Tag Archives: humility
August 21, 2008 I’m not sure how comfortable I am with a white guy telling Usain Bolt to have ‘more respect’
So I’m no expert, but I watched Usain Bolt’s 200m race today. Fucking sensational. The man was victorious, yes, there was dancing, revelling, gesturing, “I am number one” into the camera that sort of thing. I read it as utter joy.
Then I look at the SMH and see the IOC Chief Jacques Rogge is telling the media that Bolt is a great athlete, yes, but needs to “learn to show more respect”. I don’t think he was disrespectful at all, victorious, yes, and “Hell YEAH I’m awesome” – but he is. Fuck, did you SEE HIM???
And I don’t like the message it sends when a white dude, the head of the IOC comes out telling the world that Bolt ought not to enjoy his victory quite so much, that he should have performed humility better, that he ought to “show more respect”. I’m just not sure why he felt it necessary to say this at all, or in a public way rather than in person to Bolt if he thought it was that necessary. Have there been similar remarks to the male white swimmers known for their “Grrrrr! Gonna EAT YA in my victory, could smash ya HEAD IN if I wanted to?” poses and posturing? What makes Bolt’s behaviour so different that it warranted a public wrist smack? It just reeks from where I’m sitting of idiotic white paternalism and insensitivity.
I don’t like the message it sends today to tell children of colour – any children – that a black athlete in their moment of glory ought to show the level of humility judged appropriate by old white dudes.