A discussion of racism in the gymnastics world

Geoffrey Taucer

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NOTE: I've moved a bunch of posts from other threads into this one to try to keep other threads on topic while still allowing a place for this discussion to continue. But let the records show that most of these posts were pulled from another thread, that this thread was started by me after the fact, so some of the discussion on this first page may appear a bit disjointed.
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[mod hat on]

Lately, the topic of racism in the world of gymnastics has come up in several threads. I think this is a subject which deserves dedicated discussion, and thus deserves its own thread. Before the discussion begins, I want to lay out a few things to keep in mind up front:

1) The broad social issue of racism touches on many different hot-button political issues. We generally try to shy away from discussion of politics here on CB, but in this case that may not be entirely possible. This being the case, we are slightly relaxing the no-politics rules for this thread.
2) We recognize that racism is a broad social issue, one in which the big-picture patterns are just as important as individual events; because of this, trying to confine the discussion within a narrow window can exclude details that are important to a meaningful discussion. This being the case, we will not be enforcing a hard-and-fast rule against exploration of broader issues, but to the extent possible we request you keep the discussion at least somewhat gymnastics-related.

And a few hard rules:
1) Keep it civil. If you find something in this thread offensive, you are allowed and even encouraged to talk about what you found offensive and why, but please try to do so in a way that leads to productive discussion, rather than mere escalation of insults.
(Corollary, and this is more suggestion than rule: if somebody tells you something you said was offensive, your first reaction should be to try to understand why it was offensive, not to explain why it wasn't)
2) What happens in this thread stays within this thread. If there are discussions in other threads that intersect with the topic of race in gymnastics, you are welcome to quote the necessary posts and respond here, and drop a link in the other thread, but you ARE NOT welcome to take posts from this thread and bring them up elsewhere.
3) Any slurs or other bigoted language will result in a ban. Hopefully this goes without saying.

We may add more to this post if we deem it necessary.
 
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Geoffrey Taucer

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[mod hat off]

A personal thought that I want to add to the above, but which is not any sort of discussion rule or guideline:

It is important to remember that everybody's perspective is unique, and that everybody's perspective is incomplete. To put it in more concrete terms: if you have not personally seen or experienced racism, that is does not mean other people haven't. Personal experience is not a counterargument to broader statistical patterns, and broad statistical patterns are not counterarguments to personal experience.
 

Ty’s Dad

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Just a question and I maybe wrong but it’s just a question, because I really don’t remember. In 2016 when Maykala Skinner posted those racist tweets about Gabby and reposting the “N” word was people in here emailing to complain?
 
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Lucia

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Just a question and I maybe wrong but it’s just a question, because I really don’t remember. In 2016 when Maykala Skinner posted those racist tweets about Gabby and reposting the “N” word was people in here emailing to complain?
I only recently learned about this because I paying attention to gymnastics at that time. But I want to say I hear you, and find it so wrong and upsetting.
 

bogwoppit

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Just a question and I maybe wrong but it’s just a question, because I really don’t remember. In 2016 when Maykala Skinner posted those racist tweets about Gabby and reposting the “N” word was people in here emailing to complain?


Yes, they were. It was all over the gym forums and it is being discussed still. It is the reason many dislike her intensely.

Just google Mykayla Skinner racist, and you will find lots of details.

Not so much here, because in 2016/2017 we were really focussed on non elite gymnastics. Most of us interested in elite were on other fora that focussed on that. GGMB, WWGym, International gymnastics. But they were generally member only sites, and two of them lost their archives.

I know for sure people complained to USAG about her tweets.
 
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D

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The only thing worse than a racist is a hateful mob of "woke" netizens who have zero capacity for forgiveness.
 
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bogwoppit

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The only thing worse than a racist is a hateful mob of "woke" netizens who have zero capacity for forgiveness.

Yes, the internet is definitely a place where strong feelings can take off in incredible ways. People feed off each other, and opinions intensify. This goes for racist sentiments, anti-racist sentiments, and everything in between.

I think forgiveness usually follows an apology.
 
D

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I think forgiveness usually follows an apology.
Problem is, it doesn't. Forgiveness NEVER occurs from these people. They've proven it time and again, even towards "their own." In this toxic cesspool of a society, any apology would do nothing but make things worse for her. She's smart to leave the whole thing in the past and move forward.

Can't expect much from people who hijack a thread about Riley being abused to be about this.
 

Ty’s Dad

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Problem is, it doesn't. Forgiveness NEVER occurs from these people. They've proven it time and again, even towards "their own." In this toxic cesspool of a society, any apology would do nothing but make things worse for her. She's smart to leave the whole thing in the past and move forward.

Can't expect much from people who hijack a thread about Riley being abused to be about this.
Easy, I’m seeing if it was the same energy on both sides.
 

Ty’s Dad

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I’m not sure how MyKayla’s comments four years ago have any bearing on this situation, but the outrage at MyKayla’s comments is still very much present four years later. The difference for me is that MyKayla was a teenager when she made the comments four years ago. She has since apologized, and her behavior now compared to four years ago appears to be someone who has matured and grown. She will probably always take flack for it, and that’s a hard learned lesson that actions sometimes have lasting consequences.

This is a grown woman who is holding what is supposed to be an unbiased position in a organization that is calling out and harassing an emotional abuse victim in a post Nasser era. Teenagers do and say stupid things often without fully realizing the weight or impact of their actions. An adult woman should know better. You shouldn’t have someone in a position of authority over athletes (which as a judge giving out scores, I think it can be viewed as such) that has harassed a victim on a public platform.
I just really asked a question because in this group people pick and choose who they defend. Also she was 20 that’s grown in my book, but you’re right an apology wipes out everything
 

Jamie1999

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This is the first I am hearing about Mykayla apologizing for the 2016 situation. All I remember is a rather noncommittal tweet that most of the gymternet took issue with. And there have been lots of opportunities for her to really address it. Then when you take her father’s awful comments about people like Brooklyn Moors into account, you can’t blame people for wanting nothing to do with her. Still, she’s currently very popular, especially with the 4-year fans. Mention anything remotely negative and people pop up to suggest you’re ridiculous for not choosing to forget such offensive behavior from an adult. More power to her, I suppose.
 
D

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Pot, kettle, etc
Wow, how can you possibly manage to be an admin? And not be able to see very clearly who hijacked the thread. Who brought MyKayla and her supposed racism into a thread about Riley? Hint - it wasn't me.
 

GYM0M

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Really appreciate it, but this topic is very touchy and even with the best intentions it can evoke strong emotions.
You’re absolutely correct, but it’s far time to start having the hard conversations. Not everyone will hear the message, but if one person listens and commits to spreading and then one person hears them and so on and so forth, we might see some change, but it has to start somewhere.
I don’t typically speak about my personal opinions on social issues mostly because of the ‘woke’ mob. I feel like you cannot align with them on certain issues and disagree on others. It’s made out to be an all or nothing thing.
 

Ty’s Dad

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You’re absolutely correct, but it’s far time to start having the hard conversations. Not everyone will hear the message, but if one person listens and commits to spreading and then one person hears them and so on and so forth, we might see some change, but it has to start somewhere.
I don’t typically speak about my personal opinions on social issues mostly because of the ‘woke’ mob. I feel like you cannot align with them on certain issues and disagree on others. It’s made out to be an all or nothing thing.
That’s the second time someone said “woke mob”. What is the context to that saying?
 

GYM0M

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That’s the second time someone said “woke mob”. What is the context to that saying?
I mean the social media warriors. The ones who will bash you from one side to the other if your opinion differs from theirs. As an example, i consider the ‘woke’ mob to be those that if you were to disagree with their opinion of sexism in the workplace, you must be a racist because you can’t feel one way about a social issue and then take the opposition on another. I feel like more progress could be made on certain individual social issues if they weren’t grouped together under a blanket cause.
 

Ty’s Dad

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I mean the social media warriors. The ones who will bash you from one side to the other if your opinion differs from theirs. As an example, i consider the ‘woke’ mob to be those that if you were to disagree with their opinion of sexism in the workplace, you must be a racist because you can’t feel one way about a social issue and then take the opposition on another. I feel like more progress could be made on certain individual social issues if they weren’t grouped together under a blanket cause.
I’m not clear on the sexism and racism distinction. I do think there’s a difference between bashing, which is often subjective and accountability. Racism and sexism exists in many forms explicit and not and often the dialogue can become personal losing sight of the issues all together. It’s not enough to “not be a racist” when there’s so much anti-racism work to be done to transform deeply entrenched systems and harm.