Malcolm X

The black man that you’re not familiar with is the one that we would like to point out now. He is a new type. He is the type that seldom the white man ever comes into contact with. And when you do come into contact with him you’re shocked because you didn’t know that this type of black man existed. And immediately you think, “Well here’s one of those black supremacists or racists or extremists who believe in violence and all that other kind of…” Well, that’s what they call it.

This new type of black man, he doesn’t want integration; he wants separation. Not segregation, separation. To him, segregation, as we’re taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, means that which is forced upon inferiors by superiors. A segregated community is a Negro community. But the white community, though it’s all white, is never called a segregated community. It’s a separate community. In the white community, the white man controls the economy, his own economy, his own politics, his own everything. That’s his community. But at the same time while the Negro lives in a separate community, it’s a segregated community. Which means it’s regulated from the outside by outsiders. The white man has all of the businesses in the Negro community. He runs the politics of the Negro community. He controls all the civic organizations in the Negro community. This is a segregated community.

We don’t go for segregation. We go for separation. Separation is when you have your own. You control your own economy; you control your own politics; you control your own society; you control your own everything. You have yours and you control yours; we have ours and we control ours.

They don’t call Chinatown in New York City or on the West Coast a segregated community, yet it’s all Chinese. But the Chinese control it. Chinese voluntarily live there, they control it. They run it. They have their own schools. They control their own politics, control their own industry. And they don’t feel like they’re being made inferior because they have to live to themselves. They choose to live to themselves. They live there voluntarily. And they are doing for themselves in their community the same thing you do for yourself in your community. This makes them equal because they have what you have. But if they didn’t have what you have, then they’d be controlled from your side; even though they would be on their side, they’d be controlled from your side by you.

So when we who follow the Honorable Elijah Muhammad say that we’re for separation, it should be emphasized we’re not for segregation; we’re for separation. We want the same for ourselves as you have for yourselves. And when we get it, then it’s possible to think more intelligently and to think in terms that are along peaceful lines. But a man who doesn’t have what is his, he can never think always in terms that are along peaceful lines.

This type has blind faith-in your religion. He’s not interested in any religion of his own. He believes in a white Jesus, white Mary, white angels, and he’s trying to get to a white heaven. When you listen to him in his church singing, he sings a song, I think they call it, “Wash me white as snow.” He wants to be–he wants to be turned white so he can go to heaven with a white man. It’s not his fault; it’s actually not his fault. But this is the state of his mind. This is the result of 400 years of brainwashing here in America. You have taken a man who is black on the outside and made him white on the inside. His brain is white as snow. His heart is white as snow. And therefore, whenever you say, this is ours, he thinks he’s white the same as you, so what’s yours he thinks is also his. Even right on down to your woman.

Now many of them will take offense at my implying that he wants your woman. They’ll say, “No, this is what Bill Bowen, Talmadge, and all of the White Citizens’ Councils say.” They say that to fool you. If this is not what they want, watch them. And if you find evidence to the contrary, then I’ll take back my words. But all you have to do is give him the chance to get near you, and you’ll find that he is not satisfied until he is sitting next to your woman, or closer to her than that.

And this type of Negro, usually he hates black and loves white. He doesn’t want to be black he wants to be white. And he’ll get on his bended knees and beg you for integration, which means he would rather live – rather than live with his own kind who love him, he’ll force himself to live in neighborhoods around white people whom he knows don’t mean him any good. And again I say, this is not his fault. He is sick. And as long as America listens to this sick Negro, who is begging to be integrated into American society despite the fact that the attitude and actions of whites are sufficient proof that he is not wanted, why then you are actually allowing him to force you into a position where you look just as sick as he looks.

SOURCE: X, Malcolm. “The Race Problem.” African Students Association and NAACP Campus Chapter. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. 23 January 1963.

This new type rejects the white man’s Christian religion. He recognizes the real enemy. That Uncle Tom can’t see his enemy. He thinks his friend is his enemy and his enemy is his friend. And he usually ends up loving his enemy, turning his other cheek to his enemy. But this new type, he doesn’t turn the other cheek to anybody. He doesn’t believe in any kind of peaceful suffering. He believes in obeying the law. He believes in respecting people. He believes in doing unto others as he would have done to himself. But at the same time, if anybody attacks him, he believes in retaliating if it costs him his life. And it is good for white people to know this. Because if white people get the impression that Negroes all endorse this old turn-the-other-cheek cowardly philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, then whites are going to make the mistake of putting their hands on some Black man, thinking that he’s going to turn the other cheek, and he’ll end up losing his hand and losing his life in the try.

SOURCE: X, Malcolm. “The Race Problem.” African Students Association and NAACP Campus Chapter. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. 23 January 1963.

Number one, what Mr. Muhammad says is this, that every effort on the part of the government up till now to solve this problem by bringing about a just, equitable situation between whites and Blacks mixed up together here in this house has failed. Has failed absolutely. So he says that since you can’t give the Negro justice in your house, let us leave this house and go back home.

Now at the same time that he says let us go back home to our own people and our own homeland, the government itself is the leading opposer toward any mass element of Black people becoming orientated in the direction of home. They put forth the effort to stop this. So what he says is, since you can’t give it to us here mixed up in your house, and you don’t want us to go home back to our own people, then the only alternative is to separate the house. Give us part of this country and let us live in that part. [Laughter]

You’ve asked me to explain. Now you want me to explain? You may think its funny, but one of these days you won’t. [Applause]… He says that in this section that will be set aside for Black people, that the government should give us everything we need to start our own civilization. They should give us everything we need to exist for the next twenty-five years. And when you stop and consider the–you shouldn’t be shocked, you give Latin America $20 billion and they never fought for this country. They never worked for this country. You send billions of dollars to Poland and to Hungary, they’re Communist countries, they never contributed anything here. [Applause]

This is what you should realize. The greatest contribution to this country was that which was contributed by the Black man. If I take the wages, just a moment, if I take the wages of everyone here, individually it means nothing, but collectively all of the earning power or wages that you earned in one week would make me wealthy. And if I could collect it for a year, I’d be rich beyond dreams. Now, when you see this, and then you stop and consider the wages that were kept back from millions of Black people, not for one year but for 310 years, you’ll see how this country got so rich so fast. And what made the economy as strong as it is today. And all that, and all of that slave labor that was amassed in unpaid wages, is due someone today. And you’re not giving us anything.

SOURCE: X, Malcolm. “The Race Problem.” African Students Association and NAACP Campus Chapter. Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan. 23 January 1963.

The Negroes were out there in the streets. They were talking about how they were going to march on Washington. Right at that time Birmingham had exploded, and the Negroes in Birmingham–remember, they also exploded. They began to stab the crackers in the back and bust them up ‘side their head–yes, they did. That’s when Kennedy sent in the troops, down in Birmingham. After that, Kennedy got on the television and said “this is a moral issue.” That’s when he said he was going to put out a civil-rights bill. And when he mentioned civil-rights bill and the Southern crackers started talking about how they were going to boycott or filibuster it, then the Negroes started talking–about what? That they were going to march on Washington, march on the Senate, march on the White House, march on the Congress, and tie it up, bring it to a halt, not let the government proceed. They even said they were going out to the airport and lay down on the runway and not let any airplanes land. I’m telling you what they said. That was revolution. That was revolution. That was the black revolution.

It was the grass roots out there in the street. It scared the white man to death, scared the white power structure in Washington, D.C., to death; I was there. When they found out that this black steamroller was going to come down on the capital, they called in Wilkins, they called in Randolph, they called in these national Negro leaders that you respect and told them, “Call it off.” Kennedy said, “Look, you all are letting this thing go too far.” And Old Tom said, “Boss, I can’t stop it, because I didn’t start it.” I’m telling you what they said. They said, “I’m not even in it, much less at the head of it.’ They said, “These Negroes are doing things on their own. They’re running ahead of us.” And that old shrewd fox, he said, “If you all aren’t in it, I’ll put you in it. I’ll put you at the head of it. I’ll endorse it. I’ll welcome it. I’ll help it. I’ll join it.”

SOURCE: X, Malcolm. “Message to the Grass Roots.” Northern Negro Grass Roots Leadership Conference. Group on Advanced Leadership. King Solomon Baptist Church, Detroit. 10 November 1963.

The greatest weapon that the colonial powers have used in the past against our people has always been divide-and-conquer. America is a colonial power. She has colonized 22 million Afro-Americans by depriving us of first-class citizenship, by depriving us of civil rights, actually by depriving us of human rights. She has not only deprived us of the right to be a citizen, she has deprived us of the right to be a human being, the right to be recognized and respected as men and women. In this country the black can be fifty years old and he is still a “boy.” I grew up with white people. I was integrated before they even invented the word and I have never met white people yet–if you are around them long enough–who won’t refer to you as a “boy” or a “gal,” no matter how old you are or what school you came out of, no matter what your intellectual or professional level is. In this society we remain “boys.”

So America’s strategy is the same strategy as that which was used in the past by the colonial powers: divide and conquer. She plays one Negro leader against the other. She plays one Negro organization against the other. She makes us think we have different objectives, different goals. As soon as one Negro says something, she runs to this Negro and asks him, “What do you think about what he said?” Why, anybody can see through that today–except some of the Negro leaders.

He doesn’t see any progress that he has made since the Civil War. He sees not one iota of progress because, number one, if the Civil War had freed him, he wouldn’t need civil-rights legislation today. If the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by that great shining liberal called Lincoln, had freed him, he wouldn’t be singing “We Shall Overcome” today. If the amendments to the Constitution had solved his problem, his problem wouldn’t still be here today. And if the Supreme Court desegregation decision of 1954 was genuinely and sincerely designed to solve his problem, his problem wouldn’t be with us today.

In my opinion, one of the sciences used and misused today is this science of image making. The power structure uses it at the local level, at the national level, at the international level. And often-times when you and I feel we’ve come to a conclusion on our own, the conclusion we’ve come to is something that someone has invented for us through the images he has created.

Realize that prior to 1939, our people were in a very menial position or condition. Most of us were waiters and porters and bellhops and janitors and waitresses and things of that sort. It was not until war was declared with Germany, and America became involved in a manpower shortage in regards to her factories plus her army, and it was only then that the black man in this country was permitted to make a few strides forward. It was never out of some kind of moral enlightenment or moral awareness on the part of Uncle Sam. Uncle Sam only let the black man take a step forward when he himself had his back to the wall.

SOURCE: X, Malcolm. “The Black Revolution.” Militant Labor Forum. Palm Gardens, New York. 8 April 1964.

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