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Monday, August 24, 2009

Back on My Conservative Grind......2 Stories Of interest: She's a Man, Baby! and The Cleveland Show!

I've been holding back on my editorial as it relates to this next story simply because I didn't really see it as being prurient or controversial enough to warrant heavy discourse. But now, after perusing some of the blogs (and editorial sections of online newspapers) I'm beginning to notice the all too common inaccurate racial prism being used to analyze this particular issue. The above photo of South African athlete, Caster Semenya, might just reaffirm the old adage of a picture being worth a thousand words or more specifically, four-she's a man, baby! OK...I'm being facetious but is the young woman (?) in the above photo being questioned about her gender a racist assertion? Well, some believe that it is. For more definitive edification, check out this article, courtesy of the Associated Press:

BERLIN (AP) - The IAAF has asked the South African athletics federation to conduct a gender verification test on 800-meter runner Caster Semenya amid concerns she does not meet the requirements to compete as a woman.

The 18-year-old Semenya won the 800 final on Wednesday at the world championships in a world leading 1 minute, 55.45 seconds, beating defending champion Janeth Jepkosgei by a massive 2.45 seconds. Jennifer Meadows of Britain took bronze.

Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo was eliminated in qualifying.

The IAAF requested the gender test about three weeks ago, after Semenya burst onto the scene by slicing her personal bests in the 800 and 1,500 by huge margins.

IAAF spokesman Nick Davies stressed that "it's a medical issue, not an issue of cheating."

He said the "extremely complex, difficult" test has been started but that the results were not expected for weeks.

The verification test requires a physical medical evaluation, and includes reports from a gynecologist, endocrinologist, psychologist, an internal medicine specialist and an expert on gender.

"So we're talking about reports that are very long, very time consuming," Davies said.

South Africa team manager Phiwe Mlangeni-Tsholetsane would not confirm or deny that Semenya was having a gender test, but said "there was no cheating on our part."

"We entered Caster as a woman and we want to keep it that way," Mlangeni-Tsholetsane said. "Our conscience is clear in terms of Caster. We have no reservations at all about that."

Although medals will be awarded for the 800, the race remains under a cloud until the investigation is closed, and Semenya could be stripped of the gold depending on the test results, IAAF general secretary Pierre Weiss said.

"If at the end of the investigation it is proven that the athlete is not female, we will withdraw the medal," Weiss said. "But today there is no proof and the benefit of doubt must always be in favor of the athlete."

Semenya qualified for Wednesday's final with a top time of 1 minute, 58.64 seconds, and posted the world's top time this year of 1:56.72 three weeks ago at the African junior championships in Bambous, Mauritius.

And as I alluded to in my aforementioned diatribe, a racial spin has begun to develop. Here's a snippet from SportsScientists.com:

"This is about racism," Chuene said. "These rumours come from South Africa. Why did these people write to the IAAF?

These are the same people who don't want the 2010 World Cup, the same people who bring black people down and the same people who refuse to believe that Africans can make it on the world stage."

You might think this is random statement made in the heat of the moment. But then you discover that this is a statement made by the President of Athletics South Africa, Leonard Cheune. And he is not alone. The Young Communist League here in South Africa said:

""This smacks of racism of the highest order. It represents a mentality of conforming feminine outlook within the white race,"

My response? In the world of athletics we have seen all types of attempts to gain a strategic edge amongst competitors. Would it really be shocking to hear that this person took male hormones or possessed some sort of chromosomal peculiarity? Again, the picture can not be ignored. But what say you? Am I being judgmental or just trusting my sight? And lastly, we didn't get a chance to discuss The Cleveland Show on last night's Afronerd Radio but progressive blogger, Field Negro provided his take of the GQ magazine article that posited Cleveland as being akin to animated minstrelsy. That might be a valid assertion being that some of the voice acting (excluding Sanaa Lathan's character) is being done by White thespians but the question remains....would a truly Black helmed animated (or otherwise) effort be any less coonish? I can't answer that....but perhaps our loyal readers can. Here's a trailer:

And here's Mike Henry, the voice actor portraying Cleveland:

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