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The "Heroic" Black Power Fists of the '68 Olympics

Radical chic in a front-page news story.

Reporter Katie Thomas embraced radical chic near the end of her front-page story Tuesday on theprospect forpolitical protests at the 2008 Olympics, hosted by China.


Perhaps the best-known examples are the American sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who at the 1968 Games in Mexico City raised their clenched fists on the medal podium during the playing of the national anthem in a salute to black power. The action enraged the Olympic organizers, and Mr. Carlos and Mr. Smith were soon ushered out of the country. Now, 40 years later, their action is celebrated as heroic.


Raising a "Black Power" fist in defiance of the national anthem is heroic? Radical Pan-African activist Stokely Carmichael, who coined the phrase, said of his movement:


"When you talk of black power, you talk of building a movement that will smash everything Western civilization has created."