Mar 1, 2012 - Issue 461
Scared to Death
of Their Own Shadows!
Warning: This is an article written in anger! (So scream bloody murder! Or go get yourself a gun!)
I 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 prince.”
And we know our prince was human!
And 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.”
I 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 BlackCommentator.com.
We 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
But 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 country.
What 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 X!
Wendy 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!
And 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 rhetoric.”
White 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!
And 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
No, 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.
Well, that should do it!
(I think of Manning Marable and these two white editors of Viking Press!). Who controls the narrative?
Five 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.
She would rather discuss something else, and she stated: Malcolm wasn’t a perfect man! No! I was shocked!
What 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?
He wasn’t a perfect man!
Well, 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.
Malcolm 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.
Of 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.
White Americans, a racial minority in the world, control the narrative that controls domestic and foreign policy and maintains capitalism and imperialism.
Amy 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
Who can save the rest of us from a people so overwhelmed by fear?
the memory of a Malcolm who died loving what most terrifies white
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has a Doctorate in Modern American Literature/Cultural Theory. Click here to contact Dr. Daniels.