As a Christian minister I deal with a diversity of cultures because the grace of God is colorblind; however, there comes those moments when I have to stand up with a sense of pride as I see a fellow African American accomplish something noteworthy. Then there are those moments in which I have to speak out because a fellow African American has done something to feed the negative stereotypes that we find ourselves battling on a daily basis.

On this occasion I find myself doing both. First I would like to congratulate Gabrielle (Gabby) Douglas for an awesome accomplishment in becoming the first African American gymnast to win the Women’s All Around God Medal in the Olympics. I would be proud regardless, as I was when Nastia Liukin, Carley Patterson, and Mary Lou Retton won this illusive title; however, there is a heightened sense of pride understanding the challenges that the lack of popularity for women’s gymnastics in the black community creates. When the personal sacrifices that were made are considered in conjunction with the fact that not many gave her much of a chance, it creates a great appreciation for what she has accomplished.

Second, I have to say that I am totally dumbfounded by the ignorance at which some, mainly African Americans, have found reason to be assaultive toward this young lady. With all of her sacrifices, with the class in which she has embraced success, and most of all, the honor she has given our Lord and Savior without fail, there are those that decided to attack her hair. Are you kidding me? This young lady has represented our country, our race, and our faith, with impeccable integrity and poise and what do those whom she represents do, they find fault in and publicly ridicule her hair. How about having the character to put the pettiness aside and show class and reserve. It would be nice to see everyone become unified in the moment.

Are so many of you so miserable that the only refuge you have is to attack those that have the courage to rise above all that has held you back? Maybe it is the detachment from the reality of there being a world outside of that miserable life you perpetuate daily. Whatever the rationale you are using to rail at a young lady that is setting an example to be admired, I encourage you to consider the way this reflects on yourself and the rest of our race. I am calling you to rise to a higher standard. Follow the example of the very one you are bashing and you will learn a great deal.

Gabby has had to make numerous sacrifices and overcome many obstacles to place herself in the position she is in now. She has not rendered excuses when she has failed, she only pressed harder and intensified her focus. Hearing all that the naysayers had to say and yet she pressed on anyway. Take a page from this book of life as your read it through Gabby. You don’t overcome evil with evil, you overcome evil by doing good.




Dr. Rick Yvette Wallace