Simone Biles and the rise of the ‘great refusal’ | Casey Gerald
Black public figures from Simone Biles to Naomi Osaka are helping us put one simple word at the top of our vocabulary: no
I can hardly do a proper cartwheel, so I’m hesitant to opine on Simone Biles’s decision to withdraw from the Tokyo Olympics this week, telling the press and the world: “I have to focus on my mental health.” I can’t stay silent, though, because I know she’s not alone.
As a former college football player, I can imagine the psychological price Olympians pay to squeeze every ounce of greatness into a tiny window of life. As a Black man raised by a cadre of women, I can imagine the tax Black women pay because of our national commitment to “trust” them, which really just means “let them do all the work.” Or, in the case of Simone Biles, “let her put the whole country on her back”.
Casey Gerald is the author of There Will Be No Miracles Here