It's about our community and our spirituality!

No Middle Ground


“BP: There is a middle ground between ‘Zero-to-Racism in 60 seconds’ and no racism at all. I think what I’m hearing too much of is the immediate assignment of this issue to the “racism” pile, all other issues, contradictions, evidence be damned.

I think that that kind of knee jerk response is unhealthy and leads, often, to inaccurate analysis. Making every issue a “black and white issue” while denying that gray exists is a part of the racism/white supremacy dynamic. As long as we can only see either/or, we will never be sophisticated enough to see nuance, like suffering, allies, etc. We pigeonhole ourselves, mentally, and thus can’t think our way out of our condition. And that’s just how the real racists want it.

There are a number of issues to untangle in this and many other issues. We need to develop the ability to reserve judgment, WHILE simultaneously being able to speculate and postulate…and allow others to do the same.”thefreeslave


Simply because there is a middle ground doesn’t mean that there are no extremes. And knee jerk reactions appear to be the natural human condition. It is hardly limited to issues of racism and discrimination. I’m beginning to understand that it applies to issues of gender as well.

I have heard no evidence to be damned, only people’s opinion on what or when a woman’s gender needs to be called into question. This all appears to be an exercise in the assassination of a single woman’s character and gender. When exactly did quality of voice become part of the standard of what identifies a woman? When did the size of a woman’s teats dictate the level of femininity? About what level of sound frequency is the measure that indicates someone’s gender as female or male? I’m curious to know what quality is it that makes Ms. Semenya more likely to be more male than female that does not apply to the other runners.

If we are going to say that this sister deserves extra examination then somebody please come up with a satisfactory answer as to why. She ran so much faster than the other women. But she didn’t break any track records. She simply ran so much faster than the other slow poking contestants. We know for a fact that at least one other certified female has run faster. So what gives? Some people are under the impression that she looks and acts like a man so that makes her manly so that means we need to question her gender. But that’s just straight up bullshit. The race is called the women’s 800 meter race, not the women with long hair, boobs, and female mannerisms 800 meter race.

Just like there is a middle ground for racism there is a middle ground for gender definitions as well. Caving into people’s knee jerk reaction that a woman cannot appear too manly, simply saying that she has to have a pleasantly high voice and/or hair long enough to run fingers through and/or other such stereotypically feminine paraphernalia does nothing to add clarity to this subject.

I for one think we should be able to discuss this issue openly without the need to disregard each other’s perspective with such contempt. However, the invitation to diverging opinions should not be limited just to the people who participate in this forum but to the brothers and sisters throughout the black community as well. The Afrospear was intended to be a discussion place for the people of African descent. With respect to that intent, I would like to think that we would extend that consideration to all people of African descent.

Brothers and sisters out doing their thing, being the best that they can be, representing the black community deserve the support of the black community. Instead of proudly standing by a sister competing at the top of her game, some of us want to keep her at arm’s length until she receives the approval of some agency that is well represented by the racially generic community predominantly controlled by white people. Instead of us embracing this young girl, too many of us are ready to jump on the she’s too manly to be female bandwagon. And we forget that there is a middle ground.

In fact, while many people of African descent are happy to remain oblivious to the happenings in this whole sordid ordeal, way too many of us are ready to jump on the wrong side of anything that resembles middle ground. We feel we have to protect the sanctity of femininity by challenging the authenticity of any woman that falls outside the middle ground of femaleness. Many of us are quick to wash our hands of this daughter of South Africa. Too many of us will wait until she receives an official stamp of approval.

I am willing to stick by this young lady through this ordeal. While others look at her and see nothing but her resemblance to a man, I look at her and see a young black woman who deserves to be praised. I am willing to give her the benefit of a doubt. And if the results from these official tests come back and the verdict is that she is more man than woman, I will remember that many aspects of these tests are very arbitrary with little solid proof of gender other than somebody’s opinion. If there’s a penis between this person’s legs then I might have to reconsider and admit that I have been duped. But until then, I will accept her and her family’s contention that she was raised as a girl and that she is a young female.

Granted she is an unusual female. She might be masculine, she might be androgynous, she might be a lesbian, she might be a female transvestite who likes to wear men’s clothing, she might be butch, she might be straight as an arrow and just not fit the classic definition of what constitutes a female. But what ever she considers herself, I will support this young black sister through all of this.


Sunday, August 30, 2009 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black Culture, Black People, Caster Semenya, Life, Racism, Thoughts


  1. My new mantra: “No Middle Ground!”

    Comment by asabagna | Sunday, August 30, 2009 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback asabagna,

    I consider that a compliment!


    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, August 30, 2009 | Reply

  3. In my opinion this issue of Ms. Semenya does not come from people with legitimate and sincere concerns. I fear that if we give too much conversation to this, that we will play right into the plots of those who don’t want to see a supper human female dominate and raise the level of competing in this sport beyound what they can achieve. Can you imagine interring an arenia with no hopes of winning?
    I am certain that Ms. Semenya had to persent documentation as to who she is (one being a birth certificate). But if a test can be created, then all female athelets should take it retroactively including those who are alive and no longer competing, with Ms. Samenya being the last one to take it.
    Come on now, she is a woman or he is a man, and since she is a woman,let it not be at issue. Let us not feed into this plot (in my opinion).
    I AM Akinwole

    Comment by akinwole | Thursday, September 3, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: