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Jesse Owens, a black American athlete wins his fourth gold medal, but Hitler wouldn't shake his hand.
(With the 1939 Olympics, Hitler hoped to prove that the blond, blue-eyed Germans truly were the "master race." Owens' victory challenged Hitler's belief.)
Rudy was really impressed with Owens and decides to rub charcoal all over his body and ride his brother's bike to the track.
A crowd forms.
Rudy begins to run, and the crowd cheers him on, "chanting […] Jessie Owens" (9.12). Rudy begins to race his imaginary opponents.
Things are great until he gets to the finish lines and finds his father waiting—dad is not very pleased.
Rudy tells his father he "was being Jesse Owens" (9.21).
On the way home, Mr. Steiner tells Rudy that he can't pretend to be black any more, or the Nazis will "take him away" (9.36).
In these time, Mr. Steiner tries to explain, wanting to be black or Jewish was dangerous.
Rudy wants to know what it means to be Jewish.
His father says, "It's like being German or Catholic" (9.44).
(A person is Jewish if he/she comes from a Jewish family, or if a person converts to Judaism. In this way, Judaism is like Catholicism. But, being Jewish isn't like being German. Being German simply means a person is a German citizen. Many Jews were German citizens, but under the Nazi regime, these Jews were no longer considered Germans.)
Rudy says he does want to be like Jessie Owens.
His father says he's lucky to have blue eyes and blond hair.