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Parents Of Black Girl Snubbed At Ireland Gymnastics Event Calls Year-Late Apology 'Useless'

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Many of you may have seen by now the video circling social media that shows a Black girl getting passed over for a medal at a gymnastics ceremony in Ireland while every white competitor on the stage received their awards.

According to CNN, the video footage is from a GymStart event that took place in March 2022. And yes, it does appear that the Black girl at GymStart got passed on by like she was a Black girl at Sesame Place.

On Monday, about a year and a half after the incident, Gymnastics Ireland did the whole apologetic song and dance saying that the official expressed “deep regret” over her “honest error,” meaning essentially that the official wasn’t racist, she just happened to see all of the dozen young women who were on that stage with the exception of the lone Black girl. (This puts a whole new spin on “I don’t see color.”)

Gymnastics Ireland also noted that a “written apology provided by the identified individual has since been issued to the competitor and her family,” but the girl’s parents are calling that Johnny-come-lately apology utterly “useless.”

From BBC:

“[The apology is] almost useless,” she said. “There was no empathy shown, I feel like it’s not true.

“It’s been 18 months and it seems like they were pressured to give me an apology.

“I cried for so long and then millions of people cried with me before I could get this.”

Her mother said watching the incident play out was “unbelievable”.

“I didn’t believe in this day and time that this could happen,” she said.

“It is painful to actually state the obvious – my daughter was the only black child in that competition, she stood out well, there was no excuse for what happened. She felt very upset about what happened.

“It was almost as if though they blamed her for being black. It’s something very uncomfortable for a 10-year-old to go through.”

The motherwho, along with the father and the girl at the center of all of this, isn’t being named because they’re speaking out under the condition of anonymity—said she emailed the organization the day after the snub, but she got no response. She also said the written apology the family received more than a year later wasn’t even addressed to anyone personally but was instead addressed: “To whom it concerns.”

“All I wanted was an empathetic reply from them,” she said. “I wanted a show of support for [my daughter]. And really what we wanted was a form of apology to show her. To say this is from them, to make her feel supported.”

BBC reported that it did find an email from the snubbing judge that was sent a month after the incident for upsetting “you and your lovely child,” but the family said that email was never forwarded to them and that they didn’t see it until last month at a mediation session that a rep from Gymnastics Ireland was supposed to attend but did not show up.

“They tried to cover up like it didn’t happen,” the girl’s father said. “They probably thought that with time they’ll forget about it. It was painful. You have to beg for an apology.”

Even if we squint our eyes really hard and imagine the snub as an “honest error” as opposed to an intentional act of racism, it still appears that the governing body of the organization did the very bare minimum to reach out to the family and rectify the situation. Even the organization’s statement explaining why it took so long for its representatives to address the incident with the family reeks of indifference as if it’s being done out of PR obligation rather than actual contrition.

“The delays arose for a variety of reasons including human error, threats of legal action, intervention by third parties and our own understanding that this was a complaint from the parents against the official,” Gymnastics Ireland told BBC.

In other words: People made mistakes, we weren’t trying to get sued and we didn’t even know they were mad at us in the first place.

So, apparently, sweeping racial incidents under the rug and claiming everything is all good isn’t just an American thing.


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