By Nicole Chavez, CNN
As the world’s top athletes head into the Tokyo Olympics, a wave of penalizations and criticism are shedding light onto how Black women in sports are treated.
In recent weeks, the governing body for aquatic sports refused to approve the use of a swimming cap designed to accommodate natural Black hair during international competitions. A US Olympic hammer thrower was also criticized for protesting during the playing of the national anthem and two Namibian sprinters were ruled ineligible to compete in a race due to naturally high testosterone levels.
Those incidents, experts say, show how sports policies don’t necessarily take into account athletes of color and the dehumanization that Black women and girls experience.
Policies and procedures associated with sporting events, including the Olympics are often seen as “race neutral,” said Lori L. Martin, a sociology professor at Louisiana State University who studies race and education through a sports lens.
But those can impact people differently depending on their race and gender, Martin says, like in the case of the swim caps.
Swim caps designed for natural Black hair not allowed
Days after British swimmer Alice Dearing became the first Black woman to qualify to represent Great Britain in the open-water marathon, the International Swimming Federation (FINA) refused to approve the use of the caps designed for swimmers with “thick, curly, and voluminous hair” in…