Barack Obama Praises Malcolm X 1995


Barack Obama Praises Malcolm X 1995

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[Barack Obama Praises Malcolm X 1995]


[Barack Hussein Obama II (born August 4, 1961)]
Only Malcolm X’s autobiography seemed to offer something different. His repeated acts of self-creation spoke to me; the blunt poetry of his words, his insistence on respect, promised a new and uncompromising order, martial in its discipline, forged through sheer force of will.

All the other stuff, the talk of blue-eyed devils and apocalypse, was incidental to that program, I decided, religious baggage that Malcolm himself seemed to have safely abandoned toward the end of his life. And yet, even as I imagined myself following Malcolm’s call, one line in the book stayed me.


For He spoke of a wish he’d once had, the wish that the white blood that tan through him, there by an act of violence, might somehow be expunged.

I knew that, for Malcolm, that wish would never be incidental.

I knew as well that traveling down the road to self-respect my own white blood would never recede into mere abstraction.

So I was left to wonder what else I would be severing if and when I left my mother and my grandparents at some uncharted border.

And too – if Malcolm’s discovery toward the end of his life, that some whites might live beside him as brothers in Islam, seemed to offer some hope of eventual reconciliation, that hope appeared in a distant future, in a far-off land.

Where were the people who would work towards this future and populate this new world?

After a basketball [game] at the university one day, Ray and I happened to strike up a conversation with a tall, gaunt man named Malik who played with us now and again.

Malik mentioned that he was a follower of the Nation of Islam but that since Malcolm had died and he had moved to Hawaii, he no longer went to mosque or political meetings, although he still sought comfort in solitary prayer.

One of the guys sitting nearby must have overheard us, for he leaned over with a sagacious expression on his face.

“You all talking about Malcolm, huh? Malcolm tells it like it is, no doubt about it.”

Yeah, another guy said. “But I’ll tell you what. You won’t see me moving to no African jungle anytime soon. Or some goddamn desert somewhere sitting on a carpet. With a bunch of Arabs. No sir.

And you –

You won’t stop me eating no ribs, either.

Gotta have them ribs. And pussy too. Don’t Malcolm talk about no pussy. Now you know that ain’t gonna work.

I noticed Ray laughing and looked at him sternly. “What are you laughing at?” I said to him. “You’ve never read Malcolm. You don’t even know what he says.”

Ray grabbed the basketball out of my hand and headed for the opposite rim. “I don’t need no books to tell me how to be black,” he shouted over his head.

I started to answer, then turned to Malik, expecting some words of support. But the Muslim said nothing, his bony face set in a faraway smile.

[Malcolm X:]
This is American justice, this is American democracy and those of you that are familiar with it know that democracy is hypocrisy. Now if I’m wrong, put me in jail. But if you can’t prove that a democracy is not hypocrisy, then don’t put your hands on me. Democracy is hypocrisy – if democracy means freedom why aren’t are people free.

If democracy means justice why don’t we have justice.

If democracy means equality why don’t we have equality.

Barack Obama Praises Malcolm X 1995

Barack Obama Praises Malcolm X 1995

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