On Caster Semenya

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I've been hearing a lot about teen wunderkind Caster Semenya from South Africa, and I've checked out the videos, the pictures, the birth certificate, the nanny who said they changed her - and who says without a doubt that she's most definitely a girl - and I do have to question whether or not some piece of this inquisition is in fact due to race, not necessarily on a personal level, but in a global sense, the way rich countries try and control poorer countries - making every effort to try and keep them in their place, because invariably, for someone to move up, someone else needs to step down (or at least that's what we've sometimes been taught on an implicit level).

I like this quote by Leonard Chuene who's head of South African athletics:

"If gender tests have to take place, they should have been done quietly. It is a taboo subject. How can a girl live with this stigma? By going public on the tests, the IAAF has let down this young child, and I will fight tooth and nail to protect her."

Describing the speculation about Semenya's gender as "racist", he added: "Who are white people to question the makeup of an African girl?

"I say this is racism, pure and simple. In Africa, as in any other country, parents look at new babies and can see straight away whether to raise them as a boy or a girl. We are now being told that it is not so simple. But the people who question these things have no idea how much shame such a slur can bring on a family.

"They are doubting the parents of this child and questioning the way they brought her up. God has his say on what people are. He made us all. A young girl has no input as she enters the world on what she will look like. It is outrageous for people from other countries to tell us 'We want to take her to a laboratory because we don't like her nose, or her figure.'"
Well said.

Caster Semenya - keep your head up.