Why Are Black Women Athletes And Caster Semenya Under Attack Again? By Cheryl Roberts

7 Mar


img_7832.jpgWhen will the ruthless policing and attempts to define and subsequently control black women athletes’ bodies stop? When will the European and male-centered gaze of black women athletes be called out? When will colonial mentalities of control over black women’s bodies be eliminated altogether?

I’m asking these critical questions because THEY at it again! Yes, those who control international sport; those being the Europeans, white men, misogynists, racial and sexual oppressors. They are intent, within their organisation the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) of signing into law what the IAAF sees as ‘hypo androgenism regulations’. And they are making this applicable to ONLY ‘female athletes’ and in the events from the ‘400m to the mile’.

Immediately, we can see how the IAAF is targeting one particular athlete, at this defining moment. That athlete is woman, she is black, she competes in events from 400m to 1500m. That black woman athlete is African and South African. She is world, Olympic and African 800m champion Caster Semenya, who also competes in events from 400m to 1500m. And she is one of the greatest women athletes of this moment!   

And it’s to do with hypo androgenism and testosterone; this being associated with all athletes whatever your gender and body make up. But the IAAF is not interested in testosterone levels of male athletes; though some men athletes can have much higher levels of such. They are only interested in targeting women athletes. Why is this? That is gender prejudice and discrimination within sport!

Today, if its testosterone levels and tomorrow will it be breast size with the IAAF again prescribing what size breasts are an advantage? Because this is all all about control and policing of women’s bodies in sport! Control of black women’s bodies, especially!

The IAAF last weekend held its world indoor athletics championship in the UK. They also held an IAAF council meeting and it was at this meeting that they decided to have finalised a decision, by November this year, regarding hypo androgenism and its about only women athletes competing in the ‘400m to the mile’ events.

Despite the scientific evidence that testosterone levels have no impact on performance, the conservative, European, white male-dominated global sports structure that is the IAAF is adamant it will finalise and implement a regulation about hypo androgenism. And that regulation will state, according to the chiefs in the IAAF, how much testosterone levels a woman athlete can possess before she is eligible in stipulated events.

And that level, you can be sure, will be what the IAAF will want to ensure. That globally achieving black women athletes like Caster Semenya and other 800m African women athletes like Francine Niyonsaba from Burundi and Margaret Wambui from Kenya, are for now blocked from competing and winning.

And they won’t admit that it will hopefully see European and white women athletes, who’ve been doing all the whining about ‘unfair participation’, being given ‘fair chances’ on the international sports stage, according to the IAAF and all others who think like that.   

Can you believe this? The IAAF is actually going to control and thereafter police a woman athlete’s body? They are really going to test all women athletes for testosterone levels? Because that’s how it should be done or else they going to do random testing, like just see a black woman athlete and say she ‘looks

out of proportion to our standards’.

The conclusion and regulation is foregone. The IAAF says its likely to be finalised by November 2018 and they will likely adopt the regulation unless member federations vote against it. International sport needs to counter and engage world sports like the IAAF with global resistance, the might of woman power and allies and the strength of sports people who will resist this unjust gender regulation to control, define and police women athletes’ bodies, particularly black women. 

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