What, to the Blaq athlete, is the Olympics?
Written by: Dorian Smith
July 4, 2020
In 1852, Fredrick Douglass posed the question: “What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?” With this question, he presented the argument that a country that celebrates freedom from tyranny while simultaneously oppressing enslaved people is fraudulent and hypocritical. His intellect, perseverance, and personality provided him with the opportunity and platform to speak truth to power–the truth that America was being built by exploiting and torturing Black bodies.
BlaQ athletes now have a similar platform. We can address the oppression and lasting effects of slavery, Jim Crow laws, and the so-called “war on crime” that still plague Black communities in this country and around the world. Blaq athletes are asked to represent countries, brands, and universities on a global scale, but at the same time, they are told to shut up and play rather than address the systemic inequalities that affect our communities.
In this time of independence, we at Blaq Athlete pose similar questions:
- What, to the Blaq athlete, is the Olympics?
- What, to a Blaq college athlete, is a racist institution of higher learning?
- What, to the Blaq professional athlete, is A league without Blaq owners?
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"What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July?"