I cannot disagree. Simone Biles is GOAT (greatest of all time)! As I watch her soar through the air during her routines, I can’t help but wonder where are all the other Simone Bileses that we will never know about?
Biles’ backstory is not emphasized as much as it should be. That story is emblematic for a lot of stories within the black community. Her biological mother struggled with drug and alcohol addictions, which is not uncommon within a certain portion of the black community. Her mom was also a single mother — another far too common occurrence as well. At some points during Simone’s early years from the age of 2-5, she was sporadically placed in foster care because of her mother’s inability to care for her and her siblings. That, too, is an unfortunate reality occurring far too often, even though we are the most “social serviced” people ever.
According to news reports, Simone’s mother’s father, Ron, would be notified every time his grandkids were put into the system. At some point, he stepped in and rescued all four children and had them come live with him in Texas. One would think that with the children finally in a stable environment, their mom would want the best for them. And she probably did. However she managed to convince the two oldest to return to Ohio with her and those two oldest were eventually adopted by Ron’s sister. Simone and her sister continued to live with Ron and were eventually adopted. The grandparents became the parents.
Simone and her sister ended up in a stable environment. A daycare trip to the gymnasium began her journey into the world of gymnastics. But even more than that, she was in an environment that allowed her to pursue her interest. Is there anybody who believes Simone would be the athlete she is today if she had remained with her mother? I don’t! If the black community suffers from anything, it is the numerous children who have had their dreams and interests squashed because they have drug- and alcohol-addicted parents. How many children cannot fulfill their dreams because the instability of the household doesn’t permit it? Why do people who cannot take care of the children that are already here, continue to have more? Why are they even having children?
More interesting is that as the details came out regarding her past, Simone’s mother got indignant in the way that her father portrayed her. But isn’t that also a common problem within the black community? People never want to hear about the errors of their ways. And if they have to hear it, they want it painted in a more suitable light. But why? You do your dirt, why should we make it clean dirt? Why should struggles with drugs and alcohol be tolerated when in reality those two vices are the result of personal choice?
Growing up, I always wondered why in church we were told that the sins of the father were suffered by the children. I remember how unfair that felt. But I see it now. The mistake parents make directly affects their children. And the careless procreation by adults brings forth children who suffer those consequences. I am sure that there are other children who could flip just like Simone or even better. Those children suffer from never having had the opportunity. They suffer their parents’ sins.
Arlene Jones writes a weekly column for our sister publication, the Austin Weekly News.