This is an article written in anger! (So scream
bloody murder! Or go get yourself a gun!)
love Malcolm (El Hajj Malik El-Shabazz). I am not alone.
For many Black Americans, for Indigenous, for Brown
Americans, and for any one in the world, Malcolm is,
as Oscar Brown said at Malcolm’s funeral, “our shining
And we know our prince was human!
we love him and many of us see in him a model for our
lives, not because he was Black but because he was anti-capitalism,
anti-imperialism - a man of and for the people, the
working class, the poor. Malcolm was murdered, assassinated
with the help of the Nation of Islam, by the forces
in this society who maintain and advance capitalism
and imperialism. Martin L. King was murdered, assassinated
for his stand against capitalism and imperialism - not
for promoting the “American Dream.”
would never have listened to Kathleen Dunn’s broadcast
on Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR). In fact, as soon as
possible in the mornings, I would turn off the station
and listen to broadcast of Pacific radio or WPR’s classical
programming online because, as I explained to a representative
at the station by phone, I want to maintain my sanity
while I struggle against capitalism and imperialism.
But I received an email from a friend to listened to
WPR at 10:00 am on February 28, 2012. It was already
10:30, so I quickly turned the radio on again.
As my friend indicated in the email,
Dunn was hosting a discussion on Manning Marable’s Malcolm:
A Life of Reinvention. I wrote two articles on this
book in my column in BlackCommentator.com (The
U.S.’s Romantic Remake of COINTELPRO in Africa and Marable’s
Malcolm X, A Representative for Hope and Human Dignity
not long after it was published. In fact, it was published
last year, a few days after we lost its author. I should
also add that Manning Marable also wrote a column in
miss Marable, never more than today!
say that I was delighted to hear a discussion on Malcolm
- on WRP - or any National Public Radio affiliate would
be to assume I had lost my mind! If you understand how
liberals (and some Leftists) must maintain the American Way of life or die trying, then you are never delighted
to hear them try and discuss the philosophy of a Black
who was critical of the economic base and the ideologies
established to maintain it.
the U.S., Black Americans are
either whitewashed or demonized. Whatever suits white
America, since white American
liberals, leftists, and right-wingers control the narrative.
The only “good” Indigenous, Black or Brown is a “dead”
Indigenous, Black or Brown person - except when it comes
to Malcolm. There are white Americans whose entire ADULT
life, entire careers in Washington
D.C. and on Wall Street, have been
Malcolm is that angry criminal (at least Doughten attempted
to cut in and make it clear that Malcolm exaggerated
his “criminal” life). But it was proposed that every
school child should read the Autobiography of Malcolm
X. Apparently, these three are not too familiar
with ethnic cleansing pogroms taking places in the public
schools and colleges, not just in Arizona, but throughout
the U.S., to remove all traces of history and culture
of the Indigenous, Black, Brown people not deemed acceptable
by committees and departments of white teachers, professors
and administrators. Secondly, it is not a bad idea to
have our youth read the Autobiography if, at
the same time, they are taught to understand what the
adult Malcolm stood for and what he died for in this
I heard for an hour was three white Americans referring
several times to an imperfect man, who could sometimes
be charming, but almost always “angry.” I heard whites
apologizing to a predominantly white audience about
interrupting their usual morning programming about themselves
to bring them an hour about - of all people - Malcolm
Wolf and Kevin Doughten, both editors of Malcolm
X: A Life of Invention, and Dunn, the host, entertained
an image of Malcolm that really reflected white America’s
uncomfortable relation with Black Americans who, as
Marx would say, remain true to the principles of revolutionary
practice. And that is a mouthful! Scary!
that is what I heard: Malcolm was “scary.” The word,
“angry” was used several times to describe him - but
they never attempted to discuss why Malcolm was angry.
He was just innately angry and scary. But, of course,
he could be charming, when he was not engaged in “fiery
Americans cannot hear the hatred in language used by
Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum. And if liberals and
Leftists comment on the “fiery rhetoric” of these men,
they dismiss them as “racist” or “crazy.” But these
are men with real power to effect real violence against
those whom they deem to be the enemy. For a year, Joe
Arpaio has conducted his pogrom to incarcerate and humiliate
the enemy and law-abiding Americas are for the most
part silent as they have been when Blacks have been
sent to prison for years at alarming rates, as they
have been when each year the Indigenous population on
the reservations become more and more impoverished.
But, Malcolm - not that was a “scary” man!
when he was not “scary” and “angry,” he was a “religious”
man, a Nation of Islam man, a Muslim. Malcolm was more
than a “religious” man. He urged his audience to keep
their religion at home; the audience, the people, had
work to do. By the way, this great Christian nation
in war with the world to acquire the Earth’s resources
is, I guess, not so “scary.”
when I tuned in, I heard Dunn receive a call from the
friend who sent me the email. He began by stating a
commonly held belief among many Blacks as well as others
that before King died, he had made a shift: He was advocating
for human rights rather than solely civil rights. People
prefer to speak of the King of the 1963 “Dream,” but
he had moved beyond that in the last few years of his
life to a critical stance against the economic base
and the war in Vietnam. King, in short, my friend suggested,
had moved closer to Malcolm’s philosophy of anti-capitalism,
Wolf responded, to see this “convergence” of the two
men is “wishful” thinking! Wishful thinking!! Then she
added that she based her opinion on her “intelligent
reading” on the subject.
that should do it!
think of Manning Marable and these two white editors
of Viking Press!). Who controls the narrative?
minutes earlier, when a caller had a question and Dunn
asked her to explain Malcolm’s philosophy, she was silent.
I thought the station had lost her. Maybe a dropped
call? Silence! Dun asked the question again: What was
Malcolm’s philosophy? Mind you, it was been twenty minutes
or so into the program.
would rather discuss something else, and she stated:
Malcolm wasn’t a perfect man! No! I was shocked!
does that mean? Does she know Malcolm’s philosophy or
is it to be assumed and, through silence, understood,
that his philosophy was that of violence? Did Malcolm
advocate that Blacks go out and kill every white in
sight? Did he wink and nod and imply in anyway that
Blacks should kill whites?
wasn’t a perfect man!
you can find on any day, white Americans walking around
with an image of Che Guevara on their T-shirts or they
wear buttons with Che’s image. (Even Che’s image has
become a commodity! And he was murdered, assassinated
too by the CIA-backed Bolivian Army in 1969!). I love
Che too and still admire his struggle on behalf of the
99%, but Che would kill if he discovered anyone had
or might betray the cause.
did not kill anyone, but I heard in the voices of these
three whites such fear and hesitancy to speak of a man
who gave his life so we would not now in 2012 still
have to cringe while listening to the hypocrisy of white
America trying to sell a book about a Black revolutionary,
but not at the same time promote the honorable philosophy
by which this man lived and died.
course, what these three understand in their bones,
if not in their intellect, is that to be a Black revolutionary
is equivalent to being a violent Black. “Criminal” or
“Black revolutionary” - it is all the same terrorizing
image that white Americans either play up or suppress.
Americans, a racial minority in the world, control the
narrative that controls domestic and foreign policy
and maintains capitalism and imperialism.
Goodman will find another Obama supporter and feel good
about herself! To throw a little color in, NPR and its
affiliates love to bring on a Black or Brown ex-convict,
ex-prostitute, ex-drug addict, ex-bad-person, saved
by the authorities or the humanitarians and now on the
road of “success,” reaching for that pinnacle in the
sky - the American Dream!
the meantime, that image of King and Malcolm converging
to challenge capitalism and imperialism with the masses,
here and aboard, is scary and would make whites angry
to entertain the thought. And what a horrible thought!
It is this shadow of what they escaped and what could
become a possibility that scares the hell out of white
They will never be free as a result of it.
Who can save the rest of us from a people so overwhelmed
the memory of a Malcolm who died loving what most terrifies
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member, Lenore Jean Daniels,
PhD, has a Doctorate in Modern American Literature/Cultural
Theory. Click here
to contact Dr. Daniels.