by Special Correspondent Nadra Kareem, originally posted at Nadra’s Race Relations Blog
Caster Semenya is making headlines after winning an 800-meter race in the World Championships in Berlin on Wednesday by 2.45 seconds more than the second-place athlete. The fact that the 18-year-old South African literally left her rivals in the dust during the competition has led some of them to accuse her of being a man.
Both Italian runner Elisa Cusma Piccione and Russian runner Mariya Savinova made the accusation, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Now, the International Assn. of Athletic Federations is requesting Semenya to take tests to determine if she’s indeed female. If found not to be, she would be barred from racing and stripped of her medals.
The request has not only infuriated Semenya’s family but South African dignitaries as well. The L.A. Times printed a statement issued by the Young Communist League of South Africa, which supports Semenya.
“It feeds into the commercial stereotypes of how a woman should look, their facial and physical appearance, as perpetuated by backward Eurocentric definition of beauty,” the league stated of the accusations against Semenya. “It is this culture which has forced many African women to starve themselves with the objective of reaching the model ramps of Paris and Milan to become the face of this or that product or magazine.”