Malcolm X Speaks Truth To Power Through Time And Death

Today is the 53 anniversary of the day El Hajj Malik El Shabazz, aka Malcolm X, was assassinated before family, followers and comrades at the Audubon ballroom in New York City. Though we mourn him eternally, the contemporary stew in which our country currently simmers has been bubbling for centuries.  

As we recall his legacy, many of the things he had spoken about, both for and against, have become more and more ingrained in the fabric of Americana.  Today, when we think of America, I know of no one who would think of apple pie and rockets red glare, but of corruption, racism, misogyny and destruction.

Malcolm X had this to say regarding the media and disingenuous spin:

If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.

This has happened repeatedly over the last 10 years, mostly notably with the character assassination of Trayvon Martin, as well as the juxtaposing of his murderer as someone who feared for his life.  

When Philando Castile was gunned down within inches of his daughter and pregnant girlfriend, the individual responsible said he feared for his life because he smelled marijuana in the vehicle. Even Colin Kaepernicks protest against police brutality and institutional racism was repeatedly painted as the narrative of an ungrateful individual who hated his country, his flag and white people in general. 

Malcolm X’s Fiery Speech Addressing Police Brutality

In 1962, a confrontation with the LAPD outside a mosque resulted in the death of a Nation of Islam member. It was an event seized on by an outraged Malcolm X, who would condemn it in an impassioned speech. From the Series: The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X

Nothing could have been further from the truth. But, hey, we shouldnt have been surprised. Malcolm warned us.

“You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.”

This is yet another quote that should be laser written on a cloud so the entire country can see. As we teeter back and forth between being a full democracy, and one that is fatally flawed, on a weekly basis, hucksters and con men are now fattening themselves on the peoples wealth. 

On the one hand, a black woman accused of welfare fraud is paraded on the television screen in handcuffs, a coat thrown over her head, her unkempt hair peaking from her the makeshift shawl the jacket provides. She is shamed mercilessly and endlessly. She shouldnt have been caught stealing, says the newsman or woman tasked with responding to any editorial queries. We pretend that justice is equal in America, a deadly lie that still haunts most black people today, whether they realize it or not.

Meanwhile, there is a sitting president who has made fun of handicapped people, attacked black women, attacks anyone he believes is a threat and even shames war widows and survivors of domestic terrorist attacks! 

Shameful isnt a strong enough word to describe this paradigm, one that plainly values white males over all others. One that purposefully devalues every other racial, cultural and ethnic designate that is dissimilar to theirs.

Being an old farm boy myself, chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad; they’ve always made me glad.

Malcolm made the above statement when asked how he felt about the assassination of president John F Kennedy. That quote got him censured by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and was the beginning of the end of his time with the Nation of Islam.  

Currently, there is a racist president in the White House, one who was voted in by catering to white nationalist sentiment, neo-Confederates and refusing to call clear acts of domestic terrorism such due to the fact that angry white men make up a great portion of his constituency. 

Indeed, while it is painful to watch in real time, history may find that this is a stake driven through the heart of an increasingly outlandish and divisive Republican Party.

The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X (Full Episode)

Presented entirely through speeches, newscasts, and rarely seen archival footage, The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X tells the story of the man who, by any means necessary, willingly put his life at risk to bring change and equality to black America. From the Series: The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X

The year is 2018, more than 50 years after the death of a man actor Ossie Davis once eulogized as being, “…Our shining Black prince. 

Though his principality is no longer in the material realm, his words will continually ring true as long as the United States of America continues wobbling along, pretending to be a full Democracy while openly oppressing, marginalizing, scapegoating and blaming its own people for the predicaments poor governing has gotten them into. Like the ongoing, excruciatingly ineffective, fight to ban assault rifles.

Now that the chickens are home, no use chasing them away. They must be dealt with if we’re ever to truly move forward.

Back to top