Now that Muhammad Ali is dead he has been dubbed "America's Hero". The same America that would not serve him a cheeseburger while wearing the Olympic gold medal that he won while representing her. The same America that labeled him coward and stripped him of his heavyweight championship title because he refused to be inducted and fight in a war that he felt was unjust. This is the same America that has the unmitigated gall to label each and every muslin a terrorist based on the actions of a few extremists, despite the fact that Ali was an avid follower of Islam. It seems as if hypocrisy has become and perhaps always was "as American as apple pie".
It is apparent to me that as long as a black man is no longer considered a threat he can be labeled a hero by society a large. But "The Greatest" will always be one of my heroes, and he was always one of our heroes. He was the first black man outside of my house that made me believe that it was alright to be unapologetically strong, bold, and brave. Ali made me understand that it was okay to give up paper for principles, and he showed millions of us that there was nothing wrong with being black and proud in public.
They're saying that Muhammad Ali transcends race. But that is pure nonsense. This phrase is often used to lay claim to a legacy. People love to pretend that they empathize, sympathize, and support legands after history has glorified their narrative. "The Greatest" did not transcend race! He represented his people! African Americans who were and continue to be discriminated against, disenfranchised, and disemboweled by a system that was not designed to be all inclusive. Muhammad Ali was, is and always will be the greatest fighter of all time, and he never needed gloves to do it.