Black Power Salute Essay

1961 Words Jun 11th, 2011 8 Pages
The Olympics are held every four years and are used as a global stage for many thousands of sportsmen and women who come from many different countries around the world to demonstrate their abilities ranging from running to rowing. In theory, the Olympic Games are supposed to be free from any politics and be purely about the athlete’s competition and celebrations. It is supposed to be non-gender, non-religion and non-race biased to show the accomplishment of the athletes that compete. Sporting officials are also supposed to be un-biased offering equal opportunities to all athletes.
In the 1968 Olympic Games held in Mexico City, this was not the case as two black American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos made a silent political
…show more content…
It was written for white people.” These two men had been condemned, insulted and both received death threats. A few hours after they were verbally attacked by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that had been reported saying “It was a deliberate and violent breach of the fundamental principles of the Olympic spirit.”
The quote “Black America will understand what we did tonight” by Tommie Smith was said before their return to the United States. They did not expect a backlash from black Americans. But they were sadly mistaken because there were a wide variety of mixed views among blacks because of what they did. True, many received them as heroes but some also felt that they had infringed the Olympic spirit by bringing politics into it. Yet many supported that they were against racial discrimination but thought that the Olympics was neither the time nor the place for a silent protest like this. They were being treated as outcasts and struggled to earn a living. Both their marriages broke up and Carlos's wife committed suicide. This protest by the two athletes has been interpreted as an “act of disloyalty.” Smith describes this act, not out of disloyalty but as a “need to bring attention to the inequality in our country. I don’t like the idea of people looking at it as negative. There was nothing but a raised fist in the air and a bowed head, acknowledging the American flag – not symbolizing a hatred for it."
He also
Open Document