Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Fear of a black planet

Something people seemed to have missed.

Forty years ago, 17 October 1968, three men stood up on a podium at the 1968 Mexico Olympic games. The gold medallist for the 200m run was Tommie Smith, and the bronze medallist was John Carlos. Both were black.

And you've probably seen that picture of them raising their fists in salute of black power.

After that, they got sent home by the International Olympic Committee and the American team. There were death threats. Carlos' first wife killed herself because of the backlash. They couldn't find jobs, and struggled to feed their families. Smith's mother, age 57, died after receiving a parcel of dead rats in the post.

Smith is now a professor of sociology. He has never been inducted into the US Olympic Committee Hall of Fame, despite his 1968 achievement.

And now Barack Obama looks set to become President of the US, and I have to tell you, the screams of barely muted racist horror at the prospect from certain areas of the right sound sweet.

I bet Smith is going to be laughing his athletic ass off when that result is announced...


Jean said...

My darling mother, who is 82 this year and was raised in a typical white American home in the 1930s and '40s, has always said that the human race won't be able to get along until we are all the same color - and that color will be brown.

She is thrilled to be voting for Senator Obama, and is delighted she has lived long enough to see this day. I am grateful for the most color-neutral upbringing I believe one could have had in the 1950s and '60s.

I am hoping we will finally begin to see color-neutrality in this country - its time.

Steve said...

Well said Jean, I too feel as your mother, that humanity will get along much better when it is impossible to tell of a fellow human being's 'origin.' :)

WwG, Lovely blog you have, enjoyed your snark on Pandagon about the LDS kerfuffle and prop H8. ~ Steve

Phoenician in a Time of Romans said...

Thanks, Steve.