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View Diary: El Hajj Malik el Shabazz, Race & Politics (52 comments)

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  •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
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    javelina

    One quote near the end that caught my eye:

    The differences in how Dr. King and Malcolm X saw white people's role in the cause of Black liberation/civil rights is, IMO, the single greatest reason for the that Dr. King is culturally revered by America and Malcolm X is not.

    King and X had different goals. X, basically up the final several months of his life, saw the ingredients and motivations of the global system of white supremacy as etched into humanity's tribal nature. Therefore, he saw any liberation movement that wasn't prepared to, at the very least, present a credible threat of armed struggle as doomed to failure. Inherently, white-black coalitions would always fall short of using ultimate ends to achieve full freedom. So, you're right that X largely saw whites as irrelevant to his most essential mission - transforming black consciousness from stability-seeking civility to contrast-seeking semi-military mobilization.  

    King was much more concerned with the spiritual salvation of...well...everybody. For King, the civil rights campaigns became a means for testing and strengthening his followers faith in God. Jim Crow's greatest evil was that it corroded blacks' spiritual health and engendered bitterness and self-destructive behavior which would be obstacles for spiritual salvation. Whites' role in the civil rights movement emerged from his observation that they needed to be saved, too. In particular for whites who recognized the evil but saw no easy way to act against it, they too were being spiritually corroded and severed permanently from God. This is why for King the movement had to be interracial. Sure there were earthly political tactical benefits, but moreso, in order to get both blacks and whites to find their more primal sources of spirtual strength, they had to breach the main barriers of the flesh, like race.

    Yes, King is celebrated more than X because he engaged whites more. But he also engaged blacks more deeply too.

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      majcmb1, lauramp, skywriter

      I'm afraid we don't agree with what larger messages can be taken from either man's perspective.  I don't know how much actual primary source reading and study about each of these men you've done but it is critical to do it.  Why?  Because you will see precisely how much divergence there is between what we've been taught each man did/said/thought about the issue of Black empowerment and what they actually did/said/thought about Black empowerment.  The phrase that I most disagree with in your response is this:

      King and X had different goals. X, basically up the final several months of his life, saw the ingredients and motivations of the global system of white supremacy as etched into humanity's tribal nature. Therefore, he saw any liberation movement that wasn't prepared to, at the very least, present a credible threat of armed struggle as doomed to failure. Inherently, white-black coalitions would always fall short of using ultimate ends to achieve full freedom. So, you're right that X largely saw whites as irrelevant to his most essential mission - transforming black consciousness from stability-seeking civility to contrast-seeking semi-military mobilization.

      There are four errors that some primary source reading will confirm for you:

      (a) Dr. King and Malcolm X had the exact same objective, and said so:  Black equality in America, as their primary mission. Numerous writings confirm that.

      (b) Dr. King and Malcolm X were in absolute agreement by the end of their lives that white supremacy in America could not be cured by moral suasion.  Period.  

      ©  Both were deeply religious men -- ministers.  Even when Malcolm was in the Nation that was true.  And both used religion as central rhetorical tools in their strategy.

      (d)  Malcolm X never advocated armed revolution or, as you put it "semi-military mobilization".  I genuinely don't know how you can still say such a thing, as much as I have quoted above about the fact that the only arming he advocated was the purpose of self-defense. He did, however, make clear that Blacks in America would be justified if that's where they went, even as he made clear that America had an alternative to revolutionary struggle that no other country in history had ever been in a position to take (you should listen to Malcolm's several discussions about the "American Bloodless Revolution"; it might become clearer to you).  Please don't make the mistake that most did:  in assuming that he was "advocating military mobilization" you are perpetuating the myth that he advocated violence.  That's simply false, as I have shown with just a few snippets from his work.  Moreover, as I also quoted above, by the end of his life Dr. King was no longer as judgmental about violence as folks need to believe he was.  In other words, they ended up far more aligned in their perspectives than we admit to.

      My separate place for mental meanderings: Political Sapphire

      by shanikka on Mon May 22, 2006 at 06:55:48 AM PDT

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