Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Acting White: Cullen Jones Gets 4x100 Freestyle Gold

Cullen Jones helped the USA win a gold medal in the 4x100 Freestyle Relay. It's easy to be overshadowed by a guy like Michael Phelps who is so utterly dominant. However, Jones represents the spirit of most Olympic champions who make it (or not) to glory by mere fractions of seconds. What's important is how Jones puts it all in a perspective that matters to him. He says if one black kids decides to learn to swim because of him, then it was all worth it. He knows that his quest for excellence and gold is really about getting more kids to swim, thereby saving lives. He is definitely a hero in my book. Go Cullen!

James C. Collier

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2 comments:

Ochyming said...

We should NOT only look at those who looks like us to learn.

African ART, all art from the southern hemisphere revitalized European ART [while European-Americans were copying Italian renascentists, Europeans were digging Southern Asian, African, Japanese art -Pollock was the first American painter to cut the umbilical cord from Europe, looking into JAZZ, and WHAT he bring to this world? - A new form of ART], for me it is NOT appropriation it is enlightenment.
... After all we are individuals.

eddygrrl said...

I have always loved to swim - the first one in the pool as a kid and every birthday party I had from age 7 was a pool party (it helps to be a summer baby). I am also black, and what's most troubling is that more black people are amazed or befuddled enough at my love of the water enough to comment on it. This is more than just looking to someone to learn from (although I think there are some strong points to be made about having role models that 'look' like you), this issues is about perception, both inside and outside "the race" and changing those perceptions to enrich the lives of ALL people. In this specific case, all children should know how to swim - if only for safety (as in Cullen's case, he almost drowned as a child) and if people's perceptions limit any child's access to that knowlege then that is far more dangerous situation than art influences. Cullen recognizes that his identity as a black man can play an important role in exposing minority kids (and their parents) to the pool - not just for safety but also for fun and exercise. I applaud him for the self awarness of his ability to help improve the lives of other young people. He's a hero in my book!