Friday, 19 August 2016

silent gesture

That white medalist in the iconic and controversial 1968 Summer Games Black Power salute was not just some witless by-stander, as the always engrossing Kottke informs, and although the second-place didn’t raise his hand in protest, Peter Norman from Australia, wore a human rights badge and suffered consequences like his fellow athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos.
Norman was sensitive to the plight of minorities as well, having witnessed apartheid in his native land that included forced adoption of aboriginal babies to white families and other atrocities. When in 2005 the University of San Jose immortalised the moment with a statue—Smith and Carlos both former students, Norman was approached about inclusion. Norman respectfully declined, but not because he didn’t want to be associated with their defiant statement any longer—rather he wanted anyone visiting the statue to have the opportunity to stand in that vacant spot and express their solidarity too.