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Race, Identity, & Social Order The Autobiography of Malcolm X I was seeking for the truth.

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Presentation on theme: "Race, Identity, & Social Order The Autobiography of Malcolm X I was seeking for the truth."— Presentation transcript:

1 Race, Identity, & Social Order The Autobiography of Malcolm X I was seeking for the truth.

2 Truth vs. Fact The only thing that anybody… could ever find me guilty of, was being open-minded. I said I was seeking for the truth… (428) – His faith in the Hon. Elijah Muhammed was the core of his being It felt as though something in nature had failed, like the sun, or the stars. (351) Who is he now? 2

3 The last conversion Takes the Hajj – On the Hajj, You could be a king or a peasant and no one would know. – Everything about the pilgrimage atmosphere accented the Oneness of Man under one God (380) – Kindness & brotherhood with all Muslims, even those who would be white – The holy city of Mecca had been the first time that I had ever stood before the Creator of All and felt like a complete human being. (420) Double consciousness 3

4 White & black people not the problem, whiteness and blackness are the problem – That morning was when I first began to reappraise the white man. It was when I first began to perceive that white man, as commonly used, means complexion only secondarily; primarily it described attitudes and actions. In America, white man meant specific attitudes and actions toward the black man, and toward all other non-white men. (383) Whiteness is essentially defined in US by rejection of & dominance over non-whites 4

5 Blackness & Whiteness While approach to race changes, militancy does not – Racial cooperation I dont mind shaking hands with human beings. Are you one? (418) – Black militancy – Not black nationalism, but black inter-nationalism To come right down to it, if I take the kind of things in which I believe, then add to that the kind of temperament that I have, plus the one hundred percent dedication I have to whatever I believe inthese are the ingredients which make it just about impossible for me to die of old age. (435) If I cant be safe among my own kind, where can I be? (497) 5

6 Blackness & Whiteness It isnt the American white man who is a racist, but its the American political, economic, and social atmosphere that automatically nourishes a racist psychology in the white man. – The white man is not inherently evil, but Americas racist society influences him to act evilly. The society has produced and nourishes a psychology which brings out the lowest, most base part of human beings. (427) 6

7 Ossie Davis Eulogy Many will ask what Harlem finds to honor in this stormy, controversial and bold young captainand we will smile. Many will say turn awayaway from this man; for he is not a man but a demon, a monster, a subverter and an enemy of the black manand we will smile. They will say that he is of hatea fanatic, a racistwho can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle! And we will answer and say to them: – Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Did he ever do a mean thing? Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did, you would know him. And if you knew him, you would know why we must honor him: Malcolm was our manhood, our living, black manhood! 7

8 Ossie Davis Eulogy However we may have differed with himor with each other about him and his value as a manlet his going from us serve only to bring us together, now. – Consigning these mortal remains to earth, the common mother of all, secure in the knowledge that what we place in the ground is no more now a manbut a seedwhich, after the winter of our discontent, will come forth again to meet us. And we will know him then for what he was and isa princeour own black shining prince!who didnt hesitate to die, because he loved us so. 8

9 Why did you eulogize Malcolm X? – You may anticipate my defense somewhat by considering the following fact: no Negro has yet asked me that question. (My pastor in Grace Baptist Church where I teach Sunday school preached a sermon about Malcolm in which he called him a "giant in a sick world.") Every one of the many letters I got from my own people lauded Malcolm as a man, and commended me for having spoken at his funeral. At the same time-and this is important most of them took special pains to disagree with much or all of what Malcolm said and what he stood for. That is, with one singing exception, they all, every last, black, glory-hugging one of them, knew that Malcolmwhatever else he was or was notMalcolm was a man! 9

10 Ossie Davis White folks do not need anybody to remind them that they are men. We do! This was his one incontrovertible benefit to his people. – Protocol and common sense require that Negroes stand back and let the white man speak up for us, defend us, and lead us from behind the scene in our fight. This is the essence of Negro politics. But Malcolm said to hell with that! Get up off your knees and fight your own battles. Thats the way to win back your self-respect. Thats the way to make the white man respect you. And if he wont let you live like a man, he certainly cant keep you from dying like one! 10

11 Ossie Davis You can imagine what a howling, shocking nuisance this man was to both Negroes and whites. Once Malcolm fastened on you, you could not escape. – He was one of the most fascinating and charming men I have ever met, and never hesitated to take his attractiveness and beat you to death with it. Yet his irritation, though painful to us, was most salutary. He would make you angry as hell, but he would also make you proud. It was impossible to remain defensive and apologetic about being a negro in his presence. He wouldnt let you. And you always left his presence with the sneaky suspicion that maybe, after all, you were a man! 11

12 I knew the man personally, and however much I disagreed with him, I never doubted that Malcolm X even when he was wrong, was always that rarest thing in the world among us Negroes: a true man. – And if, to protect my relations with the many good white folks who make it possible for me to earn a fairly good living in the entertainment industry, I was too chicken, too cautious, to admit that fact when he was alive, I thought at least that now, when all the white folks are safe from him at last, I could be honest with myself enough to lift my hat for one final salute to that brave, black, ironic gallantry, which was his style and hallmark; that shocking zing of fire-and-be- damned-to-you, so absolutely absent in every other Negro man I know, which brought him, too soon, to his death. 12

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