If I were walking down the street and I overheard somebody talking about how Black men were the greatest thing that God ever created, I’d pause for a minute just to make sure that it was an argument that I’d already heard.
If it were a new argument, I’d pause for a minute longer.
If it were a completely foreign argument, I’d probably stop walking entirely if only to digest and interpret this remarkable and startling bit of perspective.
Such is the seduction of the idea of racial supremacy. Even if you doubt you’ll agree, when the argument’s on your side, you usually find yourself at least obliged to listen.
So when the Nazis came along in the 1920s and ‘30s arguing about the supremacy of blonde haired, blue-eyed whites or “Aryans”, should we really blame white people worldwide for being a little more than intrigued?
These Aryans were, according to Nazi party leader Adolf Hitler, physically and intellectually “supermen” and the only thing that could ruin them was mixing with “inferior races”, Jews most especially.
Hitler might have even looked like he was right for a minute.
His German war machine was chewing up Europe like McNuggets and when young Black upstart Joe Louis finally did face former heavyweight champ Max Schmeling—who also happened to be German—in 1936, Joe got dropped in the 12th.
Two fights later for Joe and he was champ but he said quite memorably, “I don’t want to be called champ until I whip Max Schmeling.”
That took all of the 2 minutes and 2 seconds that the rematch lasted.
Despite being warned by a Nazi publicist that a Black man couldn’t defeat Schmeling and in spite of being used by American president Franklin Delano Roosevelt for propaganda purposes, Joe knocked out the big German in the first round on June 22, 1938.
Meanwhile, two years earlier, with the Summer Olympics being held in Berlin, another young brother brought down all that Aryan nonsense with Hitler in attendance!
Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals—in the 100m sprint, the long jump, 200m sprint, and the 4 X 100m relay—causing Hitler to switch up and claim that people who’s antecedents came from the jungle were primitive, that our physiques were stronger than civilized whites and that we should be excluded from future Olympic games.
The fact is, if Jesse and Joe didn’t prove that the very crux of the Nazi argument was flawed, we might all be wearing Swastikas right now.