Australian Punished for Supporting John Carlos and Tommie Smith Finally Honored

Photo Credit: The National Museum, Flickr

Article below by the Associated Press.  Peter Norman was the Australian who received the silver medal at the 1968 Olympics, and engaged in subtle support of John Carlos and Tommie Smith as they protested racism during the national anthem by raising their fist.  Norman had apparently been ostracized and punished by the Australian government for his efforts, and now Australia wants to make things right.  While I believe it is important to recognize Norman’s support, John Carolos and Tommie Smith are the heroes here. A white man wearing a badge that, while upsetting his government, is not comparable to what John Carlos and Tommie Smith did or suffered. There is constantly an effort to shine the spotlight on white people when it comes to Black activism, whether it’s making them the white savior, or otherwise seeking to make the point that not all whites are “bad people;” which is irrelevant because supporting the system of racism is not dependent on whether one is considered a “bad person.” That being said, the Australian government has done the rght thing by apologizing for refusing to send Norman to the 1972 Olympics, and now honoring his decision to support our Black heroes. 

SYDNEY (AP) – Peter Norman, the Australian sprinter who shared the podium with Americans Tommie Smith and John Carlos and backed their Black Power salutes at the 1968 Mexico City Games, was posthumously given his country’s highest Olympic award Saturday for his “brave stand” 50 years ago.

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