I’m not hater but growing up in the hood I can tell when someone has been sipping a little “hateration”. I get it Shalane’s victory was a victory for the USA it was victory for women. I was genuinely happy for her and I still share her enthusiastic “Fu@k Yeah” as she crossed the finish line in Central Park. I even wrote a song about it and shared it online because it was a note worthy performance.
So imagine my surprise reading a recent tweet from Shalane “The narrative I was told growing up was that, “East Africans are better than you and you can’t beat them.” I refused to believe that and wrote my own story.” The tweet was in response WBZ Boston News “For decades, there was the notion American women couldn’t win a US marathon. Shalane Flanagan and Des Linden changed that.
What I’m not a fan of is the commentary from the announcers. I don’t know who would tell you something like that but, I don’t think it’s far fetched. I can recall being in school and teachers treating me with disdain as if I were an interruption in their day.
I got the idea that some teachers were just working in the inner cities collecting a check because they couldn’t get a job in the suburbs.
Little brown & black girls & boys are made to feel as if they aren’t smart enough and the only way you’re going to make it out the hood is through hoops or the pole-unless you’re exposed to better you don’t know you have options.
Shalane started this marathon called life miles ahead of the pack with less baggage, better equipment and more resources at her disposal. I find it laughable that she would make it seem as though she had huge obstacles to overcome where she was told she wasn’t good enough but through grit and determination she overcame insurmountable odds to victory.
I like to boil stuff down to the essence it’s not that American women couldn’t win a US Marathon IMO it was American White women and I don’t think it really had to do with them winning, it was more about them loosing to black women from another country with less resources at their disposal who obviously in their view don’t represent this all American runner. Shalane won one NYC Marathon and talks about it all the time. Meanwhile Mary Keitany has 3 consecutive victories and not including her recent dominant performance. Mary has children and is older but, I don’t think I’ve seen a tweet or heard a peep from Mary bragging or boasting about a single victory.
African athletes wins are minimized to genes as to the reason for their victories discounting all their hard work. The voices which Shalane heard were probably from ole white dudes who didn’t even want women competing in road races in the first place; the same ole white dudes that forcible tried to remove Kathrine Switzer off the course.
Lindsay Crouse, a 2:57 marathoner who coined the term the “Shalane Flanagan Effect:” A model for female leadership in which you serve “as a rocket booster for the careers of the women who work alongside you, while catapulting yourself forward.” Lindsay would have you believe that Shalane victory has changed the face of the sport the but, the stats according to IAAF would say otherwise, as of April 2, 2019 Shalane is ranked 38th.
Des Linden victory in Boston speaks to leadership grit and determination, the willingness to sacrifice her own race to check in Shalane and then go on to victory. But, Des doesn’t have that “All America” girl look. We are so enamored with optics; leave it to marketers to ruin everything.
We perpetuate these stories and myths as if their facts, creating another story which in this case is a fairytale.
The face of running is changing and that change is long over due. The emergence of running crews is evidence of a change that is sweeping across the world. It’s not about white or black it’s about inclusion. It’s not about your finishing time body type or shape, it’s about pursuing a healthy lifestyle.
To trot Shalane out as a champion as if she was suppressed and told she couldn’t win is a slap in the face to everyone who faces real life obstacles. Blonde blue eyed white women are not being held back from opportunities in this world.
Don’t use “East Africans” as your motivation your anger should be directed at your coaches for instilling that thought in your mind in the first place but, hey you won.
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