Olympics: Jonah Goldberg v. Stuart Scott on the 1968 Black Power Salute
Why does the LA Times publish this stupidity?
Last week, ESPN awarded Tommie Smith and John Carlos the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs — the sports network’s equivalent of the Oscars — for their once infamous, and now famous, black power salutes from the winner’s podium at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. The stench of self-congratulation surrounding ESPN’s decision is thicker than the air in a locker room after double overtime. Comments by ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott typify the inanity of ESPN’s award. Scott — who was 3 years old in 1968 — nonetheless told the Desert Sun newspaper that he remembers how politically “tense” the times were and how he remembers thinking, “Oh, that was cool for a black man to do that.” He added: “As an adult, I get it even more now.” Even more than when he was barely out of diapers? That’s setting the bar high.
Jonah aka Momma’s Boy wasn’t born until 1969. Let me give him a clue – I was in high school and even as a Caucasian, I was quite impressed. But me thinks Momma’s Boy never grasped what the 1960’s were about in the first damn place:
In today’s culture, is it even worth trying to remind people that the black power salute was, for those who brandished it most seriously, a symbol of violence — rhetorical, political and literal — against the United States? It was the high-sign for a racist militia, the Black Panthers, which orchestrated the murder of innocents and allied itself with America’s enemies. (The Cuban 400-meter men’s relay team gave its 1968 silver medal to Black Panther leader Stokely Carmichael in the name of “Black America.”) In today’s lingo, you might even say black power was “divisive.” But even a more benign view of the salute shouldn’t obscure the intense contradictions of ESPN’s decision to honor Carlos and Smith. Both men were members of the Olympic Committee for Human Rights, which wanted a complete black boycott of the ’68 Olympics. The committee considered an entire generation of heroic black athletes — including Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson — to be Uncle Toms.
During the 1960’s, many Americans still thought of blacks as at best second class citizens. There was a disagreement among black leaders whether to fight this blatant racism within the system (ala Reverend King or Jackie Robinson on the baseball field) or to be more assertive ala Malcolm X or the Black Panthers. But this was NOT an endorsement of America’s foreign enemies as Momma’s Boy would have it but rather a call to America to include all of its citizens. Divisive? America WAS divided – in large part because of the white elite that the National Review back then supported.
But then Goldberg has to do his Liberal Fascism routine even here:
Another important distinction that should matter is that this was 1968, not 1938.
Oh yes – 1938 when Nazism was the big threat. But Jonah? The Berlin Olympics where Jesse Owens was the track star was in 1936 – not 1938. I bet Stuart Scott knows this but not the arrogant but incredibly naïve blowhard who for some reason gets a column in the LA Times!