February 22, 2010

Re-Reading Malcolm X



Malcolm X - Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz-- passed away on the 21st February 1965, assassinated.

Malcolm X happens to be one of my heroes. You didn't know that did you ?

Malcolm X never got the publicity the way Dr.M.L.King did, for obvious reasons. Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz embraced Islam.

For me Malcolm X's ideas are very important today as they were 45 years ago. His ideas are important because contrary to Dr.King, Malcolm X was able to articulate in a very lucid and precise manner and expose what I'd call the "psychology of racism."

Malcom X for me is even more powerful than Frantz Fanon in his de-constructing the "slave mentality".

I remember when the film about his life came out, I watched it 5 times in a row, after having read his book.
Friends and family did not understand why would anyone watch the same film 5 times in a row...

Truth is that Malcolm X was a great inspiration for me, and still remains so. Every time I hear one of his old tapes, his words uplift me and exhilarate me. There is something about this man that ignites the Fire in the Soul. And Malcolm X still does it today, 45 years after his death.

For me, Malcolm X is right up there on my heroes list, next to Che Guevara, Saddam Hussein and Mullah Omar and yes I know you're going to bite my head off  for mentioning those names...

I played the video below about 5 times. And if you want to understand what Malcolm X is all about, I urge you to listen to him several times as well. Each time, a new understanding emerges...Malcolm X uses very simple language...and yet what he refers to is not simplistic by any means.

In that video -- Field Negro versus House Negro -- Malcolm X, in my opinion is not only referring to "negro" as in race or color...he is referring to the historical, political, social, cultural, psychological CONSTRUCT of being "black".

And for me a house Negro is not only a black man/woman as in color, for me a house Negro is also an Arab, an Asian, a Latin American, a European...in other words the house Negro is not about just race even though race plays an element, for me the house Negro is not about a skin color, even though color plays a part, for me the house Negro is a state of mind, a framework in which the mentality of slavery, and here when I say slavery, I am referring to it in the widest sense possible i.e as a given mental structure in which most operate...

And by the same token, a field Negro is not only a black man/woman, a field Negro is not only about color and race, a field negro is someone who has moved out, destroyed that mental slavery construct and hence a field Negro can be very much white in color...even though I concede it is rarer and more difficult to find a white Field Negro.

And again, the white man here for me is not just a race and a skin color, the white man is also a construct, an agent of, and a product of years of colonialism, oppression, exploitation and injustice...that he/she will perpetuate in turn...So one can find a white man who is also  "black" in color, and you can find a white man who is an Arab, and a white man who is an Asian, an Indian, an African, a Latin American..etc...

I saw black white men serving in Iraq. They were not just soldiers, not just mercenaries, they were also engineers, and contractors, and businessmen, just as I saw white Indians and white Sri Lankans and white  Latinos and white Asians and white Arabs and just as I saw very white Iraqis cheering for the white man and his tanks...

Malcolm X's  lucid perceptions and poignant wisdom are still very valid today...and since not much has changed since his physical death...more of a reason to keep his memory, words and vision ignite the Fire within...