I get that this title sounds like something from the Guardian, Jezebel or Vox — something more likely to come from the minds of social justice warriors than from me — but the absence of those other outlets picking up on this is precisely why I'm writing this.
There's a lot of outrage going around this week over the Chicago Tribune's decision to congratulate gold medalist Corey Cogdell by mentioning in its headline that she's the wife of Chicago Bears lineman Mitch Unrein.
Cogdell won that medal on her own merit; it's just an interesting tidbit that she has a famous husband. I see where the outrage is coming from, but let's face it, trap shooting isn't the most popular Olympic sport, so connecting Cogdell to a bigger local sport helps the story.
But there's a lack of outrage over the way the media are treating Ibtihaj Muhammad, who is competing in fencing. Muhammad was the eighth-ranked saber fencer going into the competition, but merely being talented enough to make the Olympics isn't good enough. She had to be singled out because she would be the first American athlete to compete wearing a hijab.
Every article about her led with this fact. If the ultimate goal is to normalize such occurrences, calling so much attention to this information is probably not the way to go. It's saying: "Hey, look at her! She's different!" It also takes away from her accomplishment.
She won her first round but lost in the round of 16 and was eliminated from individual competition. She is still competing in the team event later in the Olympics.
Such focus on her being different also sets her up for disappointment. She wasn't the first ranked, so her story was going to be "she's already great and proved why," "she was a dark horse who won" or she would fade into obscurity.
The last one will be the story, and the media pushing her onto everyone by way of celebrating what makes her different will now lead to snickering in some corners from people who don't like being told who they're supposed to like just because the media demand it.
Muhammad isn't the only one being singled out this way. The media — and politicians like Hillary Clinton — are also doing this to Laurie Hernandez, an American gymnast. I don't follow many Olympic sports, but my friend and Townhall writer Christine Rousselle is obsessed with U.S. women's gymnastics, so I've gotten a crash course.
Hernandez is amazing, and doesn't need to be singled out as "the first U.S.-born Latina" on the U.S. gymnastics team since 1984.
Clinton's tweet about the athlete included a quote from her, which didn't mention her ethnicity at all. Instead, Hernandez focused on what she learned from her mother, who was in the Army Reserve.
"She taught me the importance of following rules, finishing what I start, never giving up, leadership skills, teamwork, staying positive, motivated and how to pack the military way when I'm traveling!" the quote reads.
Nothing in it has to do with ethnicity, but the quote is attributed to Hernandez, the "first U.S.-born Latina on the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team since 1984," just as Clinton's tweet did.
This is something another gymnast, Simone Biles, has had to deal with. She is by many accounts the greatest gymnast in the world and perhaps in all of history. She has difficult maneuvers named after her and is expected to win upwards of five gold medals in 2016. People like to remind her that she's the first African-American to win the world championship, but she doesn't care about that.
"Everyone just shoves that in our heads. I never think, like, 'Oh my gosh, I am the first this, I'm the first that,'" Biles said. "I just do my gymnastics because I like to have fun. I don't bring race into it."
The media tried to start a controversy after an Italian gymnast suggested "we should also paint our skin black, so then we could win too." The gymnast apologized for her remark, but of course the media tried to get Biles to comment on it and victimize herself.
Biles wouldn't. Her mother, Nellie, also said race shouldn't factor in. "What should matter is the hard work you put in and the performance you put up," she said.
I see articles all the time straining to find "othering" where it doesn't exist. Yet here we have the media unnecessarily pointing out what makes Olympic athletes non-white, and the social justice warriors are silent.
My guess is that the two who are being singled out — Hernandez and Muhammad — are being singled out in part because of leftist aversion to GOP candidate Donald Trump.
Trump has talked about building a wall to keep out illegal immigrants, so incessantly pointing out that Hernandez is Latina is, I guess, seen as some kind of blow to Trump, even though she is American-born and doesn't make her ethnicity an issue.
The same goes for Muhammad. Trump has suggested banning Muslims from countries currently suffering under the Islamic State from entering America, so the media are attempting to throw every Muslim they can in his face. Which again, I think is a discredit to Muhammad and Hernandez, who deserve more than being used as pawns because the media don't like a presidential candidate.
Hernandez is going to do extremely well (I hope) in the Olympics. If she doesn't, I might actually cry. Muhammad can still win a medal in the team competition, and even if she doesn't, she can still kick your ass at fencing any day of the week. Both of these women should be talked about for their skill, not what makes them different.
Ashe Schow is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.