Ideology versus reality – on a daily basis it seems around half of the current public debates can be reduced to these two virtues. In the 1960s and 70s, Muhammad Ali was a leader, an icon and hated by most before becoming one of the wisest and most revered men in American History. He chose to pay the price rather than sell his soul.
What did this athlete, this mere boxer know that we don’t? It might surprise you, the far reaches of Ali’s spirit, wisdom and overall impact. Here was a Black man from Louisville, Kentucky, that was more physically gifted than perhaps any athlete in American History. This same man was his people’s champion. More than Martin Luther King, Malcom X and the others, Muhammad Ali raised the overall condition of his people in the U.S., of Black people. How? Why? Ali led by example and unwavering commitment to truth and justice, not by racism against Whites or other races.
Ideology versus reality includes the border debate, race and gender issues, the Muslim refugees, and so on. Well, great men are timeless and I can say with conviction, and most will agree that Muhammad Ali, who was born Cassius Marcellus Clay, was a great man. Well, what would he be saying about this new era, born 2017 in the west, starting with Brexit and followed by the Donald Trump revolution?
As a lifelong admirer and amateur historian of “The Greatest”, as he is affectionately known, I believe Ali would not support Black Lives Matter, or the violent protests from the left, preventing conservative genius from speaking on university campuses. I think he would denounce the “Russians are coming” propaganda and the likes from mainstream media.
But on multiracialism in the U.S., Muhammad Ali believed in segregation of the races and preservation of his and other peoples. “Red birds want to be with red birds, blue birds with blue birds pigeons with pigeons– they all are birds, but they’ve got different cultures”, he said, “society did not make us different, God did…you’re a hater of your people if you don’t want to stay who you are” (speaking of interracial marriage)…it’s just nature, you can do what you want but it’s nature to want to be with your own, I want to be with my own, I don’t hate anyone but I love my people.”
"A rooster doesn't crow in the dark. A rooster only crows when he sees the light. Well I've seen the light, and I'm crowing"
Is it racist for Muhammad Ali to feel this way? Is it racist for a Black person to feel this way? What about a Muslim, Jew, Hispanic or White person? Here’s a short piece of an interview with Muhammad Ali on the subject, speaking from his heart and soul. 1971 Interview Clip - Muhammad Ali