competing for an analysis of the issues and a list of the athletes involved.

See also The Olympics Don’t Want Black Women To Win. Taryn Finley writes, “Sha’Carri Richardson, Christine Mboma, Beatrice Masilingi and others have been disqualified in the 2021 Olympics because of policies that are racist and unjust. There is no grace for for Black women at the 2021 Olympics.”

And then there’s this tweet which also lists the issues.

I know that some people want to say that these issues have nothing in common, that it’s not about race, it’s about rules that don’t mention race, but one thing all the cases have in common is that they target Black women Olympic athletes.

Ditto the swim cap story. There’s a lot of commentary that says competitive athletes would never wear such a swim cap since it would slow them down. Maybe that’s true. But if it puts someone at a competitive disadvantage, it’s hard to see why they’d be banned at the Olympics. It’s hard not to reach the conclusion that race is a factor and that the normative ideal of the Olympic athlete is white, in addition to being conventionally gendered.

Here are some of the relevant links:

Blocked From Her Signature Race, Caster Semenya Won’t Run in Tokyo

Clock ticking on Caster Semenya’s Olympic Career

Namibia teenagers out of Olympic 400m over high natural testosterone levels

Sha’Carri Richardson, a Track Sensation, Tests Positive for Mari

With 3 Short Words, Sha’Carri Richardson Just Taught an Incredible Lesson in Emotional Intelligence

Athletes will not be allowed to wear swim caps created for natural hair while competing in the coming Olympics

Soul Cap: Afro swim cap Olympic rejection

Swimming caps for natural black hair ruled out of Olympic Games

You might also want to read some of the past posts about Caster Semenya from Fit is a Feminist Issue:

Sexism, racism, and fear of successful women: the future of women in sport and the Caster Semenya decision

Women, sport and sex tests: Why Caster Semenya matters a great deal

Semenya’s future as champion in doubt

Link Roundup: Caster Semenya and the IAAF decision

And finally a few more words from Twitter.



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