NYC Marathon Winner is Not American Enough

By Jorge Rivas Nov 03, 2009

CNBC Sports Business Reporter, Darren Rovell, wrote an online article titled "Marathon’s Headline Win is Empty", in reference to an American finally winning the NYC marathon. "It’s a stunning headline: American Wins Men’s NYC Marathon For First Time Since ’82" Rovell writes, "Unfortunately, it’s not as good as it sounds." The man who won the marathon is Mebrahtom Keflezighi, who immigrated to the U.S. when he was 12, became a citizen and later trained in youth, college and professional level distant running programs. But from the moment Keflezighi won the marathon this past Sunday, the dispute erupted online: Should Keflezighi’s win count as an American victory? Enter the cable news networks, who these days seem to be injecting outright brutal racism anywhere they can for ratings. Here’s what CNBC Darren Rovell wrote:

"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… Given our disappointing results, embracing Keflezighi is understandable. But Keflezighi’s country of origin is Eritrea, a small country in Africa. He is an American citizen thanks to taking a test and living in our country."

Fox News and Lou Dobbs on CNN was more than enough racism on the cable news networks, but now we can add CNBC to the list. You’d think that our nationalist and competitive country would embrace this win, but race trumps everything sometimes. Keflezighi did exactly what anti-immigrant reform activist say immigrants should do. He came to the U.S. twenty-two years ago legally as a refugee and became a "naturalized" citizen a few years after. So even when immigrants of color enter the U.S. "the legal way" they’re still not welcome. Stay tuned to RaceWire. We’ll bring you more analysis on this story in the coming days.