Wednesday, July 23, 2008
John Carlos and Tommie Smith enlightened me
Until recently I still couldn't really grasp the reasons behind the anger that some African Americans have against their counterparts White until I watched some snapshots, during the ESPYS awards, of what John Carlos and Tommie Smith went through in their prime years. Smith and Carlos got respectively Gold and Bronze medals for their track records at the 1968 Mexico city Olympics. As the American national anthem was playing, they raised their fists toward the sky, which was depicted as being the black power salute, but explained by them as being the denouncement of racial inequality in the US. The gesture got them kicked out of the games, they lost their jobs and nearly their family. With Death threats sent their way, they had to fight for their lives. And today 40 years later, they received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award which is given to people whose "contributions transcend sports" to quote Beth Harris from the Oxford Press.
The images accompanying the journalist's narration of the events almost created in me a flow of anger towards the injustice that African American had to endure. The last time I remember entertaining such feelings was 11 years ago I went to watch the movie "A Dry White Season" from a book of the same name by Andre Brink about the Apartheid in South Africa. It's been nearly two decades that apartheid was abolished in South Africa and four decades since the Mexico "incident", the pain and humiliation is still fresh in a lot of minds, the wound has been healed but the scar is left as a reminder of the past.
However, should we cling to that past? How would being angry at the White guy/gal advance us? How would rebellion against the "White" system (dads and uncles in jail, drugs on the streets, teen pregnancies, irresponsible moms bringing up irresponsible kids, education forgone etc...) help us achieve our true potential?
Wouldn't it be more beneficial for the previous, current and next generation to come to embrace a peaceful non rancorous approach that would not only completely heal us as a nation but also unite us as one people? 40 Years 's indeed too short, but how long should it take?
Today, John Carlos and Tommie Smith effigies stand up in San Jose State University in remembrance of that day, of those days.
Posted by Tresor De Beaute at 4:39 PM