Racism, White Tears Score Higher Than Black Lives for UCLA Gymnastics

by Shine My Crown Staff
Voiced by Amazon Polly

It’s January, a time when organizations, politicians and individuals who hated Dr. Martin Luther King when he was alive partake in fake “wokeness” by invoking his words. So, it’s only fitting that the UCLA gymnastics team’s IG account would follow suit.  

At UCLA, former freshman gymnast Alexis Jeffrey was using racial slurs against both Black and Asian people. Despite her fellow teammates expressing their offense to her, she continued. Realizing that their teammate obviously didn’t care about their feelings or warnings, they alerted their coaches. However, rather than confronting and penalizing the student for her derogatory language, the coaches told the young women that they needed to embrace her and be more supportive of her because she threatened to harm herself if she were to get in trouble.

Ultimately, rather than face consequences, which seemed unlikely based upon the coach’s response to the incident, the offending gymnast put in a transfer to LSU. Afterward the gymnasts who stood up against racism were told not to speak about the situation to the NCAA.

Then, during a recent meet in support of Black Lives Matter where the gymnasts wore BLM emblazoned leotards, the UCLA IG account posted a photo with the Martin Luther King Jr. quote, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

To date, the information has been gathered in bits and pieces from various Twitter accounts, as well as a full video post by comedian and actress Amanda Seales on her IG account. That the information is hard to come by, yet consistent across sources says a lot in and of itself.

Nevertheless, with what we do know about the story, the issues abound.

White Women’s Tears

Far too often people are allowed to be racist, even to the point of violence, and people remain silent.

In this case, the UCLA gymnasts who refused to remain silent were shut down and silenced by school officials. That the coaches would side with the racist student and encourage her teammates to “embrace her” as a solution is a problem.

Another problem is the offending gymnast threatening to harm herself if she was punished. Threatening self-harm to avoid taking responsibility for their racism feels more like a power move employed by the privileged via their racialization as white, as opposed to an actual cry for help due to mental health issues. This is harmful to those who actually inflict self-harm for various reasons not linked to fear of punishment for being the perpetrators of racist assaults.

Complementing this tactic is the added privilege of a white woman’s tears.  

The strategy of weaponized sadness used by white women is not a new phenomenon. It’s one strategically used to portray themselves as the victim in a conflict situation to vilify others involved.

This is exactly what has happened at UCLA.

Continue reading over at First and Pen.

This content has been brought to you by First and Pen in partnership with TheHub.News. First and Pen — “Informing, inspiring and connecting through voices of color in sports.”

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