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Olympic Fever

Posted July 28th, 2012 by

It is hard not to get caught up in Olympic fever, especially when the whole world is watching. It drew me in on the first night… I watched the opening ceremony.

Having an interest in many things British (including the genealogy of the Scottish men who enslaved people on both sides of my family),  I was most curious to see how Britain would portray its history.

I was impressed with the inclusion of so many non-Anglo-Saxon people. The rainbow of skin colors showed a conscious effort to depict the diversity of England’s “children.” The role reversals of their characters though was off putting as they portrayed the protagonists who victimized them.

I guess you can’t blame England for putting its best face forward — projecting the GOOD side of all they did to the world rather than bringing up the uglies of Empire. The cavalcade jumped straight from sheep herding to the Industrial Revolution with not even a nod at slavery, conquest and colonization.

I enjoyed the tribute to the Beatles. I LOVED seeing a body double of the Queen bail out of James Bond’s helicopter. As the nations paraded around the stadium I alternately cheered and cried for the countries I know and love.

I can’t help but wonder what was on her mind as the Queen cast her dour countenance over the entire proceedings; picking her nails as her subjects marched in.

Maybe she was thinking about the Olympic protest in 1908 when an Irish American athlete refused to dip the flag because her great grandfather would not recognize Irish independence. I KNOW she wasn’t thinking about 1936 when Jesse Owens pissed Hitler off as he sprinted into history or 1968 when  John Carlos and Tommie Smith raised a Black Power salute to the world. (These are things I was thinking about as I watched the spectacle of 2012.)

It is clear that Gather at the Table is a call that needs to reach far beyond the borders of the United States. The wounds of slavery and racism are worldwide. They are not something the Olympics can cure.

Now, let’s see who wins what!

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Copyright 2012 by Thomas Norman DeWolf and Sharon Leslie Morgan | All Rights Reserved | Website: James DeW. Perry ITT