Writing for the Huffington Post, Zeba Blay lauded and quoted statements that compared white people to “rattlesnakes” and which said that 90% of white people could be racists.
Blay posted a video of Muhammad Ali from 1971 in which Ali said it’s counter-productive to say that not all white people are racist.
In the article, Blay quotes Ali as saying:
There are many white people who mean right and in their hearts wanna do right. If 10,000 snakes were coming down that aisle now, and I had a door that I could shut, and in that 10,000, 1,000 meant right, 1,000 rattlesnakes didn’t want to bite me, I knew they were good… Should I let all these rattlesnakes come down, hoping that that thousand get together and form a shield? Or should I just close the door and stay safe?
In other words, if 1,000 white people are not racist, then a full 9,000 (or 90% of white people) are.
According to Blay, Ali’s response was “perfect,” aptly calling her article “Watch Muhammad Ali’s Perfect Response To ‘Not All White People Are Racist’ — In 1971.”
Then, again in her story, she calls Ali’s comparison of white people to snakes “perfect,” writing, “boxing icon Muhammad Ali perfectly explains why the existence of some “good” white people isn’t always enough.”
She also had no problem with comparing white people to snakes in the first place, as if all white people are venomous killers waiting to strike. It shows Blay’s perception of whites; even if 100% of rattlesnakes don’t bite you, they’re still poisonous predators.
“Allies are obviously appreciated and vital to stopping racial injustice, but Ali’s words are still a pretty powerful reminder of the reality of being black in America,” she concludes. “It’s pretty amazing, if unfortunate, that over 40 years later his words still resonate.”