Tuesday, March 5, 2013

By Any Means Necessary: The Real Malcolm X

Recently I watched the following video of Malcolm X on "Front Page Challenge" in 1965. (Here's the link to the video for your viewing pleasure : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7IJ7npTYrU)

In the short clip, Malcolm X is questioned on a number of issues including self-defense, segregation and racism. All of the responses that Malcolm X gave to the questions are intriguing to me, in particular since it somewhat contradicts what has been the typical notion of Mr. X. Past times have appeared to portray Malcolm X as this radical, racially charged African American man who sought to equalize Blacks through violence, using a portion of one of his most famous quotes "By Any Means Necessary." There are some that believe that Malcolm X was a man who believed in segregation, in part due to his association with the Nation of Islam.

However, after viewing the preceding clip, Mr. X dispelled a number of notions that people had about him, revealing the true character of Malcolm X. Mr. X is questioned that he encourages violence and Mr. X says that he does not condone Blacks to initiate "acts of aggression indiscriminately against Whites" but that he believed that Blacks and all humans should be able to do whatever it take, "by any means necessary" to protect his or her life and property. When questioned if he believed in a segregated Black nation, he implicitly states that he against "any form of racism or segregation." He goes on to say that the problem for Blacks goes beyond religion and beyond the United States. He believed that the problem is not just an American or Black problem but was a human or world problem, therefore it should be handled by the United Nations not the United States.

Through listening to the conversation with Malcolm X, it completely changed my perspective of Mr. X. Malcolm X appeared to be a man that believed that violence was not necessarily the key to solving the problem of equality and racism but that a person, whether Black or White, is well within his or her right to defend himself, "by any means necessary." Mr. X simply wanted to provide people with an outlet to settle disputes in a matter of self-defense, not unnecessary violence. The conversation also revealed that Mr. X did not strictly have an agenda to completely alienate Blacks from society. He wanted Blacks to have a chance to be recognized and respected in the nation that had for so long disowned and excluded them from society. I do agree with Mr. X that the problem facing Blacks is not a Black problem nor an United States problem but a human problem. The government continues to allow racism to occur throughout the court system, giving Blacks unfair treatment. As Malcolm X puts it, the government is "unwilling and unable" to provide protection for the lives and land of Blacks. Through the seven minute clip, I thought to myself that Malcom was as great leader of that possessed a longing to see Blacks overcome obstacles by any means necessary, even if it took a little self-defense.

Does this change one's perspective of Malcolm X? Is the Black problem an American problem or a human problem?

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