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Published 03.08.2015 | Author : admin | Category : The Respect Principle Pdf

The grandson of slaves and the son of share croppers, Jesse Owens was raised in a family in which he was expected to pick 100 pounds of cotton a day by the age of seven. Unsurprisingly, the German attitude towards Owens and his fellow African American teammates was extremely negative. Perhaps most remarkable about this event is the man who won the silver medal behind Owens, a German named Luz Long.During the competition, he gave Owens advice on his jumps, helping him qualify for the final after a rough start for the American.
Owens would go on to win two more gold medals in the 200 meter dash and the 4×100 meter relay.
Following his emergence as an American Olympic hero, Jesse Owens returned home to much fan fare and celebration. Looking back, it is amazing to think of our country’s social attitude at this time, and it makes one wonder if we were any better than the Nazis. Thankfully, Jesse Owens is remembered today as one of the greatest Olympians of all time, a man who shattered racial barriers and proved to Hitler and other Americans that racial supremacy is nonexistent, and that anyone can become champion with hard work and perseverance, regardless of the color of their skin. At least, they were supposed to be, until a 22 year old African American sprinter named Jesse Owens decided to show up and become the first Olympian ever to win four gold medals. As he grew older and began to attend high school, he soon emerged as a dominant and extremely gifted track athlete. Then, when Owens bested him to win the event, Long was the first to congratulate him, proving that not all Germans shared Hitler’s racist beliefs.

Rumor has it that Hitler was so incensed by this triumph that he stormed out of the Olympic stadium, and that he later snubbed Owens by refusing to congratulate him or shake his hand.
An African American was able to become the greatest athlete in the world and represent his country on the international stage, and yet he was still treated as an outcast due to the color of his skin.
You see, Hitler had been using the international spotlight of Germany’s Olympics to proclaim his ideals of Aryan supremacy to the world. Due to such athletic prowess, he went on to attend Ohio State and set four world records as a track star there. This did nothing to deter Owens in his pursuit of victory, however, and he went on to win his first gold medal in the 100 meter dash against his fellow African American, Ralph Metcalfe. Ultimately, he was angered by Owens’ success and the fact that a black man had been able to upend his prominent philosophies.
He may have been an American hero, but in the eyes of those around him he was still a black man and thus inferior. Indeed, when he was winning he was an American to his fellow countrymen, yet when he returned home he was viewed first and foremost as a black man. His abundant propaganda was challenged, however, when Jesse Owens established himself as the dominant athlete of the Games and proved that the white race was in no way superior. Indeed, during his junior year he entered 42 track and field events and won every single one of them.

The next day, he went on to compete in the long jump, capturing the gold in that event as well.
This attitude is perhaps best characterized by Owens’ experience at a dinner that was being held in his honor. Owens recognized this, and in later years he publicized his discrimination not by the Germans at the Olympics, but at home by other Americans. It was only a matter of time before he arrived in Berlin to compete on the world’s stage as an Olympian. After all, Jesse Owens was a black man from America who had defeated Hitler’s fellow Germans on their own soil. He was allowed to stand before the crowd present and accept the applause on his behalf, yet when it came time for the meal to be served, he was asked to leave because it was not considered socially acceptable for a black man to eat alongside whites.
What is most intriguing, however, is the way Owens was treated upon his return home to America as a four time Olympic champion.
Additionally, despite the fact that nearly everyone in the country knew his name and face, no endorsements came his way following the Olympics.

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