In an earlier post, 7 Predictable Ways That The Media Portrays Black Olympic Athletes, I commented on some of Costas’ (and other media personalities and venues) gross and White privilege-slathered commentary. Apparently, he is not finished.
Last night, Costas commented on Serena’s big win and her medal ceremony. During the ceremony, the American flag flew off of its hoist. Serena commented that perhaps the flag was flying towards her to hug her, being as happy as she was. That’s personification used in good spirit and patriotism. If a White athlete had said this, it would be applauded or deemed patriotic.
However, Costas, in his usual condescension towards Black athletes, commented: “or at least as happy as a piece of cloth can be.” So…when a Black athlete speaks of the American flag, it’s all of a sudden meaningless, and a “piece of cloth?” Just cloth? Yet purposely dropping it is considered disrespectful and burning it is a crime?
At the end of the day, no matter what service Black people provide to this country, we are deemed incapable of patriotism and rarely considered patriots as we will always be the “other.” Prior to this, I NEVER heard any White American refer to the American flag as a “piece of cloth.” I am sure if Costas did this in a conversation connected to a White athlete or just in conversation itself, it would be considered incredibly disrespectful. The irony is that when a Black person chooses to not be patriotic, they are deemed an “other” anyway, and called ungrateful among other insults—ones that usually ignore the context of the hard path it is for a minority to feel patriotism in the first place.
I also heard about Gabby Douglas’ wardrobe being considered unpatriotic by some Fox commentators despite the fact that her White and multiracial teammates wore exactly the same thing. This is how White privilege works. Disgusting. Disheartening. But as always…predictable. Bigots are many things but clever is not one of them.