Over the weekend, Meb Keflezighi became the first American to win the New York City Marathon since 1982. But CNBC's Darren Rovell wan't impressed. Darren Rovell doesn't think Meb is really an American. Rovell sees that Meb is NOT White. He is NOT of Northern European Descent. Therefore, Rovell twittered and wrote on his Blog: "Meb Keflezighi, who won yesterday in New York, is technically American by virtue of him becoming a citizen in 1998, but the fact that he's not American-born takes away from the magnitude of the achievement the headline implies."
I was SHOCKED when I read Rovell's words. I read Meb's Bio. I KNOW he IS an American. It does NOT matter that he is NOT white! It does NOT matter that he is NOT of Northern European descent.
I know ALL Americans should be proud of Meb's accomplishments.
According to Meb's Bio: Mebrahtom "Meb" Keflezighi was born May 5, 1975 in Asmara, Eritrea. He is an American athlete specializing in long distance running. In 1987, when Meb was only 12 years old, his family immigrated to San Diego. In 7th grade, track coaches take an interest in Meb and they train him as a potential American Olympian. He and his brothers lead their schools to track titles. Meb graduated from San Diego HS as the 1st person to win the all academic/athlete team captain for two years in a row. In 1994 he placed 2nd in the Footlocker Cross Country Championships. Meb also won a full scholarship to UCLA. In 1998, Meb becomes a naturalized citizen as do other members of his family. Throughout college years, Meb wins scholastic as well as athletic awards. He completes his degree. In 2004, he won a Silver Medal for the USA! From 2005 - 2009 Meb was married, had 2 beautiful daughters as well as placing in several National/International Track events. This past weekend, Meb became the first American to win the New York City marathon since 1982. Since Meb was 12 years old, he and his family have strived for and achieved the American Dream, following the rules, following the legal path, loving America, accomplishing for the country he loves.
Yet, Rovell says he is NOT American enough to proclaim himworthy of our praise of him for being an American, trained in America, who has accomplished such a feat. As I read Rovell's comments, I asked myself, "What does it take to be "American enough" for someone like Rovell." I read through some of the comments on his blog. Most respondents were angry at Rovell, like me, for making such blatantly racist remarks. However, there were some members of the birther/tea-bagger movement that agreed with Rovell. One commenter in particular, named trupatriot, commented, "Nov 3, 2009 12:33 PM ET. ROVELL DO NOT LISTEN TO THESE LIBTARD IDIOTS! I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK AND I DON'T CARE IF THEY WIN MARATHONS THEY DON'T BELONG HERE!!!!! BORN IN AFRICA JUST LIKE THE MUSLIM OBAMA WHO WILL NEVER BE MY PRESIDENT!!! GLENN BECK AND LIMBAUGH ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. IT IS TIME TO DRAW THE LINE IN THE SAND AND WE NEED NOT CELEBRATE IT JUST BECAUSE OF HAVING "AMERICAN" NEXT TO THEIR NAME IT MEANS NOTHING IF YOU DON'T BELONG HERE! "
These statements are incomprehensible! The commenter said, "I want MY Country back? I don't care if THEY win marathons?" My questions back to him is, "Meb is an American. Why do YOU think he doesn't belong here? Just because of the color of his skin? Because he was born in Africa? You think people from Africa cannot immigrate here? People of color? Do YOU only accept those who are White skinned from Northern Europe?? Why do YOU think YOU name the criteria?"
The bosses at CNBC must have gotten to Rovell because the next day he issued a half-hearted apology for his first "Not a Real American" blog. In his 2nd column, Rovell wrote, "Here's what I got wrong. All I was saying was that we should celebrate an American marathon champion who has completely been brought up through the American system. This is where, I must admit, my critics made their best point. It turns out, Keflezighi moved to the United States in time to develop at every level in America."
A commenter to Rovell's 2nd column, S.Katz, got Rovell's original intent right when he said,"Nov 3, 2009 12:22 PM ET: Rule #1 - when you find your self in a hole, stop digging. "because there was a difference between being an American-born product and being an American citizen" They PAY you to write stuff like this at CNBC? If this man were of white European ancestry, we wouldn't have ever had this discussion to begin with. You know it. I know it, and so does everyone else."
I wonder if people like Rovell or like his birther, tea-bagger supporters, or Orly Taitz, will ever learn! Being American does NOT mean being of White, Northern European ethnicity. America is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic melting pot! We are the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave! All colors, all ethnicities, in our beautiful melting pot, salad bowl!