Even as Simone Manuel Makes Olympic History, Racism Reduces Her to a Side Note

Simone manuel makes historyYou'd think making history would be enough to capture a headline and enjoy a moment of well-deserved glory. But even as Simone Manuel became the first black American female swimmer to win an Olympic gold medal, racism and ignorance reared their ugly heads once again. Shortly after Manuel's historic victory in the pool, the San Jose Mercury News all but relegated the Olympian to a footnote

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The publication tweeted: "Olympics: Michael Phelps shares historic night with African-American." Are you shaking your head in disgust and disbelief? We are too. Of course, Phelps is amazing, but c'mon -- this guy has enough gold now to open his own jewelry store! Let's focus on barriers being broken and celebrate history in the making. 

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While the paper has since apologized and, rightly, amended its headline, we still have to wonder how anyone could've let that fly in the first place?

What Manuel has accomplished will hopefully go a long way to correct decades of ignorance and misconceptions regarding the abilities of the black community when it comes to swimming.  

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Manuel is a champion whose victory should dispel this ugly rhetoric, which is something the champion addressed in an interview:

The title 'black swimmer' makes it seem like I'm not supposed to be able to win a gold medal or I'm not supposed to be able to break records. That's not true because I work just as hard as anybody else and I love the sport and I want to win just like everybody else.

You go, Simone! (Seriously, after these Olympic games, how many babies will be named 'Simone' as a tribute to the strength and prowess of these powerful athletes? We'd have to imagine plenty!)

Let's recognize and honor this young woman for the awe-inspiring role model and history-maker she is. Simone Manuel deserves nothing less. 



Image via Clive Rose/Getty Images

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