African-American athletes full of accomplishment and grace

BRATTLEBORO — If it weren't for our African-American brethren representing this country in Rio, where would our Olympic medal count be? Much much lower than our current grand first-place standing.

And yet, these young athletes, and their sisters and brothers cheering them on in the stands, in their ordinary lives are subject to suspicions and violence from those in positions of power far in excess of the white population back home. The irony!

Further, for the most part, these athletes seem full of gratitude and grace. (We now have the contrast with their white counterparts in the form of Ryan Lochte and friends.) They thank the United States. And it seems genuine! Extraordinary.

The white world may take a lesson from these gracious athletes. I'm sure there is plenty wrong in the Black communities across this country; we can debate how much is the country's fault for years of turning its back and how much the community itself might be to blame.

But to me, it is a glowing example of forgiveness that these athletes are able to thank and embrace this country, which has wronged them for so many centuries.

And we, in turn, should have great gratitude for these athletes - and for the culture and communities that produced them.

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