Muhammad Ali will always remain a hero to me, if just for one statement he made while resisting
being drafted to fight in Viet Nam:
By March 1967, his (boxing) record stood at 29-0. One month later, he refused induction into the US Army during the Vietnam War, claiming conscientious objector status. “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong,” he said, adding, “No Viet Cong ever called me nigger.” Condemned as unpatriotic and cowardly, Ali was stripped of his title and his boxing license. He was tried, found guilty and sentenced to five years in prison. Released on appeal, he waited three years for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the verdict.
By JESSE WASHINGTON
updated 2/5/2012 10:44:12 AM ET
The labels used to describe Americans of African descent mark the movement of a people from the slave house to the White House. Today, many are resisting this progression by holding on to a name from the past: “black.”
For this group — some descended from U.S. slaves, some immigrants with a separate history — “African-American” is not the sign of progress hailed when the term was popularized in the late 1980s. Instead, it’s a misleading connection to a distant culture.
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