So Sunday an American won the New York City Marathon for the first time since 1982:

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.


Keflezighi was born in Eritrea. So apparently he isn’t a “real American”:

Nothing against Keflezighi, but he’s like a ringer who you hire to work a couple hours at your office so that you can win the executive softball league.The positive sign was that some American-born runners did extremely well in yesterday’s men’s race.

If any of them stand on the top step of the podium in Central Park one day, that’s when I’ll break out my red, white and blue.

“Nothing against Keflezighi …” That’s like “I’m not a racist, but …” He’s a ringer, you see, because he was only brought here when he was 12 in order to beat true Merkins in the marathon. Taking away the glory of some true, “American-born” runners.

So the sportswriter got called on this bit of stupid. What did he have to say?

Here’s what the dude said on his twitter: “If u move here @ age 12, u aren’t American-born. USA running still has a problem even w/Meb win.” Here’s what he said in his follow-up article:

I said that Keflezighi’s win, the first by an American since 1982, wasn’t as big as it was being made out to be because there was a difference between being an American-born product and being an American citizen. Frankly I didn’t account for the fact that virtually all of Keflezighi’s running experience came as a US citizen. I never said he didn’t deserve to be called American.

Just that the writer wouldn’t honor him as an American. That’s all.


30 thoughts on “Merkins

  1. Ok, the sports writer is an idiot. “He is an American citizen thanks to taking a test and living in our country.” vs. “He is an American citizen thanks to mom dropping him our of her vajayjay on American soil.” Big whoop.

    But it took me forever to figure out what the hell this had to do with pubic wigs —

  2. Know why I don’t volunteer? I know my Chinese-self will never be good enough to serve some of those special “Americans”. Hey, when I donate, see who will be missing out :-)

  3. from the comments in the article:”The only people who don’t consider Meb an American distance runner are racist, uneducated fools. I hope you don’t fall into that category.” lol, some of those comments were pretty good.

    also, just wondering, what does “ringer” mean?

  4. @kathy, those comments really surprised me! I usually avoid reading comments on articles where racism is discussed, because the comments are typically unabashedly racist. Not white progressive oopsy ignorant, but party like its 1959 ignorant. But these comments — I’m impressed.

  5. And it just gets better and better — the journalist does an apologyfail here and the comments provide a fluent “I speak racismese” translations and continue to debunk him. It’s like all the commenters on the website have been studying Critical Race Theory or something.

  6. @Kathy–a “ringer” is an expert you put on your team under false pretenses to get an easy victory, like the sports writer said–“a ringer who you hire to work a couple hours at your office so that you can win the executive softball league.”

  7. If only Meb Keflezighi ate more Freedom Fries; supported the troops (and their many war crimes); and started singing “God Bless America” every time the USA invaded, bombed, or assaulted yet another country, he would surely be accepted into the exalted status of True Amurikan by the USA.

  8. Flower, I had the same observation! I actually read all 11 pages (at the time) of comments, and the ONLY comment that supported rather than condemed the article was so blatantly racist it was almost more effective than all the comments calling the author out.

  9. @Resistance, “Opposite Day”, lol!

    and Flower, thanks for the link, the comments there were good too!

  10. …the fact that he’s not American-born takes away from the magnitude of the achievement the headline implies.

    Wow. The headline doesn’t “imply” anything. An American won. Fact.

    So basically, despite all the screeching about “legal” immigration, and how immigrants need to “do it right” blah blah blah, it’s not good enough for someone to “do it right” and actually become a citizen? The same folks who would have this attitude are the ones who also gripe and moan about babies of immigrants being born here, even though that’s “American born”. Make up your damn minds.

    Also, the fact that the writer won’t “break out his red, white, and blue” until a “American born” American wins … well that’s a perfect example of how those of a particular political persuasion have contributed to why this veteran won’t fly Old Glory outside her house. The flag has been co-opted by the Right to mean something that I don’t stand for, and this writer makes it clear that only REAL Americans are worthy of that red white and blue.

    Also, I wonder if this guy had come over from Scotland or Norway, would the feeling be the same?

    Also, I use a lot of air quotes here.

    Also … merkins? WTF?!

  11. Basically a “real” American is a white, at least 1 whole generation born and living in America, American. add a gold star if you’re a man or believe in jesus. Everyone else is just a bunch of second rate, job thieves who are ruining this country. By the way McCain/Palin’s campaign was based on a similar concept, trying to speak for “real” Americans. They never fully identified what a “real” American is but I believe my definition is spot on.

  12. Those comments on the article give me hope for mankind. Just when I thought the apologists were coming out to play…I’m amazed. As to the article, this is why I’m against assimilation. You will never, ever be good enough. My family has been here eight, count ’em eight, generations and I swear at least once a week someone asks me “where are you from”? When I tell them Miami, they get that look and ask where my parents are from. When I say Miami, they keep going back and back, but no one ever has the good sense to ask what my cultural heritage is. Too bad!

  13. @ js718

    Don’t forget that a real American wears one of those flag pins on their lapel, displays a “Buy American” bumper sticker on their car; and has a “Support the Troops” yellow ribbon planted on their forehead at all times.

    This is kinda like the informal uniform that all Real American must wear.

  14. One need not make a comment about skin color to qualify as racist. It is the othering of people, in this case, someone who came to the U.S. as a child, went through the American education system, started running seriously and professionaly in America, and is an American citizen but because he has an accent and does not sound appropriate or white enough and does not “look American” (whatever the hell that is) is then not American enough (surely this would not have been an issue had Keflezighi been a naturalized citizen of European ancestry) and why does Rovell feel qualified to determine who is American enough?? Because he has a couple generations on Keflezighi? The age old “reject the most recent immigrants because they are not good enough” story, something you would not expect from a “highly educated” and “accomplished” person, pathetic. It is people like Rovell that perpetuate the backwords and vile systemic racism that America seems to hinge on, but hey-he benefits from it so I guess his comments should not come as too much of a surprise!

  15. I just wanted to say how grateful I was to read those thoughtful comments. My faith in humanity has just moved up a notch.

  16. Or at least that select part of humanity that runs marathons — those endorphins must really be working.

  17. I was wondering about that, Restructure! Undoubtedly a bunch of comments have been deleted. But where did they get so many thinking people to begin with? The average internet news site is inundated with idiots.

  18. Ugh, disgusting racist, xenophobic jerks. I agree race definitely was part of the factors for othering Keflezighi, but I have to disagree with the people who said it’d have been all OK had he been white or European. Even if you’re white, you can get crap for being an immigrant — if you have an accent, for example. I’m a permanent resident (“alien,” don’t you love the lingo), but my family moved to the US when I was young enough to pick up the American accent, and I’m white, so Americans just assume I’m American-born and don’t give me any xenophobic crap (until I’ve mentioned my citizenships, which don’t include the US, and I bring up criticism of the US). My parents’ English, on the other hand, will never be perfect, and people can be rude and condescending about it. I’m not going to deny the factor of race though — yeah, it’d be worse if we weren’t white.

  19. @resistance – I think there is a positive feedback loop effect. When the discussion appeals to thinking people and thinking people’s comments are not drowned in stupid comments, thinking people are more motivated to comment.

    The site is also high-traffic, so there are more comments on both the very high end and very low end. The low end and average comments are weeded out, so we get the very high end comments.

  20. Whoah! That comment section is full of win!! Did someone switch the world on me again while I was sleeping :-)

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