CNN Op-Ed: Michael Phelps Doesn’t Deserve to Carry the Flag Because He’s a ‘Tall, Successful, Rich, White Guy’

Michael Phelps deservedly and decisively won his peers' votes in order to become the United States' flagbearer during the opening ceremonies of the 2016 Olympic games. Despite his long resume of Olympic success, some aren't happy with the descicion.

Ibtihaj Muhammad, an African American Muslim woman famous for wearing her hijab during her fencing matches, came in a close second behind Phelps as the choice for flag bearer. Muhammad has also been outspoken against Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump. “When you incite hateful speech and rhetoric like that, the people who say it never think about the repercussions and how that affects Muslims,” she told Time.

Multiple news outlets have run pieces from those calling on Phelps to withdraw from the position.

W. Kamau Bell, in op-ed for CNN addressed to Phelps, argued Muhammad, as a Muslim, would be a better choice than Phelps, a “tall, successful, rich white guy.”

“Muhammad carrying the flag would be much bigger than your one moment,” Bell writes. “It would be a symbol for our country in this moment when we are mostly known for one of the most contentious, controversial, scandal-ridden, hateful, xenophobic, jingoistic, and just generally unlikeable presidential elections in recent memory. This is at a time when we could use some more symbols of unity and togetherness.”

America used to be celebrated for its ability to reward achievements and hard work. Now, according to people like Kamau Bell, one's success is less special or less worthy of praise if one happens to be white. How white privilege makes someone a better natural athlete is anyone's guess.

Source: Western Journalism



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