Malcolm X died today

(If you’re going to read this, take the time to briefly touch the videos and links- it’s the only way things will make sense, I promise.)

Malcolm X was killed today – 49 years ago at 3:30 p.m. on 165th Street, New York City. He was shot, in front of his family, in front of his friends, in front of over 600 earnest listeners at the Audubon Ballroom. He knew it was going to happen that day, he really did, but he went with it anyway. He was prepared to die.

Malcolm died calling for a “black revolution”.  He distinguished this from a “Negro revolution”, which represented civil rights in the United States. He prophesied a Marx-esque global overturn in society. He wanted “Negroes” to join in on the global revolution that “is world-wide in scope and in nature. The black revolution is sweeping Asia, sweeping Africa, is rearing its head in Latin America. The Cuban Revolution…. They overturned the system”. He foresaw a world of egalitarianism for all people, white, “black, brown, red, or yellow”. At the time of his death, he didn’t see whites as evil at all – he met people “whose eyes were the bluest of blue, whose hair was the blondest of blond, and whose skin was the whitest of white” that he could call brothers (Malcolm X, “A Message to the Grassroots”). And as he called for his global revolution in 1965, for his new vision of equality, he was shot and killed. Don’t listen to any media that tells you otherwise – “read the books” (Maya Angelou, recalling Malcolm).

“It is incorrect to classify the revolt of the Negro as simply a racial conflict of Black against White, or as a purely American problem. Rather, we are today seeing a global rebellion of the oppressed against the oppressor, the exploited against the exploiter.” – Malcolm X

Of course, that’s not the whole story. Malcolm was never a mainstream civil rights leader, and never wanted to be and chose not to be. The most mainstream he got was on his deathbed, still calling for a global revolution. He was not a Martin Luther King, who he called a member of the black bourgeoisie. He didn’t have a white picket fence and didn’t work with white liberals on a daily basis. He was a field negroe, a common man.  He was a radical compared to the other great civil rights leaders of his time (this is not to say he didn’t work with the mainstream; he personally knew James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, Maya Angelou, Sydney Poitier, Adam Clayton Powell, and Shirley Du Bois).

What differentiated Malcolm X from the others was his conception of African Americans. He never saw himself as an American, he saw himself and other blacks as Afro-Americans; namely, people robbed from their ancestral past in Africa, forced to live in America. He called on others to remember that past, to remember that legacy. Because of this honorary sense of African Americans, he “was the only leader out there that taught black people to be proud of being black” (Robert Haggins, Malcolm’s photographer.)

“So we are all black people, so-called Negroes, second-class citizens, ex-slaves. You are nothing but a [sic] ex-slave. You don’t like to be told that. But what else are you? You are ex-slaves. You didn’t come here on the “Mayflower.” You came here on a slave ship — in chains, like a horse, or a cow, or a chicken. And you were brought here by the people who came here on the “Mayflower.” You were brought here by the so-called Pilgrims, or Founding Fathers. They were the ones who brought you here.” – Malcolm X, “A Message to the Grassroots”

A friend asked me once, “What did Malcolm X actually DO?” The simple answer is nothing; he didn’t organize unions like Phillip Randolph, marches like Bayard Rustin, or sit-ins like Martin Luther King. Malcolm X didn’t deal with unjust laws or racial separation per se. He dealt with changing minds and perceptions. In the black South, whether it was Birmingham or Atlanta, the largest issue was Jim Crow: bus segregation, school segregation, church segregation. Malcolm X didn’t have to deal with laws in Detroit, New York City, or Omaha. He dealt with urban ghettos and cyclical poverty. He dealt with people who were lost as to their purpose of living, as to their identity, as to their future. He taught his listeners to love themselves, to love their heritage, to love the world around them. He taught them to identify with oppression everywhere, and to fight for justice anywhere. He didn’t teach full integration – he saw that as whitewash. Instead, he taught embracement, nationalism, self-confidence.

Most civil rights leaders didn’t identify with the urban North. In Boston, Lansing, and Baltimore, it wasn’t about being at the back of the bus, but about being at the bottom of society. It was about institutional racism.

Racism is both overt and covert. It takes two, closely related forms: individual whites acting against individual blacks, and acts by the total white community against the black community. We call these individual racism and institutional racism. The first consists of overt acts by individuals, which cause death, injury or the violent destruction of property. This type can be recorded by television cameras; it can frequently be observed in the process of commission. The second type is less overt, far more subtle, less identifiable in terms of specific individuals committing the acts. But it is no less destructive of human life. The second type originates in the operation of established and respected forces in the society, and thus receives far less public condemnation than the first type. When white terrorists bomb a black church and kill five black children, that is an act of individual racism, widely deplored by most segments of the society. But when in that same city – Birmingham, Alabama – five hundred black babies die each year because of the lack of proper food, shelter and medical facilities, and thousands more are destroyed and maimed physically, emotionally and intellectually because of conditions of poverty and discrimination in the black community, that is a function of institutional racism. When a black family moves into a home in a white neighborhood and is stoned, burned or routed out, they are victims of an overt act of individual racism which many people will condemn – at least in words. But it is institutional racism that keeps black people locked in dilapidated slum tenements, subject to the daily prey of exploitative slumlords, merchants, loan sharks and discriminatory real estate agents. The society either pretends it does not know of this latter situation, or is in fact incapable of doing anything meaningful about it.” —Stokely Carmichael, Honorary Prime Minister of the Black Panther Party.

Institutional racism consisted but runs far deeper than Jim Crow. It penetrated the hearts and minds of those in power – whites. It affected Malcolm’s people in the ghetto and on the bus and everywhere in between. Laws don’t change minds, words change minds. Malcolm dealt with minds, perceptions, and identity. That needs to be clear.

“But as racism leads America up the suicide path, I do believe, from the experiences that I have had with them, that the whites of the younger generation, in the colleges and universities, will see the handwriting on the walls and many of them will turn to the spiritual path of truth – the only way left to America to ward off the disaster that racism inevitably must lead to.” – Malcolm X, “Letter from Mecca”

He did this as a performer. Whether it was as a porter on trains that ran in and out of Detroit or on the podium at Oxford University, he was the same Detroit Red, wooing and playing to the audience. He was there to change minds and to get others to act. He wasn’t there for laws, he was there for minds. He wasn’t there to desegregate schools or buses; he was there to remove the mentality of racism and to create the identity of black conscious. He saw politics as a tool for the benefit the black community, not politics as a tool in itself. His speeches reflected just that. He didn’t DO anything, because he didn’t see DOING as enough. Putting black people in white schools won’t end racism, only changing the minds of whites would. And that was only the first step – because there was a revolution coming for a new global order (let’s be clear, time tells us he was dead wrong on this prophecy).

“We must understand the politics of our community…we must know what role politics play in our lives” — Malcolm X, “Ballot or the Bullet”

Malcolm performed to all sorts of audiences across the world. He met with kings, dictators, and presidents across Africa, with communists in South America, with leaders in Europe, and with lay blacks back home. It was for this reason among others that he is so difficult to understand – at one speech he’d call for integration and capitalism, on the other for segregation and communism. On one stage he’s a Muslim whose faith guides his actions, on another stage he’s a Muslim who has no intention of letting people know. The factor of time causes just as much confusion – he began in Black supremacy and died almost mainstream. To discuss all of that requires a whole book. Here, I am trying to highlight the most powerful continuities of Ossie Davis‘s “black shining prince”.

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When looking at this man in his totality, agreeing with him or not, we find a powerful lesson. We see the story of someone who thought big – civil rights wasn’t just about America. We see the story of someone who never compromised his values, yet was always willing to compromise his style. We find someone who thought deep, to the real issues of the time. And we find someone who taught me to be myself and to love myself and try to be no other than myself. Manning Marable tells it best: “Of the figures who tower over twentieth century American history, perhaps none is more complex, more multifaceted and controversial, than Malcolm X” (Malcolm X: A life of reinvention).

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Equality!

http://www.theonion.com/video/judge-rules-white-girl-will-be-tried-as-black-adul,18896/, I like to think that as a society we’ve managed to mostly get passed racism, I know that it will never disappear, but I like to think it’s mostly gone, we have a black president for god’s sake, but then I see stuff like this, yes, I know its satire, and it helps me to realize how naive my thought was, racism isn’t even nearly gone, and there still a lot of work that needs to be done before it truly disappears.

“Let people sto…

“Let people stop boasting about their ancestors. One is only a pious believer or a miserable sinner. All men are sons of Adam, and Adam came from dust.” — The Prophet Muhammad

As narrated by Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi.

One in Three Black Males will go to Prison in their Lifetime

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/04/racial-disparities-criminal-justice_n_4045144.html?utm_hp_ref=tw

I knew this was a problem, but I didn’t know it was that much of a problem…

Jon Stewart on 9/11

This is a clip from his show just 9 days after the September 11th attacks.

More on Jon Stewart

More on the September 11th Tragedy

“My name is Kha…

“My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist.” –Sharukh Khan

From the movie, My Name is Khan. Review of that movie is here.

 

Sharukh Khan is a famous Muslim Bollywood actor.

72 Types Of Americans That Are Considered “Potential Terrorists” In Official Government Documents

Reality Of Christ

SOURCE – The Truth

By Michael Snyder

BusAre you a conservative, a libertarian, a Christian or a gun owner?  Are you opposed to abortion, globalism, Communism, illegal immigration, the United Nations or the New World Order?  Do you believe in conspiracy theories, do you believe that we are living in the “end times” or do you ever visit alternative news websites (such as this one)?  If you answered yes to any of those questions, you are a “potential terrorist” according to official U.S. government documents.  At one time, the term “terrorist” was used very narrowly.  The government applied that label to people like Osama bin Laden and other Islamic jihadists.  But now the Obama administration is removing all references to Islam from terror training materials, and instead the term “terrorist” is being applied to large groups of American citizens.  And if you are a “terrorist”, that means that you…

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My Name is Khan

This is a Bollywood film made in 2010 about an autistic Indian Muslim who moved to America and sets off on a mission to speak to a US President and say “Mr. President, my name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist!”

There a number of themes in this movie, one of which being racism, but another of the fact that well, he’s autistic. He falls for a women, a “normal” women, who soon begins to accept him and a romance occurs. The movie challenges our assumptions of what is “normal” and who is “normal”: the relationship works out, and they get married. Khan does not talk “normally”, and neither does he think “normally”, but his faculties are just as good as anyone and he understands the very basic human emotions we all face: love, anger, joy, regret, etc. He also understands the racism and xenophobia Muslims often face in the West, and sets out on a mission to fix it.

As any Bollywood drama (actually, all Bollywood is drama), there is a dramatic catastrophe that happens in Wilhemina, Georgia. Somehow, this hurricane destroyed almost all of the infrastructure in the little town and lightning strikes the church that everyone is taking shelter in. The church is also flooding several feet high, somehow. Hurricanes can be bad, but let me tell you, the movie exaggerates them quite a bit, especially considering the location. Nevertheless, Khan rushes to the town (he met random people from there once) to help out, and is thanked extensively for his help. The entire event was an emotional story of autistic man that was really more of a man than anyone else.

Now, a SPOILER ALERT. Khan married the girl he fell in love with, and she had a ten year old son already. The son and new father get along beautifully, with both of them learning from each other. The son has a friend whose father is in the military. His father is killed, and the friend blames it on Khan’s son because they are all “terrorists”. Months later, the son meets up with his friend who happens to be hanging out with some older teenagers. The teenagers decide to have some fun, and they team up to bully the son. The friend sits there and watches. The teenagers manage to kill the kid in a heart-wrenching scene, and then Khan’s wife blames it on him because he “is a terrorist” (the wife was Hindu). Khan finds himself in emotional turmoil, but finds solace in helping other people (“normal” people, might I add), instead of resorting to bad deeds. And the saga goes on.

Earlier in the movie, Khan goes to a Presidential rally for U.S. President George W Bush, where exclaims, “My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist!”. He exclaims this a number of times before anyone hears it; the crowd is wild and the protagonist cannot talk “normally”. Eventually, people hear him, the first people being the Secret Service. He is arrested on terrorist suspicion, causing the media to go haywire for the Justice Department’s stupidity. After intense pressure from American citizens, the government lets him go, as he proceeds to live his life as I explained above.

Later, he gets to another rally, this time, years later, with President Obama. Earlier in the movie, he tipped the FBI for a suspected terrorist at some random mosque he attended in California, but the FBI didn’t respond to it. An informer that caught Khan give the tip later stabbed him, and he was rushed to the hospital, where his wife (who abandoned him) returns. Khan comes back to health, and with the media’s attention still on the autistic “terrorist”, President Obama invites him to a rally. Khan comes to the stage to speak the words he has so long wanted to say, but he cannot get himself to say it. Barrack Obama helps him: “I know. Your name is Khan and you are not a terrorist.”

Khan gets back with his wife, and they live happily ever after.

 

Aladdin

You would think that one of the world’s most respectable film companies, Walt Disney, so widely known that the American public entrusts the childhood of their children too, wouldn’t make movies full of racist trash. Not so, apparently

To start off, do Jasmine and Aladdin look Arab at all to you? They appear Caucasian – with brown skin. They have American accents, American (should I say it?) values. And what kind of Arab name is Jasmine, anyway? Meanwhile the bad guys, Jafar, for one, has an Arab name, Arab dress, and Arab looks. Exaggerated Arab looks to be certain, for the purpose of making him look more ugly. Just like the rest of the bad guys. Good guys look American. Bad guys look Arab. Americans are beautiful. Arabs are ugly.

But it gets worse. The original release of the movie had a song lyric: “Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face/It’s barbaric, but, hey, it’s home” It was in reference to the Middle East, where in certain areas such as Saudi Arabia they have amputations as a form of criminal justice, something we’ll talk about later . Amidst controversy of getting politics involved in a children’s movie, they dubbed that over in the DVD release to “Where it’s flat and immense and the heat is intense/It’s barbaric, but, hey, it’s home”.

To add on to the calling the Middle East barbaric and to depicting Arabs as evil,  why is it that every women in the movie has to be wearing as scanty clothing as possible? The women in the movie are practically sex objects. And the scene where Aladdin steals some bread and hides in a room with a bunch of women? People have speculated that was a brothel. Whatever it was, the fact that we can even speculate that in a children’s movie is disgusting. Jasmine wears the same stuff the women in the brothel were wearing too, which doesn’t help much.

One last thing for this rant: how great are the “morals” of it, anyway? Now this movie might be an extreme case, but the simple insistence of Disney to tell children to disobey their parents and do what they want is ludicrous. To make that a sort of moral maxim in the minds of Disney’s audience is all for an agenda – to get children hooked on Disney products, Disney ideals, Disney television. To think that most good parents would want the television to tell their children to not obey their parents is flat out stupid. We have a serious problem in this world where those ideals are treated as universal on children’s television shows. Certainly, challenging the ideals of our parents can be good, but to ingrain the thought into the minds of children that they are more correct then their parents is utterly insane. Mere children cannot reason as we can. When they heard “Don’t obey your parents,” they don’t.

In light of Trayvon Martin

The tragic case of Trayvon Martin we’ve all heard about has spurned an extraordinary discussion on the inner racial tensions in this country. The President himself highlighted this point in his speech, but I wish he emphasized how the law played out in this case. The trial went on for over 4 weeks, and the jurors that heard it spent 14 hours discussing it behind close doors…who else has spent that much time with it? Every one of the jurors came back with the same decision: innocence for Zimmerman. There simply wasn’t enough evidence, and I liked how one person I heard said it: every witness to the case is either dead or biased. That in itself also highlights something that no one seems to be talking about: the failures of the American court system. Granted, I’m no lawyer, and one of the prosecutors of the case in a press conference admitted the mistakes of our system, but defend it as the best in the world. I think I could agree with that. How to fix a system where so much bias exists is a challenge, and I wouldn’t know where to start to accommodate for the failures of man. On an off note, the jury system is something that has also always baffled me. I certainly wouldn’t trust the justice for the death of my child to a random selections of six Americans…would you? But then again, would I trust justice to some old white guy that has never been out of a gated community in his life if I was from the hood? That’s another challenge for our system.

 

But back on to race: how important is it, really, to this trial? I find it difficult to believe that Zimmerman just shot Martin because he was black. Certainly, Zimmerman profiled him. He followed him, and the phone tapes show that he was an obvious racist. But what happened that night is speculative, and the thousands of protestors around this country have probably no better speculations than me. I think it much less fair to call out the jurors as racists. The prosecutors spent some serious time picking 3 of those jurors…why? Those prosecutors weren’t stupid. They had reasons. The media probably won’t just say, because when does the media ever explain things properly? That said, I don’t think protesting the trial changes anything at all. The protestors need to ask themselves: does screaming and flailing your signs around on the streets change racial tensions? There are better ways that they should involve themselves with. The justice system has decided, and there isn’t much else it can do.