Racism in the USA/Heterosexism in Russia

CaldwellPhotoI am an 80 year old "segregation survivor" of racial segregation in the USA. I have known De Jure segregation (sanctioned and enforced by law) and De facto segregation (without sanction or law). Although today's actions to reverse voting rights and affirmative action in the USA, are reminders of a past, that some do not want to pass, the USA is a much better nation becauseof its positive response to the Civil Rights Movement. The CR Movement confronted and transformed both forms of racial segregation.

Olympic Atheletes on PodiumI thought of this USA racial history as I was tuned into the opening of the Olympics in Russia. Despite the impressive display of the history of Russia, I watched being aware of Russia's De Jure sanctions and laws against same gender loving persons, and its De facto cultural segregation and oppression of same sex couples. Each time  the winning athletes stand on platforms to receive their medals in Sochi, I will think of  Tommie Smith and John Carlos of the USA, and Peter Norman of Australia.

The 1968 Summer Olympics were held in Mexico City. After Tommie Smith and John Carlos both African Americans, received their medals, as the national anthem was being played, one held up a left fist and the other a right fist, each wearing a black glove. And, Peter Norman from Australia who was white, expressed solidarity with them as he stood on the platform wearing a medal representing the Olympic Project for Human Rights/OPHR.

imagesSmith and Carlos were suspended from the USA team and banned from the Olympic Village because of what some called their "Black Power" salute. Avery Brundage, the President of the International Olympic Committee said their salute was an  "unfit, political statement" for the Olympics. Yet, when Brundage was President of the U.S. Olympic Committee during the Olympics held in Berlin in 1936, he had no problem with the Nazi salute. It was an "acceptable national salute", he said.

How many years will it take for humanity to realize the correlation between Nazi salutes that demeaned the victories of African American sprinter Jesse Owens at the Berlin Olympics in 1936, and the anger and hurt that Gay persons and those of us who are not Gay feel as some believe that Russia should be able to host a "successful" winter Olympics without having its anti-lgbtq language and legislation challenged?

Bob Dylan in "Blowin' in the Wind" asked the question; "How many years can some people exist, before they're allowed to be free." The wind is "blowin'", but how long and which way, will it blow?