Malcolm X – May 19, 1925- February 21, 1965

21 Feb

Today is the 45th Anniversary of Malcolm X’s assasination in Manhattan.

Malcolm X is remembered as perhaps one of the greatest and one of the most influential African-American men.

Malcolm X brought to light important political issues around Race, Capitalism, and Politics that many people today still have not made connections with. He called out the inherent connections between Capitalism and Racism. He talked about how the Democrats were no more useful to People of Color than Republicans.

While the blame for his assassination is still up in the air to some extent, between the folks who actually served prison time, local drug dealers, local cops, CIA/FBI, or just COINTELPRO actions in general, the bottom line is that a dynamic and influential Black man was murdered for his beliefs and his activism.

Malcolm X deserves to be remembered and honored for all of the work he put in around issues including race in America and the world.

Take a minute today to think about Malcolm and maybe use that opportunity to reflect on racism and privilege in America and your community today.

Malcolm’s ability to call it as he see it was remarkable. He  said; “it’s impossible for a white person today to believe in capitalism and not believe in racism” adding that “you can’t have capitalism without racism.”

Malcolm X was all about Direct Action and organizing to make the world more just. And he wasn’t scared to suggest that violence might be an effective and necessary tactic.  He said:

“…. It is a duty, it is your and my duty, as men, as human beings, it’s our duty to our people, to organize ourselves. Let the government know if they don’t stop that Klan, we’ll stop it ourselves. Then you’ll see the government start doing something about it. But don’t ever think they are going to do it on some morality basis, no. So I don’t believe in violence, that’s why I want to stop it.”

He also spoke on the issue of Police Brutality. So powerful.

“This black man was shot through the heart by Police men in Los Angeles, California, and they are dumb enough to think we have forgotten it. Well, a Muslim never forgets. You don’t kill our brother! We don’t never forget! You don’t shoot one of us and then grin in our face. You don’t shoot one of us and then shake our hands and think we’d forget it. No, we never forget, we’ll never forget! Someone has to pay. Somewhere, somehow, someone has to pay. When a snake bites your children, you don’t go and look for the snake that has blood on it’s jaws, any old snake will do. Any old snake will do! …. I’m telling you, the only way you get justice is in the street. The only way you get justice is in the sidewalk. The only way you get justice is when you make justice for yourself.”

These are issues we STILL face today. These are issues we STILL have to fight on. These are issues we STILL have to take accountability for.

We don’t have to rebuild the wheel every time though. There were smart people before us with brilliant analysis of the problems and potential solutions. Malcolm X is one of those people. Honor Malcolm X and others like him by standing up to racism, to capitalism, to White Privilege. Call it like you see it. Don’t believe the lies coming from any politician, Black, White, Democrat or Republic. Find justice, make justice, force justice. No one is going to give us what we need because we ask nicely.

Never Forget Malcolm X. Never Forget all of our comrades who have been murdered and assassinated because of their ideas, convictions, and beliefs.

6 Responses to “Malcolm X – May 19, 1925- February 21, 1965”

  1. Michael February 21, 2010 at 8:16 pm #

    I am a black man, and I will tell you that Malcom X was a bigger idiot than any of you can remember. Capitalism is what MAKES this nation a place where you MIGHT be able to get rid of racism one day. Socialism, and this great “idea” that equal opportunity births hard working success stories is just a lazy concept. HARD WORK, whether its on the streets, in the classroom, at your waitress job or in your 500 sqare foot office is the only thing that births opportunity and success. Black men and white men are each entitled to an application to Harvard University and each can write in English. Each is entitled to a scholarship. Each reads the same textbooks, is in school the same hours, and takes the same tests. Each is capable of understanding the demands and costs of college and experience. Each has parents that can be leaders and guidance counselors for their own children. Malcom X might have had some influence then. But in today’s world, his ideas don’t apply. And if you think they do, you are just another American looking to be “entitled” to someone else’s hard earned dollar just because you think you were underpriveledged. If you feel that way, then swear to yourself that you won’t let YOUR children face those challenges. Don’t talk about it, BE ABOUT IT.
    I am 68 year old Black Man, President of a prominent University in the United States, and former city Mayor. I’ll be retiring soon and traveling the world with my wife. I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, grew up on the 5th floor of my project apartment building, shared a bedroom with 4 of my brothers, failed every class I ever took in High School, dealt drugs from 1960 to 1970, and even spent a few nights in jail. I didn’t ask for Malcom’s help. I didn’t need it. And nothing he ever said or did made me get out of that rut. I got out, because I decided to show the world I was good at anything I put my mind to. Malcom got out because all he did was talk about what the world owed him.

  2. Jon February 22, 2010 at 12:40 am #

    Michael, as a black man, how could you say those words? A successful black man always get the lines blurred. Yes you made your achievements in your lifetime but what have you given back to your community. The system is created to make black men like you who sit and point figures at the outspoken man with ideas and theories. But yet you read your write editors thoughts in Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal and accept it for what it is. Simply because you believe you are in their economic class or group. Our people have always bickered, slandered, and disgraced our own people. Your thoughts seem to mirror Tiger’s. A man who felt “accepted” by the white community only to find that when in his troubled state of affairs, the white community backlashed against him. Trust me, they didn’t reprimand him as much as they wanted to, he’s too valuable to the sport.
    At least for our children, watch what you say. Our children need to know the importance of their leaders. Lessons can be learned not only from the fight for equality and justice, but as to standing up for what is right as well. To never be fearful of your own voice.
    So next time Michael, before you slander your fellow brother who fought and died for rights you still don’t have today(terrorism policies?), think of the whole picture. Do you really need more house negroes? No. We need more strong black men who is about bringing our community together and taking back what is rightfully ours.

  3. S. Hill February 22, 2010 at 12:58 am #

    To Michael,

    I believe that everybody is entitled to their opinion so I can respect that. I also commend you on the obstacles you overcame and the accomplishments you have made. I agree that many of what Mr. Malcolm X said probably wouldn’t apply today, but many of the opportunities us blacks are afforded today, we didn’t have back then so in my opinion Malcolm was speaking on what was going on in the world then. Somebody had to be a spokesperson for us among many others such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Though some of his views were a bit extreme, at least he had the courage to speak for blacks. Instead of calling him names on his 45th death anniversary, we should be reflecting on his efforts and showing a little bit more respect for those who have tried to help pave the way for us.

  4. Kevin February 22, 2010 at 1:36 am #

    Capitalism is a system like any other economic system. Capitalism can be employed in the service of any political system, from Communism to Fascism. But, when capitalism is employed in the service of a so-called Democracy, the way it has been in the US, it is the cruelest kind of joke. We have some semblance of equality in daily life yet the true benefactors are the monied corporations and those that hold an economic stake in them.

    If there are not people strong enough to speak their minds and point out where the system is wrong, when it denies basic rights to any of its citizens and especially when it destroys human dignity, as it did to minority groups back in Malcolm’s day, then the system is rotten at its heart and must be resisted.

    This is the importance of Malcolm X. It is the context in which to remember him. He was not just another person looking for “entitlement” as Michael puts it.
    He was not just talking about what the world owed him. He died trying to advance his ideals.

    He saw black citizens being denied access to rights in this country and set himself against the economic system employed to carry that out. Blacks at this time were still being lynched in the south! By speaking up against the cruelty of a capitalist system that kept the poor of all races down and pitted against each other in class warfare, he was speaking for everyone. Malcolm X wasn’t speaking for himself, or just for blacks. He was pointing out the iniquities of an economic system where the rich get richer and the poor are forgotten.

    Michael, you can thank people like Malcolm X for what he did to allow you to succeed today. But, while important progress has been made in basic human rights for all citizens, the same capitalist system is employed today for the purpose of an ever increasing transfer of wealth to the super rich and away from the middle class and the poor.

    Congratulations on your impending retirement. I sincerely hope you enjoy your travels with your wife. When you are in Europe notice how the Socialist aspect to the political system there has used Capitalism in its service differently than in the U.S. Socialism is not a bad word there. In Europe, people have access to universal healthcare. Healthcare there is a right! When you go to the far-east; Japan, Taiwan, etc.-same thing. In fact all the truly advanced economies recognize healthcare as a right for everyone. Here in the U.S., we are not so highly developed, not so civilized.

    I, like you, worked hard to get where I am today. I am a 56 year old white man. I must tell you that it strikes me as very strange that you, a 68 year old black man and former university professor and mayor of a large city STILL CANNOT SPELL “MALCOLM” CORRECTLY. Yet, you claim to have some authority to say what you feel about him! SHAME ON YOU PROFESSOR-YOU JUST FLUNKED OUT.

    I leave you with a quote from Malcolm X on the anniversary of his death.

    “I’m for truth no matter who tells it. I’m for justice, no matter who it’s for or against.”

  5. Jon February 22, 2010 at 5:17 am #

    Gentlemen, please inject the truth into our communities. The shadow gov’t is building their own kingdom in where the black man is not welcomed. Educate yourself on the truth behind the middle eastern wars. Questions your leaders. Look deeper within the surface. Stand strong with your brothers. The world is changing and its not for the black man or for the best.

  6. mark,said February 22, 2010 at 8:05 am #

    some of you are missing it all malcolm x the civil rights is all revelant today read more about malcom get nation of islam dvds about malcolm, and michael you ought to be shame of your self a teacher what kind of sell out opinion is that you really think black people in 2010 are here for setting back not complaining and we will be alright by just going to school and waiting for a good job and hoping we can say an opinion to america with hard work I like to read your thesis on black america, it was malcolm who talked about black pride an education in schools who was one who could have faced the un I bet you never had an afro because you were scared you would not get hired for a job, look how far south africa came look at the problems Isreal has and you have know clue of every step african americans made and set backs, you don’t want to build people up just think, federick douglas, martin luther king, marcus garvey, harriet tubman,obama there are so many details. good luck with your travels hope you learn something.

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