September 06, 2009

Gender questioning now = racism

As a runner myself (like Chanman, from whom I got this article) and as one interested in the ever-evolving definition of "racism," I thought this was ... intriguing:

The president of Athletics South Africa, Leonard Chuene, was also defiant and said he had resigned from his seat on the IAAF board to protest the organization's treatment of [Caster] Semenya... "We are not going to allow Europeans to describe and define our children," he told a news conference, which Semenya attended although she did not address reporters... Semenya's supporters say the allegations against her are motivated by jealousy and show racial discrimination against Africans. (Link.)

What's the beef? Well, this:

World athletic officials said they were going to conduct "gender tests" on Semenya based on the suspicion of her [overly] muscular build and deep voice -- hence they're "racists."

But are they?

Chanman (again, a noted runner) offers a brief history lesson for the Sharpton-esque South African officials:

I guess this South African official wasn't paying attention during the 1970's and 1980's when female athletes from Eastern Block communist countries were showing their grotesque selves at track meets all over the world. How about current world record holder in - of all events - the 800 meters, Jarmila Kratochvilova of Czechoslovakia, who set the still-standing record of 1:53.28 back in 1983? Check out her feminine self:

Or how about Ewa Klobukowska of Poland, who actually did fail a gender test in the 1960s:

1:53 is absolutely smokin' for a woman in the 800 meters, by the way. So, it wouldn't come as a surprise to me if Kratochvilova proved to really be a man. It's either that, or, like way too many Eastern European athletes during the Cold War, she was steroided up to the hilt. Just look at "her" legs.

Posted by Hube at September 6, 2009 10:53 AM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

The two pictures are clearly of men. Being of Polish descent myself, I can (sadly) see the last one being of a Polish woman. That definitely strikes me as a female Polish face. But I also concur about the steroid theory.

Posted by: Paul Smith Jr at September 6, 2009 01:46 PM

Time for a new Aerosmith song -- Lady Looks Like A Dude.

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at September 6, 2009 02:29 PM

Couldn't they just examine the blood tests and check for a Y chromosome? I imagine that this kind of screening will become protocol in the future. I hope somebody brought up this precedent to the SA official.

Posted by: Bronwen at September 7, 2009 08:07 PM

Thanks for the link! I have been waiting for years for the so-called Czech "woman" to lose her record, but 26 years later, I'm still waiting. The closest anyone has come since then is a 1:54.44 set in 1989 by Ana Quirot of - wait for it - Cuba.

Women may run slower and throw shorter nowadays compared to when the Eastern Block was still kicking, but I enjoy watching actual women compete now.

Posted by: Chanman at September 10, 2009 12:09 AM