Violent Legacy Continued | National Humanities Center

Humanities Moments

Violent Legacy Continued

July 17, 2020

Noland, Tony (Language Arts/Social Studies Teacher)

War; Violence; Racism; Cultural Relations; Vietnam War; Activists; American History; African American History; Southeast Asian Studies

My moment was a culmination of two. The first was the image or video taken from Muhammad Ali’s comments regarding the Vietnam War. I have played this video many times in class to highlight the conflicting viewpoints and social implications of the Vietnam War. Considering the backlash experienced by Ali followed by his most recent transformation into an iconic symbol of defiance, I and others have used this video mainly to highlight the racial component of sending African Americans to fight wars in foreign countries despite them not being treat equally in America. And as a black man, the most important moment in the video was previously when he says that no Vietcong had ever called him a nigger and that they want him to go fight for them, but they won’t fight for him, Ali, at home. But after watching the video early in the course and creating the map on unexploded ordinance in Laos, my ah hah moment came from connecting Ali’s comments regarding the people in Vietnam to the unexploded ordinance that continues to take the lives of many in Southeast Asia today. In fact, before he speaks on the racial aspects of American society, he talks about the killing of poor, brown, people in a country that has done nothing wrong towards him or any American for that fact. The picture above of the unexploded ordinances that continue to kill children living in Southeast Asia today is testimony to how the legacy of contested territory continues to dramatically influence the lives many in these countries today in a violent way


History / War / Violence / Racism / Cultural Relations / Vietnam War / Activists / American History / African American History / Southeast Asian Studies /

Read More Humanities Moments