Straight No Chaser: Ali’s Impact

By Desi Cortez
Updated: March 5, 2008

DENVER — Ain’t no Viet-Cong called me Nigger…

I like that, it’s both sharp and blunt. That’s the answer Michelle Obama should have threw at them when the press started to question her blind loyalty to Coke, Boeing, Corvettes and mom’s apple pie.

Muhammad Ali, the greatest, of all times, employed this Vulcan logic as the reason why he chose not to be a pawn in the conflict of his era, the Viet-Nam War. It was good enough for Ali, it’s good enough for Michelle Obama.

Ali’s analysis sums-up the complexity of the Black man’s odd predicament; one of being the only forced immigrant, in a land of willing immigrants. A nation of Euro-immigrants who one and all despised the Black man, up until the Black Power movement prompted politicians to sit down and make token concession to pacify the hostiles.

Blacks were begrudgingly permitted to be citizens, and still today — we struggle to maintain second class citizenship with every new immigrant off the boat. These are two obvious facts to both the blue-collar black man and the educated professional. Everyday, everyday millions of black folks ask themselves; “How does my country feel about me, and how do I feel about my country…?”

Right now, for the very first time in my life — I was born a year into JFK’s. abbreviated term – I’m proud of America. And I say that without hesitation, with both clarity and conviction. For the very, very first time I’m proud of who and what Americans are standing up for.

I could say I was proud when Neal A. Armstrong and Buzz Aldrine walked on the moon. But even that event is tainted; NASA was an all White guy operation….from the Mercury 7 on.

America is a collection of contradictions.

This love it or leave it mentality is a ignorant yet arrogant request by mainstream USA (Whites folks), both Democrats and Republicans. Michelle Obama – the wife of Senator Barrack Obama, or, any Afro-American for that point, must be proud, damn proud of the USA.

Understand this Ricky Bobby — only a smidgen , perhaps a Hobbit’s handful of Black folks would even claim to profess they were proud of this country during the first two, two-and-a-half , maybe even three centuries of this nations existence.

American History 101 bares out our dismay.

The Hellish horrors of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and plantation life. Unarguably indefensible. Crispus Attacks dying at Bunker Hill for …. the land of freedom…for who, and liberty… for who? The cold-shoulder given to abolitionists and free Blacks during this era by the “good white folks” up-North illustrates the widespread hatred for Blacks.

And, you can forget trying to persuade most Blacks, at least any who’ve picked-up a book or watched the History Channel – the Civil War was fought to free the slaves. Please. Even those of us with an public education… understand States Rights is a shady term. The Southern states wanted the right to maintain slavery, i.e. free labor.

The U.S., led by President Lincoln, by no means were engaged in this bloody-battle because they wanted Blacks to be able to go to school, work or live side-by-side with Blacks. No, the North wanted to eliminate the economic advantage southern industries maintained.

Freedom, equality and inclusion for blacks – apart of the American Dream? No, that was not Lincoln’s cause or aim. The freed African slaves were merely a by-product of the Civil War, not anywhere near the goal.

Black Codes, Jim Crow, the years when the term riot, referred to Whites attacking Blacks, destroying whole towns, burning it to the ground. Raping and pillaging The separate and unequal years leading up to WWII. Are these the good ol days Ms. Obama and other blacks should look back fondly on?

Little Rock, George Wallace, The Civil Rights era, the turbulent 60′s. An illegal police-action in Viet-Nam being fueled by emptying the ghetto? The 70′s and volatile school bussing. The strategic exportation of breadwinner jobs overseas, i.e, the devastation of Black America.

Ain’t no Viet-Cong called me Nigger.

I’d argue there’s not a damn thing about the systematic elimination of Marcus Garvey, Malcolm and Martin, which endures this nation to me. The eradication of Huey P. and the Black Panther Party, the chaining and gaging of Bobby Seal. The war against Angela Davis. And when I consider the treatment of the Red man; Crazy Horse, Geronimo, Cochise, Sitting Bull.

The No Dogs – No Mexicans signs. The Japanese interment Camps.The Stars and Stripes flew over atrocities we can’t discuss in front of children and old folks.

In light of a-l-l this, I’m utterly bewildered, stupefied, I just don’t blinking get it. How could Black Americans be asked to disregard the story of this nation? Am I not to believe Ronald Reagan, strategically launched the current angry White male movement in Philadelphia Mississippi, created the Republican Resistance.

That’s who the Bushes’ are spokesmen for, the aristocrats – who’re pimping and exploiting the fears and insecurities of the rank and file Rednecks. They’ve come together to fight the gains of FDR’s New Deal, MLK’s Civil Rights era victories, LBJ’s Great Society, the struggle for Black Power, for the humanization of the Black race.

Granted I understand these irrespuable facts are, one and all, relegated to ancient pre-historic history, but what about today, right here and now:

Affirmative Action, just speaking those 2 words will raise the hair on the backs’ of most white folks. The glass ceiling surely still exist for people of color and women. Income disparity resulting from a crippled public education system is the norm, coast to coast. The consequences and repercussions of Iran-Contra-Compton-Crack-gate on a entire generation is well documented.

Driving while Black - still a crime in all 50 states… and Guam., Ever experience shopping while Black? For some Blacks, haling a cab is an epic adventure. Police brutality, and executions of young Blacks is not uncommon – some shot 20, 30, 40 times. For- profit prisons – fueled by Republican mandated harsh sentencing. Red-Lining is alive and well within the Real Estate industry today.

And here America finds itself at a crossroads, holding our breath, afraid the better Senator Obama does, the higher the risk, the greater the chance the establishment has him killed. Blame it on some good ol’ boy…. The possibility of cities ablaze in the summertime, Haliburton, Kellogg, Root & Brown – keeping the New Orleans post-Katrina style of martial law. It’s all tragically possible in this land I’m suppose to be so very proud of.

Now, I’m suppose to be proud of this frying-pan some call a melting pot?

I know, I get it. I’m suppose to just be thankful I’m not running around butt-naked in deepest, darkest Africa, chasing my dinner, my dinner chasing me. That’s the nonsensical racist rubbish you and I are suppose to think.

Black Americans have always appreciated the American Dream. The ideas and concepts this land of liberty professes to aspire to. We’re in love with the Disney version of what the USA could be, as is most of the world. And because of that blind love, we’ve bled for this nation, sacrificed for a nation which treated Nazi POW’s better than Black Tuskegee Airman…

This nation ought to recall the sacrifices of Colored Rosie-the-Riveters, Buffalo Soldiers, Black Doughboys….?

So to imply that because Mrs. Obama has not been proud of a country which in her lifetime wouldn’t allow her mother in a Las Vegas Strip hotel…? This demand is the height of white ostentatiousness, on both sides of the political aisle. I’m insulted by the audacity of the demand.

How dare White America!? Remember, “ain’t no Viet-Cong called me Nigger!”

I’ll require some enlightenment in-order to grasp this horse-crap. Black folks must maintain some high, visible level of enthusiasm for this nation. Walk around wearing Ol’Glory lapel pins?


We can feel any goddamn way we want. We earned that. 400 years of providing the free blood, sweat and tears to construct an empire. Before there were illegal immigrants and the world’s refugees — Black folks were opening hotel doors, toting luggage, raising White folks babies, that was Black folks only job. We did all the dirty work and the heavy lifting. You’re goddam right. Get it twisted right, we built this land – stolen from the American Indian and Mexico.

While in the meantime, Africa was raped, repeatedly by unbridled colonialism. How dare people talk of the pitiful plight of Africa. She was set up for failure, and left for dead.

Sorry, I got side-tracked, that’s another continent, another story. I get slightly ….pissed when someone orders an entire race to grin, smile and proclaim our love for a nation – which never loved us. It’s like when your mother would grap you up around your triceps, snatch you to within a few inches of her face, and whisper to you, “you’ll do it – and you’ll like it.”

Turn off the waterworks baby, they don’t move me no more.

My mother earned the right to treat me like that. The Republican Party, the Blue-Dog Republicans, the Reagan-Democrats… Take it somewhere else. The cry’s for respect and acknowledgment, this demand for blind patriotism – I consider the source. Red-neck Chicken-hawks.