With the big McGregor and Mayweather fight coming in the following weeks I’ve noticed that a lot of white supremacist are letting their racist rhetoric fly. It has made me think critically about the sport. As a life long sports fan I haven’t really thought about the racism in sports until I read the 40 Million Dollar Slaves (William Rhoden). That book really breaks down the sports industry. Even though the athletes make millions, that is pocket change compared to the amount that the people behind the scenes are making.
Boxing has always been racially divisive. There is something about watching two men beat each other senseless that makes people cheer. However, there is something almost primal about watching a black man and a white man square off. Through the history of the sport, white men have tied their confidence to the ability to beat a black man. It drives them. Any type of degradation to the black body makes them happy. In the days of reconstruction, when black people were destitute, groups of white men would go to share cropping towns and round up boys and take them to a boxing ring. It could be up to ten boys in a ring at one time and the last one standing would be the winner and get what ever pocket change the white supremacist would throw at them. Our first heavy weight champion, Jack Johnson, emerged from that system in Galveston, Texas. After Jack Johnson won the heavy weight belt the first time, there were lynchings all across the country. The boxing capitol was always New York. Coincidentally that’s where King Kong always take place.
Another side of the racism in boxing is the white savior complex. Prime example of that is Mike Tyson and Cus D’Amato. We all know Mike Tyson’s story, he was poor, no structure, and was a street kid. His mother died in his teen years and left him in the custody of his boxing trainer. His boxing trainer is often times credited with turning him around and making him a “Man”. Cus often talked for him in interviews. Mike seemed castrated in their interactions. He was almost like a dog on a leash. You can see the strength, but the leash is not only on his neck, but its also holding back his mind. The thing about Mike Tyson is this, White, Black and Brown loved him. The thing was, people loved seeing him destroy people. White people saw his manager and they knew there was a buffer between the “brute” and the themselves.
The type of fighter Floyd is does not fit well with white peoples fragile ego, he is a showman. Floyd has no problem flaunting his wealth. That burns the middle class white male up, the fact that this black man from Flint, Mi. Has more than they do and they have gone to college. That is why they are rooting for McGregor. American white men are rooting for McGregor, the “working class” Irishman who made a career spewing racist rhetoric about Mexicans and Blacks. They want this white man to knock that “nigger” down a few pegs because Floyd doesn’t know his place. In modern times they cant just go lynch random black people after a Mayweather fight but they can get online and verbally assault him. Look at some of the message boards after any previous Mayweather fight. The white supremacist call him all kinds of nigger and discredit his skill set. McGregor is the great white hope that these people have been waiting for. He embodies white culture, he’s crass, he’s vulgar and he has a way too high of an opinion of himself all in a fitted suit. White men identify with him on a personal level.
Protect ya necks out there,