Sunday, February 21, 2010

Malcolm X, 1925-1965

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabbazz, better known as Malcolm X, was assassinated 45 years ago today. It's never been conclusively proved who was behind his assassination, whether the government, criminals, or the Muslim faction led by Louis Farrakhan. The world lost a great leader that day; a man of uncompromising principles, and devotion to freedom and justice. Malcolm X's message was never what the white liberal allies of the civil rights movement of the 1960s wanted to hear. He stressed self-defense, and the need for African-Americans to do the right thing for themselves. He vigorously opposed the hypocrisy of US foreign policy in the decolonizing third world. Toward the end of his life he set aside some of his negative views of white people in favor of a spiritually unifying vision inspired by his pilgrimage to Mecca without ever compromising his condemnation of the institutionalized racism so fundamental to American society. Here's an excerpt from his speech of Feb 14, 1965, the week before he was murdered.

Now, the press, behind something like that, they call us racist and people who are "violent in reverse." This is how they psycho you. They make you think that if you try to stop the Klan from lynching you, you're practicing "violence in reverse." Pick up on this, I hear a lot of you all parrot what the [white] man says. You say, "I don't want to be a Ku Klux Klan in reverse." Well, you - heh! -- if a criminal comes around your house with his gun, brother, just because he's got a gun and he's robbing your house, brother, and he's a robber, it doesn't make you a robber because you grab your gun and run him out. No, see, the man is using some tricky logic on you. And he has absolutely got a Ku Klux Klan outfit that goes through the country frightening black people. Now, I say it is time for black people to put together the type of action, the unity, that is necessary to pull the sheet off of them so they won't be frightening black people any longer. That's all. And when we say this, the press calls us "racist in reverse."

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