The (Attempted) Rebooting of Malcolm X

malcolm x2

We’re down to the last days of Black History Month and I haven’t focused very much on it.   Like at all.   I’m of the belief Black History Month has gone on past its sell-by date, but that’s not my focus today.   I was given a reason to pay some attention  when found out some enterprising conservatives had seized upon  Malcolm X  ripping Democrats a new hole with his “political chumps” speech

First they came for Dr. King and tried to turn him into a Republican and now its Brother Malcolm  who is next in line to be body-snatched by the Right.

Anytime you throw your weight behind a political party that controls two-thirds of the government, and that Party can’t keep the promise that it made to you during election time, and you’re dumb enough to walk around continuing to identify yourself with that Party, you’re not only a chump, but you’re a traitor to your race.

They try and pass the buck to the Dixiecrats. Now back during the days when you were blind, deaf, and dumb, ignorant, politically immature, naturally you went along with that. But today as your eyes come open, and you develop political maturity, you’re able to see and think for yourself, and you can see that a Dixiecrat is nothing but a Democrat in disguise.

They’ve been down there four years, and they’re — all other legislation they wanted to bring up they brought it up and gotten it out of the way, and now they bring up you. And now, they bring up you. You put them first, and they put you last, ’cause you’re a chump, a political chump. –

Too Black, Too Strong, Too Malcolm.

I like that speech.   Malcolm was in the business of speaking truth to power and he didn’t hold back based upon which party was in power.   It’s easy to see why a conservative annoyed over President Obama and the Democrats constantly pulling down 80 to 90 percent of the Black vote would also like the speech.   Nearly 50 years after Malcolm made those remarks they still resonate (though the Dixiecrats part not so much).   Cutting to the chase and making it plain was a specialty of Malcolm.

But that doesn’t mean Malcolm was Herman Cain before Herman Cain.

You think Malcolm X hated on liberals alone? If you do, you know the words, but you’re lost on the melody.   You can’t cherry-pick the man’s speeches looking only for the parts that jibe with your own beliefs.  Either you take Malcolm in his totality or you leave him the hell alone!

Malcolm X didn’t simply reject Democrats. He rejected the whole damn political game because he considered it institutionally and systematically racist and discriminatory. His goals with the Nation of Islam were in direct opposition to what Dr. King and the civil rights movement was about.   Malcolm left it up to King to fight to integrate buses and lunch counters and get arrested and have dogs turned loose on him.

Martin spoke of his American dreams while  Malcolm spoke of his American nightmares.

“And when I speak, I don’t speak as a Democrat. Or a Republican. Nor an American. I speak as a victim of America’s so-called democracy. You and I have never seen democracy – all we’ve seen is hypocrisy. When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism. We see America through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism. We don’t see any American dream. We’ve experienced only the American nightmare.”

“They know that as long as they keep us undereducated, or with an inferior education, it’s impossible for us to compete with them for job openings. And as long as we can’t compete with them and get a decent job, we’re trapped. We are low-wage earners. We have to live in a run-down neighborhood, which means our children go to inferior schools. They get inferior education. And when they grow up, they fall right into the same cycle again. This is the American way. This is the American democracy that she tries to sell to the whole world as being that which will solve the problems of other people too.”

“Sitting at the table doesn’t make you a diner, unless you eat some of what’s on that plate. Being here in America doesn’t make you an American. Being born here in America doesn’t make you an American.”

“Me, a Republican? Now that’s funny.”

It’s fine with me if conservatives searching for a Black hero bashing liberals as vigorously as they do  and they try to misappropriate some of Malcolm’s words to do it.   I’m not concerned because its pretty hard to retrofit a Black Nationalist acolyte of Elijah Muhammad like Malcolm X for the Fox News generation.  If they’re not careful they might mess around and expose themselves to a worldview that was at war with their own.  Enlightenment is what Black History Month is supposed to be about after all.   However, if they delude themselves it was only the asses of liberals he had a foot in they will totally miss what Malcolm made plain.

It’s fine with me if conservatives searching for a Black hero bashing liberals as vigorously as they do  and they try to misappropriate some of Malcolm’s words to do it.  It’s  hard to retrofit a fiercely symbol of Black manhood like Malcolm X as a Fox News Republican, but the Right can try if they want.    It won’t stick.   Malcolm rejected the choice of Democrat or Republican as a false choice,  but  if some White Tea-Party types want to read though The Bullet of the Ballot speech looking for some grenades to lob at Barack Obama they can go for it.    They should be careful not to mess around and expose themselves to a worldview  at war with their own.  Enlightenment is what Black History Month is supposed to be about after all.   However, if they delude themselves it was only the asses of liberals he had a foot in they will totally miss what Malcolm made plain.

…the black masses are learning for the first time in 400 years the real truth of how the white man brainwashed the black man, kept him ignorant of his true history, robbed him of his self-confidence. The black masses for the first time are understanding that it’s not a case of being anti-white or anti-Christian, but it’s a case of seeing the true nature of the white man. We’re anti-evil, anti-oppression, anti-lynching. You can’t be anti-those things unless you’re also anti-the oppressor and the lyncher. You can’t be anti-slavery and pro-slavemaster; you can’t be anti-crime and pro-criminal. In fact, Mr. Muhammad teaches that if the present generation of whites would study their own race in the light of their true history, they would be anti-white themselves.

This was a brother who didn’t play favorites.   Malcolm X didn’t see any distinction between White liberals and White conservatives.  He only saw oppressors whose shared racial identity made them adversaries of his own.    Too Black.  Too Strong.  Too much Malcolm to be any kind of Republican.

Any attempt by half-wit right-wingers seeking to body-snatch Malcolm X and turn him into  yet another zombiefied chicken-n’-biscuit eatin’ disgrace to the race like Herman Cain will be met with the acidic contempt and brutal truth it deserves.

Black History Month: Week Three

To leave at twenty-nine years old, MVP, having won the championship in ’64 and played for it in ’65. To go into the movies and break the color barrier and be in a sex scene with Raquel Welch. To get to be in The Dirty Dozen with some great actors. To make more money in one year than you damn near made in nine years of football. Everything about it was ingenious.

~ Jim Brown

February 15 – today in 1848, Sarah Roberts barred from white school in Boston. Her father, Benjamin Roberts, filed the first school integration suit on her behalf. Leon Spinks defeated Muhammad Ali for heavyweight boxing championship. Ali regained the title on September 15 and became the person to win the title three times in 1978.

February 16 – Joe Frazier knocked out Jimmy Ellis in the second round of their New York fight and became the world heavyweight boxing champion in 1970.

February 17James Nathaniel Brown, 74, Pro Football Hall of Fame Fullback, Born February 17, 1936 in St. Simons Island, GA, Michael Jeffrey Jordon, Basketball player, former minor league baseball player, Born New York, New York, February 17, 1963.

Once there were giants...

February 18 – today in 1913, the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority was incorporated at Howard University.

February 19 – Vonetta Flowers became the first black gold medalist in the history of the Winter Olympic Games. She and partner Jull Brakken won the inagural women’s two-person bobsled event in 2002 at Salt Lake City, Utah.

February 20 – Death of Frederick Douglass (78), Douglass was the leading Black spokesman for almost fifty years. He was a major abolitionist and a lecturer and editor. Charles Wade Barkley, basketball player, born Leeds, AL, February 20, 1963.

February 21 – today in 1987, African Americans in Tampa, Florida rebelled after an African American man was killed by a white police officer while in custody.

El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz a.k.a. Malcolm X is assassinated while speaking at The Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan.  He is 39 years old.

Source: http://www.floridablackhistory.com/facts.cfm

In 2002 Vonetta Flowers and Jill Bakken won the gold medal in the women's 2-woman bobsled.

Black History Month: Week Two

“I am not ashamed of my grandparents for having been slaves. I am only ashamed of myself for having at one time being ashamed.”
— Ralph Ellison

February 8 – Figure skater Debi Thomas became the first African American to win the Women’s Singles of the U.S. National Figure Skating Championship competition, was a pre-med student at Stanford University in 1986.

February 9 – In 1979, Baseball Hall of Fame announced that Leroy “Satchel” Paige would be inducted.

February 10 – 1964, After 10 days of debate and voting on 125 amendments, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by a vote of 290-130. The bill prohibited any state or local government or public facility from denying access to anyone because of race or ethnic origin. It further gave the U.S. Attorney General the power to bring school desegregation law suits.

February 11 – today in 1996, Penn’s Baccalaureate Speaker was the Right Reverend Barbara Clementine Harris, a Philadelphian who was the first woman ever to become a bishop in the Anglican Communion.

February 12 – Birthday of William Felton Russell, better known as “Bill” Russel, he was player-coach of the Boston Celtics basketball team in 1968 and 1969. Russell was born in Monroe, Louisiana in 1934.

February 13 – The first Black professional basketball team “The Renaissance” organized 1923.

February 14 – today in 1936, National Negro Congress organized at Chicago meeting attended by 817 delegates representing more than 500 organizations. Asa Phillip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was elected president of the new organization.

Source:  http://www.floridablackhistory.com/facts.cfm

Satchel Paige: "I never threw an illegal pitch. The trouble is, once in a while I toss one that ain't never been seen by this generation."

Black History Month: Week One

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
— Michael Jordan

February 1 – The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery, was adopted by the 38th Congress. Ratification was completed December 6, 1865. Also in 1870, Jonathan Jasper Wright was elected to the South Carolina Supreme Court.

February 2 – Today in 1914, artist William Ellisworth is born in Washington, North Carolina. Educated at Syracuse University, he was a student of Florida artist Augusta Savage. His works were exhibited at Atlanta University, the Whitney Museum, the Two Centuries of Black American Art exhibit, Fisk University, Hampton University, the North Carolina Museum of Art and private collectors.

February 3 – Six time All-Star Bill White was named president of National League IN 1989. Former Saint Louis Cardinals first baseman Bill White is named president of the National League. He is the first African American to head a major sports league. On February 3, 1903; Jack Johnson became the first Negro Heavyweight Champion, The Negro Baseball League founded in 1920.

February 4 – Today in 1986, a stamp of Sojourner Truth is issued by the U.S. Postal Service.

February 5 – Henry “Home Run King” Aaron, baseball superstar was born in 1934.

February 6 – on this day in 1867,The Peabody Fund for Black education in the South established.

February 7 – Negro History week originated by Carter G.Woodson is observed for the first time in 1926.

Sojourner Truth and some White dude.