Racism and white supremacy have long been embedded in elite sports programs around the world.
But the recent wave of racist Olympic committee rulings have put a spotlight on the dehumanizing way sports officials specifically scrutinize and penalize Black women athletes.
Days after Alice Dearing became the first Black woman swimmer set to represent Great Britain at the Olympics, the International Swimming Federation refused to approve swim caps made for natural Black hair. The ruling put up yet another barrier for Black athletes -- particularly women -- to compete in a sport that is already designed to be a predominately white space.
Namibian sprinters Christine Mboma and Beatrice Masilingi, two of the fastest women in the world, were banned from a race because their natural testosterone levels are higher than the arbitrary levels set for women by World Athletics. The same rule was used to stop South African champion Caster Semenya in 2018.
And the US Anti-Doping Agency banned US superstar sprinter Sha’Carri Richardson from competing in the 100-meter dash after she used marijuana to help cope with her biological mother’s sudden death. From the callous way a reporter informed Sha’Carri of her biological mom’s death to the lack of empathy shown by Olympic officials, her treatment has become yet another example of a Black woman athlete being penalized simply for being human.
Until the elite Olympic governing bodies stop dehumanizing and unfairly punishing Black women athletes, the games will never be the symbol of hope and unity that they are supposed to be.
Sign the petition to demand that the International Olympic Committee, World Anti-Doping Agency, International Swimming Federation, and World Athletics change their racist and misogynist policies.