October 21, 2005, - 11:28 am
By Debbie Schlussel
Remember this picture from the 1968 Olympics?
I wasn’t born yet, but like most Americans, I’ve been exposed WAY TOO MUCH to this photo of U.S. Olympians Tommie Smith and John Carlos protesting “American oppression” of Blacks while on foreign soil in Mexico.
What they did was wrong. It was incorrect. It was an outrage.
But instead of being remembered that way, Smith’s and Carlos’ black-gloved Black Power protest salute is now celebrated . . . WITH YOUR TAX MONEY.
Monday, San Jose State University unveiled a 23-foot-tall statue glorifying the moment. And $300,000 of your tax money footed the bill of this expensive outrage. Media reports say the “Associated Students” of the university footed the bill, but guess where their money came from? You.
New York Times sports columnist William C. Rhoden thinks this is a good thing. But Smith’s and Carlos’ protest was a shame, not something to be proud of. At the same games, Czechoslavakian gymnast Vera Caslavska used the Olympics to protest the Communist Soviet Union’s invasion and commencement of tyranny in her country.
Oppression is what the Communists did to the people of Eastern Europe in 1968 and beyond, NOT what Americans did to Blacks in 1968 and beyond. Too bad they didn’t know the difference. Too bad the administration at San Jose State in 2005 still doesn’t know the difference.
After their behavior, U.S. officials sent the two Olympians home from Mexico City. They–the Olympic officials–had the right idea. Today’s uppity sports columnists and University money-wasters do not.
***UPDATE: As my friend, author John Barnes, said so well: “Debbie: In re the John Carlos/Tommy Smith thing: I’ve always wanted to tell George Foreman (if I ever met him) that the bravest thing he ever did was walk around the ring waving an American flag after winning the gold at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. That took more guts at that time and in that atmosphere than any opponent he ever faced in the ring.”
Tags: author, Debbie Schlussel Remember, Eastern Europe, George Foreman, John Barnes, John Carlos, media reports, Mexico, Mexico City, New York Times, Olympic, S. Olympians Tommie Smith, San Jose State University, Soviet Union, sports columnist, the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, the 1968 Olympics, the Olympic, the Olympics, United States, uppity sports columnists, USD, Vera Caslavska, William C. Rhoden