The Post Game Show

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ignorance is bliss...

Juashaunna Kelly's track season is over. And it's just a small sample of how bass ackwards this country's morals and priorities really are. Young Miss Kelly of Theodore Roosevelt high, and one of the top track & field stars in the metro Washington, D.C. area, was disqualified earlier this month because of her uniform, one that adheres to the Muslim faith of only a woman's face and hands being visible. What's mind boggling about it is...she's worn the same outfit (with her school colors in tact, mind you) for three years, and the bright minds at this particular Montgomery County, MD indoor meet saw fit to disqualify her from said meet, where college recruiters and coaches congregate. So this young lady's chance at a college scholarship may be gone. All because of some closed-minded Team America assclowns.

It just boggles the mind and boils the blood that a country allegedly founded on freedom to practice certain religions and lyrics in the Nation Anthem supposedly nod to this place being "the land of the free," can practice such ignorance on a regular basis. While the previous statement is absolutely nothing new, I just felt compelled to speak on it because we have to ask ourselves "where are we really living? Is this the way it's supposed to be? Why do we allow these types of things to happen?"

No one can convince me that none of the geniuses at that meet realized the young lady was Muslim and that her outfit was NOT something she was using to gain an unfair advantage over her competition or something she created for style and flavor; this is her belief, this is her religion, her spiritual and religious uniform and code, and she is wearing it as respect to her creator, nothing more, nothing less.

Yet, after 9-11, the entire Muslim/Islamic religion has come under fire because of a few loony-tune radicals that make a seriously peaceful and intriguing way of worship look like the sparkplug for the final Apocalyptic fire. And the ignorance that the majority in this country thrives off of is on full display whenever the subject is broached. And it's annoying as hell.

I wonder how many Native Americans feel threatened whenever a white person walks into a room. After all, the colonization of America wasn't exactly, "hey, white folk, come use our land, and we'll gladly move onto these small patches of the land and call 'em reservations." I know Jam has touched on how old white men make her nervous. But clearly, white folks reserve the inalienable right to be fearful and afraid of others who threaten their way of life, although they've been threatening the way of the world for a good 2000 years or so.

So while the solution for ignorance is clearly a long way away, I hope Juashaunna Kelly eventually becomes her time's Jackie Joyner Kersee or even a doctor, lawyer, teacher, or whatever she wants to be. However, if she is denied that opportunity because of the shakeout from this situation, then, to take a well-worn and still humorous comedic phrase, "the real terrorists have won."


  • At 9:15 AM, Blogger jameil1922 said…

    i thought she got fitted for a track suit that adhered to her religion and was also suitable for wherever she competes.

  • At 3:50 PM, Blogger La said…

    I hadn't followed up on this story in a min. But I get tired of even the most basic thing being villafied all for the agenda of the government and their "war on terror". Bah.

  • At 7:47 PM, Blogger CNEL said…

    I think it's absurd too. They should have to make accomodations for folks, not force them to conform.

  • At 1:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    During the weeks following the January 12 Montgomery Invitational Indoor Track Championships in Largo, Maryland, there were articles relating to the supposed disqualification of a Muslim athlete being posted on both the major and local news media sources as well as on numerous blog sites. These articles, released through the AP by the Washington Post, were full of inconsistencies and inaccuracies and fueled a firestorm of religious discrimination debates, resulting in threats and volumes of hate mail directed at the meet director and officials.
    In this January 30 newspaper article, the track officials have finally been allowed to tell their side of the story. I hope you will post this so that they too will have a chance to be heard. Thank you.
    Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008 GAZETTE.NET
    Officials: Religion not issue in runner’s exclusion
    Incident involving the color of a Muslim girl’s uniform ‘has
    been blown out of proportion,’ District administrator says
    by Chay Rao and Stephanie Siegel | Staff Writers
    Montgomery school officials recently came under fire for being insensitive and even racist after a Muslim girl was told she could not participate in a county track meet because of her uniform, which covered her head, arms and legs in accordance with Muslim customs.
    But according to Montgomery County Public Schools officials, religion had nothing to do with the ruling made by an event referee and MCPS employees had no authority to overrule the decision.
    ‘‘This has been a colossal misunderstanding,” said Kate Harrison, MCPS spokeswoman.
    Juashuanna Kelly, a senior at Theodore Roosevelt High School in Washington, was told she could not run in the Jan. 12 Montgomery Invitational indoor track and field meet because the garment she wore did not conform to color standards. Kelly, who is Muslim, was wearing a half-blue and half-orange unitard and head covering under her track uniform.
    National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Indoor Track and Field guidelines state that a runner must wear a single-colored tracksuit under a school jersey — a rule to help identify runners at the finish line in case of close finishes.
    ‘‘The uniform rules are clearly stated within the rule book. ... If she had worn a solid color, she would have been fine. It was something that could have been avoided early on,” said Becky Oakes, assistant director of NFHS. ‘‘No one wants the athlete DQ’d.”
    Kelly, who had worn the special uniform to other meets, including the Montgomery Invitational last year, had been granted a waiver for meets in Washington, according to Allen Chin, director of athletics for District of Columbia Public Schools.
    ‘‘I feel sorry for the young girl, but frankly, this is something that has been blown out of proportion,” Chin said.
    After being told she could participate if she wore a single-colored, long-sleeved T-shirt over the unitard, Kelly and her coach, Tony Bowden, decided to withdraw from the race, Harrison said. Kelly was not disqualified, according to Harrison.
    ‘‘Religion had no factor in the decision over whether she could participate,” she said.
    Bo Meyers, a hired official who is qualified as a ‘‘master referee” by USA Track and Field, the national governing body for track and field sports, made the ruling, Harrison said.
    Oakes said Kelly had time to make a change if she wanted. ‘‘Everything was handled properly by meet officials according to the rules,” she said.
    However, for many in the Muslim community, barring Kelly from the meet because of the colors of her unitard was the wrong decision.
    ‘‘The people who made this decision were very insensitive,” said Rashid Makhdoom, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Muslim Council, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting Muslim interests and involvement in the county. ‘‘I think there should be some sensitivity training. There is some feeling that there might be some kind of race [discrimination] involved.”
    Harrison said training to make employees aware of cultural and religious differences is already required for school system employees; however, Meyers and other athletic officials are not considered MCPS employees.
    One MCPS employee who was criticized for the decision was meet director Tom Rogers, a track and field coach at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda. Rogers was blamed by some for upholding the decision not to let Kelly participate.
    ‘‘There has been an enormous barrage of angry and even threatening letters,” Harrison said.
    But it was never Rogers’ role to say who was allowed to compete, she said.
    ‘‘His role was as an administrator, to take care of the business aspects,” Harrison said.
    Rogers was in charge of making sure the track and equipment was ready, sending out the invitations and hiring the officials, among other duties.
    Makhdoom believes an exception could have been made for Kelly.
    ‘‘She has sacrificed quite a bit of her religious beliefs and compromised to participate,” he said.
    ‘‘Our religious beliefs are such that women, especially, are not supposed to show the body. I would call it a compromise,” he said of the garment Kelly wore. While it covered her skin, it was still tighter than clothes traditional Muslim women wear, he said.
    The perception that Kelly was singled out for her religion is damaging for community relations between Muslims and others, he said.
    In years past, several runners have competed in the Montgomery Invitational wearing head coverings, including Shakira Raheem, who competed for Albert Einstein High School before graduating in 2007, and Fatima Abbas, who ran for Rogers at Walter Johnson before graduating in 1999.
    ‘‘The head covering itself was never a violation,” Rogers said. ‘‘Fatima ran with a hejab for four years, and she never had any problems.”
    He said there was another athlete, a boys hurdler from James Robinson High School in Virginia, who was not allowed to compete at the Montgomery Invitational this month because of uniform violations similar to Kelly’s.
    ‘‘The torso of [Kelly’s] undergarment was multicolored, which was the same problem that the kid from Robinson had,” Rogers said. ‘‘The implication was religious discrimination, but that was absolutely not the case. It is a very one-sided view that has been out there and that has been hurtful.”

    Maryland Community Newspapers Online

  • At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

Post a Comment

<< Home