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Forgetting Muhammad Ali

MuhammadAli [1]2,583 words

With the death of Muhammad Ali, we must recognize that an important historical figure has finally left us. He didn’t “make” history the way an influential politician, scientist, or military figure would. Rather, he transcended his profession to the point of being a sign of his very turbulent times. In the 1960s and ’70s, everyone had an opinion of him. Further, that opinion meant something. Muhammad Ali staked out a very controversial political position early in his career, more or less stuck with it when the chips were down, and waited for the rest of us to catch up. And unfortunately, that’s exactly what we did.

From a white nationalist standpoint, there’s a lot of good and bad about Ali — most of it bad. But let’s start with the good.

Ali was, above all else, a highly successful prizefighter. Had he not been successful, he would have been ultimately forgotten outside of boxing circles regardless of his political opinions. How many of us remember Eddie Machen or Cleveland Williams? These were two top heavyweight contenders during the 1960s. Excellent fighters, both, but more or less forgotten today. Even heavyweight champions such as Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston are remembered only dimly in the popular mind, and I suspect mostly because they both fought Ali.

I can state with confidence that Ali was the greatest heavyweight boxer who ever lived. No heavyweight could match a prime Ali for skill, speed, durability, stamina, and resourcefulness. From 1965 until his government-imposed exile in 1967 for refusing the draft, Ali possessed the tools to defeat all of the smaller, flatfooted heavyweight greats who preceded him (Rocky Marciano, Joes Louis, Gene Tunney, Jack Dempsey). The ones who had the skills to match Ali were either too small (Ezzard Charles, a former light-heavyweight) or had their records peppered with losses and draws (Jack Johnson).

Ali ruled the roost in the 1970s during a true golden age of heavyweight boxing. And this was after his prime. Joe Frazier, Floyd Patterson, Oscar Bonavena, Ken Norton, George Foreman, George Chuvalo, Ron Lyle, Earnie Shavers . . . this was a real murder’s row of bruisers, and Ali beat them all. Sure, he had some close shaves later in his career (Jimmy Young and the Norton rubber match, for example). Suffice to say, however, the only heavyweight who ever decisively beat Muhammad Ali in a meaningful bout (Larry Holmes) used to be Ali’s sparring partner.

As for the later greats (Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, and the Klitchko brothers, I really think that Ali could have outboxed them while handling their power. Regardless, watching Ali box in his prime was a thing to behold. Youtube has immortalized him, of course. Here is a taste. Ali connecting on journeyman Brian London with 11 punches in 3 seconds [2].

Amazing if you’re into this sort of thing.

Another good thing about Ali was his sense of humor. I’m sure we all remember his bantering with Howard Cosell and fiddling with the man’s toupee. And there’s his clever doggerel poetry.

The crowd did not dream
When they put down their money
That they would see
A total eclipse of the Sonny!

Indeed, much of Ali’s boasting and “I am the greatest” business was over time top and very entertaining. It did a lot to promote his fights, even if most of the crowds early on wanted to see him lose. He also released a spoken-word record album in 1963. This was before his conversion to Islam when he was still known as Cassius Clay. It was called . . . you guessed it . . . I Am the Greatest. It was mostly tongue in cheek. At one point he assesses his poetry skills by boasting “Keats! Shelley! I whup all of ‘em!” Elsewhere in the recording, a woman in the audience asks him, “Mr. Clay, have you ever been in love?” And Clay responded, “Not with anybody else!”

Love him or hate him, that’s pretty funny. And for an athlete, let alone a great one, this is a very rare thing. Here he is doing some pretty good stand-up comedy [3] on the Dean Martin Show in the mid-1970s.

Finally, Ali had a conservative/racist streak that I’m sure many white nationalists would appreciate. He steadfastly opposed black-white miscegenation. He once refused a $400,000 offer to play the lead in the film adaptation of The Great White Hope, a highly fictionalized biopic of Jack Johnson, the first Negro world heavyweight champion (the role ultimately went to James Earl Jones). Johnson was notorious for his taste in white women, and Ali stated bluntly that he “wouldn’t appear on no screen with no white women.” And this was during his exile, when he needed the money.

Ali didn’t always stay on the leftist script and occasionally expressed a sense of race-realism that was pretty shocking even then. For example, after beating George Foreman in Zaire, the champ was asked what he thought of Africa. Ali responded by saying “Thank God my great grand-daddy got on that boat!!” We all know he referred to Joe Frazier as a ‘gorilla’ before their rubber match in the Philippines in 1976. ‘Gorilla,’ of course, rhymes with ‘thrilla’ and ‘chilla’ and ‘Manilla.’ So how could Ali resist likening a black man to a lower primate species for the sake of a good poem? Then again, he repeated the insult [4] in 2001, so maybe it wasn’t just about rhyming after all.

It would be unfair of me not to note that, other than during the heady days of the Civil Rights Movement in the late 1960s, Ali got along pretty well with whites and seemed pretty comfortable with us, especially as he got older. Later in the 1970s, he started to pal around with mainstream celebrities and was pretty chummy with President Ford in the White House. White people began to like him.

In 2009, Ali even went to Ireland [5] to visit the hometown of his maternal great-grandfather Abe Grady. Not that it would have cost him anything to do this, but he did claim that he was proud of his Irish heritage.

The bad about Muhammad Ali, however, overshadows all of this. We, as white nationalists, should never forget the damage this man did, not only to our country and culture but to our race as well.

First, to our country. Refusing to be inducted in the draft during the Vietnam War was one thing, but declaring that he “had no quarrel with the Vietcong” or that no Vietcong ever called him “nigger” was stupid and offensive. Ali, of course, was completely ignorant of the atrocities committed by the Vietcong and of any reasons why the United States would oppose such a loathsome foe. After all, he really wasn’t as intelligent as he let on. In 1964, a month before he won the title, he scored in the 16th percentile in the army’s fairly simple induction exam (30th percentile was passing). Many of the questions were ding-dong dumb, like this one:

A man works from six in the morning to three in the afternoon with one hour for lunch. How many hours did he work?
A. 7
B. 8
C. 9
D. 10

Petros Spanakos, an Olympic teammate of Ali’s, attested to Ali’s stupidity. He said that Ali (then Clay) had such difficulty writing letters home he (Spanakos) had to write them for him.

Suffice to say, public high school graduate Cassius Clay was probably not terribly familiar with George Kennan’s X Article and probably couldn’t do a comparative analysis of Containment versus Deterrence and other Cold War foreign policy concepts. He opened his big mouth anyway. By making his clueless statements about the Vietcong and then standing by them, Ali renounced any fealty to all the other young American men of his generation (black and white) who heeded the call out of a sense of patriotism or duty. Ali had none of that, and was rightfully shamed for it. Whether he realized it or not, he was encouraging other young men to do the same thing. And, of course, that’s what they did.

Not only this, but his statements somehow placed the Vietcong on a higher moral plane than that of the segregationist whites he grew up with. It’s as if to say he had a reason to have a fight whitey, because they called him names, whereas the Vietcong were better than that. Yes, they refrained from using racial epithets while slaughtering people by the tens of thousands in the name of their communist utopia. Such a comment from a well-known professional athlete should be considered treasonous during a time of war. It was just what the left needed to get Western civilization to start eating itself.

Another way Ali helped accomplish this was by telling a whopper of a lie [6] in his 1975 autobiography. It was edited by the execrable Toni Morrison, so this should come as no surprise. In the second chapter, entitled “Gold Medal,” the man who fifteen years prior could not successfully write his own letters home, relates a harrowing scene in which then gold medalist Cassius Clay and some friends faced off with white racists on a bridge over the Ohio River. The whites were armed and wanted trouble, with one of them referring to Clay as “Olympic Nigger.” If one of Clay’s friends hadn’t captured the whites’ leader and put a switchblade to his throat, the whites would have opened fire on Clay and his friends.

After the altercation, Clay suddenly became disillusioned with the gold medal which he still wore. In some big, moralistic epiphany, he tore it off his neck and tossed it into the river, clearly indicating that such an award was worthless when he was still treated like a second-class citizen in his own country. When his friend asked him why he did it, he said, “It wasn’t real gold. It was phony.”

It’s a great story. But it’s a lie. None of it happened. Ali, dingbat that he was, simply misplaced his medal. It’s a pernicious story because it maligned whites in order to make some political statement about horrible America is. But if America is so bad, why did he have to lie about it?

Ali (or Toni Morrison or Richard Durham, his co-writer) lied about it because Muhammad Ali was a tool of the anti-whiteLleft which wanted nothing more than to tear apart the racial cohesion of American whites. Prior to the 1960s, America was primarily a white country, which employed many white cultural elements to bind its people together as a nation. Any strong, healthy society needs this as well as a belief in its own greatness. More than this, however, it needs a certain number of young men willing to fight and die for the nation as a whole. Men are less likely to do this if they believe their society or their nation is not great. Ali’s most consequential accomplishment in life, more so than anything he did in the ring, was to help tear down the idea that the United States was a great nation. Sadly, we’re still feeling the effects of this today.

Ali’s negative cultural impact can still be seen as well. Thanks to Ali, many athletes today trash talk. When modern boxers and mixed martial artists celebrate their victories in vulgar, uninhibited displays, they’re emulating Ali. Prior to Ali, athletes, especially champions, more often than not were humble in victory and respectful to their vanquished opponents. That was the norm. Now, unfortunately, it is not. To be fair, Ali chilled out by the 1970s and was always gracious in defeat. But the damage had been done in the 1960s, and it was a lot of damage.

Ali could also be very ugly. He taunted his opponents, especially early on. Of course, the things he said to Joe Frazier are legendary. He called Floyd Patterson an “Uncle Tom” and “White man’s nigger” during their first fight. To George Foreman, he promised, “I’m gonna beat your Christian ass, you white flag-waving bitch, you!” (Remember that Foreman angered the left — especially the black left — in 1968 when he waved an American flag after winning Olympic gold.)

As far as Ali’s racial impact, he was a leading part of the brown tide against white hegemony in America, which reached a head in the late 1960s. All the counter-culture types thought he was cool. And, of course, all but the most old-fashioned, Christian blacks loved him. That he scorned his “Christian name” Clay for the exotic sounding Muhammad Ali, was certainly a dig at white, Christian America. So was joining the black Muslims, an unheard of thing in the 1960s. (Ali’s trainer Angelo Dundee was so oblivious at the time, he thought the word “muslim” referred to a type of cloth.) Of course, Clay knew or said nothing about how historically Muslims were more barbaric, more warlike, and more enthusiastic slave owners and traders than Christians ever were. In 1964, when Clay converted to Islam, slavery was still legal in Saudi Arabia, the center of the Muslim world.

Then there’s the overt, anti-white racism of the Black Muslims. Whites are blue-eyed devils. Whites are depraved. Whites are oppressors. Et cetera. Et cetera. Ali may not have spouted that nonsense himself, but the fact he remained a devout Muslim for the rest of his life casts doubt on his true feelings towards whites. How the liberal media was able to ju-jitsu that highly racist and conservative factoid out of all their Ali hagiographies was actually quite deft. Whites shouldn’t get too bent out of shape over Ali’s racism. After all, whites deserve it. So, if you’re white and want to like Muhammad Ali, then you’ll need to kick back a dose of self-hatred. Don’t worry, it’s good for you. Indeed, Muhammad Ali helped make anti-white racism cool.

As bad as all this is, Muhammad Ali worst racial impact upon whites is negrophilia. Yes, worship of the black man, the numinous Negro. Ali was one of the first black celebrities of any kind who captured the imaginations of young, draft-card burning white kids who were itching to rebel against the man. He was tall, handsome, charming, and reasonably well-spoken. He spoke at colleges and held his own in discussions with Bill Buckley and others. He stayed true to his convictions, even when he could have kept making big money as a prizefighter. This is real superhero territory for naïve white kids who were enamored with the left and needed cultural icons to revere. Perhaps the epitome of Ali worship can be found in Norman Mailer’s The Fight. Don’t read it. It’s terrible. Mailer basically treats Ali like a demigod. Much of the book is nauseating.

If there is one good thing that comes out of all this: Muhammad Ali is proof that multiracial societies, especially ones that contain large numbers of blacks, cannot function well. Cassius Clay, by all accounts, had a privileged childhood in America (compared to most of the rest of the world), he reached vertiginous heights in his chosen profession, and he found tremendous wealth and glory. He should have been grateful to the nation which enabled him to do these things. Yet, when it mattered most, he sided with his nation’s enemies. Why? Because he placed racial allegiances before national ones. And this is how it always is. Race trumps all. A nation with conflicting racial loyalties within its borders will never be strong and will never last long.

Muhammad Ali was undoubtedly a great boxer. But for racially conscious whites, his life story should be an even greater lesson.