They Called Gabby Douglas Their “Slave”

Credit: Ivan Nikolov/

It’s amazing that so often, the most talented people are bullied and ridiculed. Haters to the left, please. Most of us know Gabby as the totally adorable, yet hella strong, sixteen-year-old girl gymnast who became the first African American gymnast to win the gold for individual and the first American to win the gold for both individual and team.

This girl is a champion. Though the “hair controversy” was horrible, I had hoped this was the first time Gabby’s race had been an issue. Unfortunately, any person of color (including myself) knows that race will inevitably be an issue at certain points in your life. While it’s heartbreaking, it isn’t surprising that Gabby was subjected to racially-motivated bullying by some of her fellow gymnasts.

Gabby tells Oprah that some of her peers would refer to her as their “slave”. I don’t think there is an insult lower or more offensive (other than the “N-word”) that you could call someone who is African American. It’s no secret that gymnastics are super competitive, so maybe some insecure girls felt like they had to hurt Gabby because she is such a skilled athlete? Maybe they were envious and wanted to bring her down a notch for their own selfish reasons? But to sink so low, to make the issue about race, to alienate someone so much is just horrible.

Gabby ended up moving hundreds of miles away to train in Iowa because of the bullying. We all know it worked out. We all know that Gabby has the last laugh. We now know that she is not just physically strong, but strong in character for dealing with the issue, moving on, and coming out on top.

What do you think of Gabby’s bullying? Let us know in the comments!

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Next check out Gabby Douglas’ Hair: Black Is Beautiful Right?

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  • patricia edwards

    I think the bulling needs to end and we need to teach our children that each person is unique and we must respect other people even if they are different.

  • kristine

    congrats to gabby! i wish her all the luck in the world.she deserved to win the gold.just like the article said,she got the last laugh.he who laughs last laughs best!

  • Jaylah

    i think bullying is wrong but some people bully for reasons and i dont think it was necessary to move 1000 miles away and i am not being races but she didnt have to put in weave like that.I am biracial and my hair is fine

  • Chantelle

    *Iowa, not Idaho. There is a difference, believe me. πŸ™‚

  • BlueMoon

    It looks as though Gabby has given in to the pressure to relax her hair. If that’s what she wanted anyway, that’s fine, but I hope this wasn’t a reaction to the “hair controversy” you mentioned in the article. Her hair is beautiful either way- I hope she realizes that! πŸ˜›

    • bob

      i dont think she did it because of what people were saying, because lots of African American girls relax their hair just because in all honesty, straight hair is SO much easier to take care of and handle πŸ™‚

    • capacapa

      Her hair was relaxed before the whole hair controversy