The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan writes in A Torchlight for America: “There seems to be a practice of identifying young, brilliant black children, particularlyBlack boys, and casting in their minds suggestions that stagnate their development and kill their upward movement.” Gabrielle Douglas gave an interview after the Olympics to Vanity Fair magazine. In this interview she stated that she felt isolated and was made the butt of “racist jokes” while training in Virginia before moving to Iowa to be coached by her mentor Liang Chow. She felt bullied by the other White girls in the program to the point that she was afraid to show off more of her skill. Gabrielle had been training as a gymnast since she was six years old. Starting in 2004, when she was eight, Gabrielle mostly trained at Excalibur Gymnastics in Virginia Beach, a well-regarded program that has produced 10 members of the U.S. national team since 1995. Her mother soon began working nights so she could home-school Gabrielle, in large part because a gymnast’s daily training regimen makes going to regular school impossible.
Through all of the physical and emotional stress of such intensive training, Gabrielle still blossomed until 2009. Gabrielle said that some of her fellow White gymnasts had made fun of her appearance but when an Excalibur staff member suggested to her that she might want to get a “nose job,” that was a severe blow to her self-esteem. But Gabrielle did not quit. She became determined to train at Chow’s gym, in West Des Moines, Iowa. “I’ve got to get a coach I can believe in, and who believes in me,” she told her mother. Gabrielle said that her mother told her to “suck it up,” to which Gabrielle asked, “If this was happening to you, how well would you suck it up?” Her mother was then moved to make it possible for Gabrielle to move to Iowa to train under Chow. What would have happened to Gabrielle if she were not so persistent and her mother were not so caring? [READ MORE]