“You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, not matter who does it or says it.” Malcolm X
Walking the steps, listening to the words, today I offer my respect to the memory of Malcolm X. I should have been here 60 years ago, but I’m afraid in my youth I was blinded by white man’s news. It’s funny, too, because living as we did on the east side of Waterloo, I grew up around and with Afro-Americans. I was classmate of many, and yet, looking back, I can see that I subconsciously thought myself superior to those many friends of color that I had. It was to this prejudice that Malcolm X preached. His message was not delivered to elevate the black man’s standard to that of white man; his message was for black men to recognize their very own rich heritage and to take pride in that history which in many ways was more glorious than white man’s. His message was not for integration, but separation, for by integrating the black man gives up the wonderful human being he is and trades it for a watered down version of a white man. And for this preaching, Malcolm X was called a racist, a trouble maker, an inciter of riots, a proponent of violence. And much to my shame, that is the image that I have carried all these years. I, like most white people of the time, did not listen to the words, did not hear the meaning of the words, but reacted negatively to the feelings the words evoked. I believe now that Malcolm X spoke the truth as he saw it through the eyes of a Muslim teacher, a black man whose heritage had been ripped from him, whose only goal in this lifetime was to restore that heritage for all his brothers.
Listen to The Autobiography of Malcolm X on Audible, superbly read by Laurence Fishburne. You’ll not regret it!