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Saturday, 14 October 2017

Malcolm X vs Martin Luther King


So it’s Black History Month (in the UK; might be different elsewhere). I don’t agree with the concept of Black History Month, just like I don’t agree with International Women’s Day or Gay Pride. I don’t take ‘pride’ in being black, and I don’t see why ‘Black History’ isn’t incorporated into History anyway. Why should it be separate? Plus we all know BHM is mostly about slavery.

There’s a lot more to Negroid history than slavery. I’ve only read a bit of Walter Rodney’s ‘How Europe Underdeveloped Africa’ but he discusses all of the Kings and Queens and empires in Africa long before white people walked this planet. Early humankind had great tribes and empires and chiefs and slaves and all that jizzle jazzle. Slavery is not ‘unique’ to one period in history, it’s actually been going on since our ancestors walked this giant rock.
 
Anyway. Malcolm X vs MLK. I have respect and admiration for both. Like most things in life, these two great historical figures have to be looked at within their socio-historical context. Looking back we could say Malcolm X was a racist and the Black Panthers were evil terrorists, and MLK preached Christianity which was instrumental in enslaving Africans. BUT. Context, my dear.

Malcolm X had a crazy and troubled life (I read his autobiography aged 15/16). His dad was a supporter of Marcus Garvey, and was murdered by the KKK. He experienced racism from a young age, saying that as a child he was called ‘negro so often I thought it was my name.’ As a teenager and young man he was a hustler and a pimp and a drug pusher. Then he went to prison for sleeping with a white woman (the horror!) and a bunch of thefts him and his mate Shorty commit. (If you haven’t seen the film Malcolm X which is based on his autobiography I highly recommend it; it’s a masterpiece).

In prison Malcolm became radicalised by Islam. (But not in the same way ISIS are). He turned his will and care over to Allah and a man named Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm DID preach a lot of racist things for twelve years. He worshipped Muhammad, and truly believed that white men were the devil and had been created by this evil Doctor Yacub and they were responsible for all the evils of the world (like SJWs believe today). Naturally, towards his later years he realised the world is a lot more complex than that and there are plenty of loving non-black people in this world. He was assassinated aged 39 whilst giving a speech.

I don’t know as much about MLK as I’ve never formally read a book about his life. I know he was very different to Malcolm; he was raised by a pastor and born into middle-class comfort. I prefer his philosophy of integration to Malcolm’s philosophy of black separatism. MLK is most famous for his ‘I have a dream’ speech as we all know; we’re taught it in primary school. I’ve noticed that in school we’re taught more about MLK than Malcolm X; I don’t recall studying much about Malcolm till doing GCSE History. I think this is because Malcolm’s philosophy was more radical and preached that black and white people should live separately (until his views changed later).

As for the Black Panthers, they were a militant group that used violence as means of self-defence, but they did A LOT to help the black community. (And now we have the racist hate group Black Lives Matter, a joke compared to the Panthers. It's like comparing Suffragettes to modern feminists). The Panthers helped fund sickle cell research for black people, and preached unity and brotherhood (eurgh, so patriarchal!) Some may argue that the Panthers were too violent and preached nationalism and radicalism. Others may state that they helped to further the Black Power movement and liberate black people, by encouraging them to take pride in their ethnicity at a time when African-Americans were still viewed as second class citizens.

The point is, these people were bold and courageous and died for their causes. They helped to create the world we live in now – a world where there no longer is institutionalized racism in the UK or USA (that doesn’t mean there’s no de facto racism, just no de jure racism). A black man and a white woman can get married and no one cares. (And if you do, you’re a dumbarse). It’s thanks to great people like this in History that bring forward change that we end up reaping their rewards and move towards a better future. These men had a vision, they stuck to it, and a lot of it has come true.

Also read: https://lifeexaminations.wordpress.com/2011/03/14/mlk-vs-malcolm-x-similaritiesdifferences/

2 comments:

  1. i understand why malcom and the panthers ended up as radicalized as they were and the black panthers did serve a valuable role in many black communities helping out those in need when many in their country viewed them as subhuman and not worthy of equal treatment but i believe mlk did do a lot more to help

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