So much on the line; the bravest of spirit bundled into the slight yet powerful 4’8″ 104lbs frame shines brightly with hope and humanity. Ebony irises come to life in the brilliant circumferenced whites of Simone’s eyes. On July 27th, those eyes held back tears when she revealed that she would not compete in the Olympic gymnastics team competition due to her mental struggles. Simone Biles stood courageous in her transparency, just as Afro-Japanese Tennis Star Naomi Osaka did weeks earlier.
With many in support of Biles, there were also many misguided critics. One stridently abrasive comment stated:
“You’re representing your nation, you selfish sociopath,” You know who has the gold medal? Russia! I have to look at the 4’11” Olympians chewing on their gold medals, smirking at the Americans. I’m not okay with that!” right-wing podcaster Charlie Kirk,
“Elsewhere, Piers Morgan—the former British TV host who has repeatedly mocked Meghan Markle for saying she contemplated suicide and was a victim of racism—jumped at the chance to criticize Biles.” Justin Baragona Contributing Editor The Daily Beast
Updated Jul. 28, 2021 12:22AM ET
Unfair is the mantra “the black woman can take it.” Race-Based Chattel slavery served as a breeding ground of malcontent toward the black woman. They carried their newborns on their backs as they were required to continue to work in the fields. From Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsey, subjects of experimental gynecological surgeries without anesthesia, to 20th century Henrietta Lacks, unaware of exploitation of her body for medical research to produce the HeLa cells, to name a few.
“a black woman’s body was never hers alone” Fanny Lou Hamer.
The pressure load of racism ranges from low to extreme based on the exposure time, magnitude, and repeated exposures. The latter can come in small unintentional doses. When in this form, they define microaggressions.
To leave it all at the feet of black women would be a failure to see the impact of the Slow Burn. Black men and the entire spectrum of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) experience the Slow Burn. Racism is not skin deep; it permeates the subcutaneous layers to erode the body’s cellular structures.
Weathering is a term defining the long-term reaction of the body to stress. Further research has revealed that undeniable links to racism. They concur with many jurisdictions that have designated racism as a public health crisis.
Weathering interferes with the life replicating chromosomes of our body. Chromosome damage can promote disease and shorten the lifespans of those caught in this enigma. At the ends of our chromosomes are telomeres. Shorter telomeres are associated with an increase in chronic disease and shorter lifespans. African Americans at times experience shorter telomeres.
“An Auburn University-led study indicates that racism may result in tolls related to premature biological aging among African Americans. African Americans who reported more racial discrimination over a 10-year period showed signs of faster aging at the cellular level during the same time frame.”
COVID 19 has exposed intersections of health and racism. Patricia J Williams calls it Spirit Murder:
“First, spirit-murder sometimes takes the form of a threatening and intentional personal assault upon the person, self, self-image, safety, and worth of individual African Americans.
Second, spirit-murder is an ongoing, continual, and pervasive societal devaluation of the privacy, needs, rights, desires, ambitions, contributions, lives, and worthiness of African Americans collectively.”
By Patricia L. Williams in her book “The Alchemy of Race and Rights: The Diary of a Law Professor.”
“A healthy spirit conquers adversity, but what can you do when the spirit is crushed?” Proverbs 18:14 The Message
Simone Biles. Naomi Osaka and others deserve thanks for transparency concerning their struggles; the attacks they suffered may or may not be racially motivated. If they weren’t people of color, would the backlash exist? We must defeat any vain attempt to dim Imago Dei (Image of God) light of anyone.
By Kevin Robinson Founder, Editor/Publisher of Three-Fifths Magazine