In grade school when talking about civil rights, the face of the movement is always Martin Luther King, Jr. History books paint Malcolm X as a militant and violent without truly diving into his ideology. White people love to quote Martin Luther King because he was seen as non-violent. He wanted protestors to always “turn the other check” no matter what was happening to them. They loved that because they knew his followers would never retaliate regardless of the situation. But what they don’t mention, before he was assassinated, he started to believe in more of what Malcolm X was saying and ultimately why the FBI had a hand in getting him killed.
Prior to George Floyd’s death, there was not really an uproar about what was happening in the Black community. There hadn’t really been protest since the Ferguson protests after Michael Brown died. But when Floyd died in front of the world, people were tired of playing nice. The burning of police cars and police stations, looting from stores, and let’s not forget that the world was still in the middle of a global pandemic. A lot of people are starting to say “Man, we should’ve listened to Malcolm more” or “Now, I see what Malcolm X was truly talking about.” Malcolm had been through so much trauma which led to his ideology and why he stood firmly on his beliefs.
Malcolm X (birth name was Malcolm Little) was born in 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska. His father was a minister and a persistent follower of Marcus Garvey. After dealing with many threats from the KKK, he moved his family to Lansing, Michigan. But the KKK followed them. In 1931, Minister Little was murdered by a white supremacist group. The police however ruled his murder an accident and his family was not able to have benefits from his death. Shortly after, his mother had a nervous breakdown and X was placed in foster care at six years old. From early on, it was clear that he was extremely intelligent and a great student in school but dropped out shortly after 8th grade. He began to get caught in the world of selling and doing drugs and at age 21, went to prison for larceny. In jail, was when his life completely changed. This is where he started to educated himself and learn about the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the
Nation of Isalm. He changed his last name to “X” to represent his rejection of his “slave.”
After serving just six years, he hit the ground running. He became the Minister of Mosque No.7 in Harlem. With Malcolm X as one its leaders and main faces, the Nation of Isalm went from 400 members in 1952 to 40,000 in 1960. Contrary to MLK he advocated for civil rights for Black people “by any means necessary.” Malcolm X laid the groundwork for the Black Power Movement and Black Panther Party. He advocated for blacks to have guns and protect themselves from senseless violence from the white oppressor. After the 1963 March on Washington, Malcolm X called out MLK and his followers, “Whoever heard of angry revolutionists all harmonizing ‘We Shall Overcome’...while tripping and swaying along arm-in-arm with the very people they were supposed to be angrily revolting against?” He was known for calling MLK and John Lewis an Uncle Tom specifically because they met often with President Lyndon B. Johnson. He was quoted saying “The first thing the cracker does when he comes in power, he takes all the Negro leaders and invites them for coffee. To show that he’s all right. And those Uncle Toms can’t pass up the coffee. They come away from the coffee table telling you and me that this man is all right.” He was also vocal about celebrities being leaders for the movement calling out Lena Horne and Dick Gregory.
Many of his wisdom, the younger generation has decided to follow. The world has seen white women also known as Karens, losing their minds and attacking Black people. In most cases, black people are usually the calm ones and try their hardest not to retaliate due to the fear of the possibility of getting arrested. That is certainly not the case anymore. Videos have surfaced of white women getting beat up by black women and losing their jobs after attacking black men. It is very clear that these Karens were surprised that were getting hit back as they thought they were going to just sit there and “turn the other check”. They have been getting exactly what they deserve and as a result of the videos,a vast majority have lost their jobs. White women have also called the police on black men for absolutely no reason. For example, Amy Cooper from New York. She called the police on a Christian Cooper, a black man. Cooper said he asked her to put her dog on a leash as it was required in the park and she decided to call the police. He filmed the whole thing and as a result she lost her job and her dog temporarily. The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo decided to name a bill, the Amy Cooper Bill, making it a hate crime to call the police on people of color on false accusations. As stated earlier, Malcolm was big on having actual leaders in the community and not depending on celebrities. In the past two weeks, there have been a myriad of celebrities “cancelled” due to their ignorance during recent times.People were starting to realize that celebrities may not be all that knowledgeable on the issues at hand.Many of the protest that have been organized have been led by young people and leaders in the community. It was those without necessarily a platform that helped push for change in America, celebrities came after the fact. Due to these protests, many things are on the pathway of change. Police brutality cases are being re-opened after many petitions, confederate statues are being taken down, confederate flags are starting to become banned, Minneapolis banned the use of choke holds by police, defunding the police and putting money in other places like social services and education and police officers actually getting arrested.There have been protest ALL over the world such as South Korea, Spain, Scotland, and the Netherlands Sometimes burning some things down gets things done.
Malcolm X's legacy has been tainted by history books and the media but the recent uprising of the younger generation has brought a lot of ideology to the forefront. No more turning the other check, it’s time for action and defending the people.