Muhammad Ali was a PROUD Black Muslim man. I’m seeing white-washing of his legacy all over social media, saying that he “transcended race.” No, he sure as shit did not! He was deemed “controversial” for his outspoken pride in his beauty, strength and most importantly for being UNAPOLOGETICALLY BLACK.
Turning figures of black pride into passive figures in death is so disrespectful. It never fails. Look at how many figures of black pride this has happened to, and it’s the same thing every single time:
1. Figure dies.
2. Claim said figure “transcended race” and was “more important than just their race”; separate them from their race to make remembering them as being more palatable to mainstream society.
3. Rewrite the past in which the majority of (white) Americans hated said figure in their prime.
4. Never refer to any aspect of their self-love or pride in their community.
5. Use said figure from that day forward to silence black voices that dare to speak up by utilizing convenient quotes that are easily sanitized in order to imply a passivity to their legacy that they did not have in life:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” -Dr King
“Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.” -Muhammad Ali
6. Never share quotes that are critical of white society or exemplify everything said figures actually stood for:
“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action’; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a ‘more convenient season.’” -Dr King
“There are many white people who mean right and in their hearts wanna do right. If 10,000 snakes were coming down that aisle now, and I had a door that I could shut, and in that 10,000, 1,000 meant right, 1,000 rattlesnakes didn’t want to bite me, I knew they were good. Should I let all these rattlesnakes come down, hoping that that thousand get together and form a shield? Or should I just close the door and stay safe? …So now I’m gonna forget the four hundred years of lynching, killing and raping and denying my people of freedom, justice and equality and look at two or three white people who are TRYING to do right and don’t see the other million trying to kill me?! I’m not that big of a fool.” -Muhammad Ali
7. Use this bastardization of said figures to shame anyone who pushes back against the status quo with statements like “You’re the one dividing us in this country! Is this what ______ would have wanted?”, “I’m not racist, you are! ______ is rolling over in his grave right now!”, “How dare you tell me I’m racist! _____ was my hero! Be more like ______ and stop using the race card, they were more than their race!”
8. Repeat steps 2 through 7 when necessary.