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Will I Am

​"The will must be stronger than the skill." -- Muhammad Ali

Not unusually, I have chosen this week's quote with intention.

First, let's acknowledge and recognize that we're at the start of Black History Month 2017. Muhammad Ali is one of the greatest Americans of African descent of the 20th century. Culturally, and one could say politically as well, he was ahead of his time, in that he gave a strong, confident, sometimes defiant voice and example to Americans of African descent. I would argue that the emergence of hip-hop music, and the tone of hip hop, grew from that example; and of course many other athletes and leaders also built upon that example.

Second, let's go deeper than personality and skin color to the beliefs and identity of Muhammad Ali: he was a Muslim. In the present sociocultural climate, in which it seems that our own president of the United States seems to be attempting to foment Islamophobia, let's recognize that one of the greatest Americans of the last century was a Muslim.

To some cultural conservatives who may read this, it may be difficult to accept.​ And to any fool who wants to stop the course of history, look around and understand that, due to advances in transportation and communication, we live in a globalized and further globalizing world; a world in which there are 1.6 billion Muslims. In the United States alone, there are 3.3 million Muslims. Until he passed away, Muhammad Ali was one of those, and he was a great American.

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