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36 Quotes of Malcolm X You Should Read To Know Why Black Lives Matter

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George Floyd, a 46 year old black man, was killed by a white cop Derek Chauvin. This grievous incident has led to massive protests across different cities in the U.S. Blacks have been an oppressed minority in America. Historically humiliated for their color of skin, constantly mocked for shapes of their nose and lips, and bullied by whites, blacks continue to face abuses, assaults and discrimination. Malcolm X, a black Afro-American revolutionary, who led a sustained struggle against the white supremacist ideology all through life and fought for the equality and dignity of the oppressed blacks, comes very relevant at the moment now. As usual, when instances of injustices keep recurring, it is always worth reading, rereading and relearning what Malcolm X stood for and how he was right. Below are some selected quotes, which stand very relevant now, when we are dealing with yet another killing in the hands of systemic racism and white supremacy.

On race, white supremacy: Malcolm X speaks

  1. “A race of people is like an individual man; until it uses its own talent, takes pride in its own history, expresses its own culture, affirms its own selfhood, it can never fulfill itself.”
  2. “I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such regardless of their color.
  3. “Racism: the Cancer that is Destroying America,” in Egyptian Gazette (Aug. 25 1964).
  4. No, we are not anti-white. But we don’t have time for the white man. The white man is on top already, the white man is the boss already… He has first-class citizenship already. So you are wasting your time talking to the white man. We are working on our own people.
  5. The day that the black man takes an uncompromising step and realizes that he’s within his rights, when his own freedom is being jeopardized, to use any means necessary to bring about his freedom or put a halt to that injustice, I don’t think he’ll be by himself.”
  6. When we see that our problem is so complicated and so all-encompassing in its intent and content, then we realize that it is no longer a Negro problem, confined only to the American Negro; that it is no longer an American problem, confined only to America, but it is a problem for humanity.
  7. “Yes, I’m an extremist. The black race… is in extremely bad condition. You show me a black man who isn’t an extremist and I’ll show you one who needs psychiatric attention!”
  8. “I find it difficult [to believe] that… Christians accuse [Black Muslims] of teaching racial supremacy or… hatred, because their own history and… teachings are filled with it.”
  9. The white man, in his press, is going to identify me with ‘hate.’

On Brotherhood& Equality: Malcolm X speaks

  1. “I believe in the brotherhood of man, all men, but I don’t believe in brotherhood with anybody who doesn’t want brotherhood with me. I believe in treating people right, but I’m not going to waste my time trying to treat somebody right who doesn’t know how to return the treatment.”
    — Speech, Dec. 12 1964, New York City.
  2. I believe in the brotherhood of all men, but I don’t believe in wasting brotherhood on anyone who doesn’t want to practice it with me. Brotherhood is a two-way street.
  1. “There is nothing in our book, the Koran, that teaches us to suffer peacefully. Our religion teaches us to be intelligent. Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery. That’s a good religion.”
    — “Message to the Grass Roots,” speech, Nov. 1963, Detroit (published in Malcolm X Speaks, ch. 1, 1965).
  1. If, if a white man puts his arm around me voluntarily, that’s brotherhood. But if you – if you hold a gun on him and make him embrace me and pretend to be friendly or brotherly toward me, then that’s not brotherhood, that’s hypocrisy.
  1. “We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.”
  2. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.
  3. If you have a dog, I must have a dog. If you have a rifle, I must have a rifle. If you have a club, I must have a club. This is equality.
  4. “I believe in human rights for everyone, and none of us is qualified to judge each other and that none of us should therefore have that authority.”

On Blacks: Malcolm X speaks

  1. The American Negro never can be blamed for his racial animosities – he is only reacting to 400 years of the conscious racism of the American whites.
  2. My black brothers and sisters – of all religious beliefs, or of no religious beliefs – we all have in common the greatest binding tie we could have. We are all black people!
  3. “The only way we’ll get freedom for ourselves is to identify ourselves with every oppressed people in the world. We are blood brothers to the people of Brazil, Venezuelan Haiti and Cuba.”
  4. “It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.”
    — “Message to the Grass Roots,” speech, Nov. 1963, Detroit (published in Malcolm X Speaks, ch. 1, 1965).
  5. We won’t organize any black man to be a Democrat or a Republican because both of them have sold us out. Both of them have sold us out; both parties have sold us out. Both parties are racist, and the Democratic Party is more racist than the Republican Party.
  6. “What I want to know is how the white man, with the blood of black people dripping off his fingers, can have the audacity to be asking black people [why] they hate him? ”
  7. “Time is on the side of the oppressed today, it’s against the oppressor. Truth is on the side of the oppressed today, it’s against the oppressor. You don’t need anything else.
  8. “We black men have a hard enough time in our own struggle for justice, and already have enough enemies as it is, to make the drastic mistake of attacking each other and adding more weight to an already unbearable load.”
  9. The goal of Dr. Martin Luther King is to give Negroes a chance to sit in a segregated restaurant beside the same white man who had brutalized them for 400 years.

On Revolution and Struggle: Malcolm X speaks

 

  1. “A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”
  2. “The Negro revolution is controlled by foxy white liberals, by the Government itself. But the Black Revolution is controlled only by God.”
    — Speech, Dec. 1, 1963, New York City.
  3. Truth is on the side of the oppressed.
  4. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.
  5. You have to wake the people up first, then you’ll get action.
  6. “People involved in a revolution don’t become part of the system; they destroy the system… The Negro revolution is no revolution because it condemns the system and then asks the system it has condemned to accept them…”
  7. “I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation.”
  8. “I just don’t believe that when people are being unjustly oppressed that they should let someone else set rules for them by which they can come out from under that oppression.”
  9. “If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it is wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it is wrong for America to draft us, and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country.”
    — Speech, Nov. 1963, New York City.
  10. “It is a time for martyrs now, and if I am to be one, it will be for the cause of brotherhood. That’s the only thing that can save this country.”
    — February 19, 1965 (2 days before he was murdered by Nation of Islam followers)
    — Malcolm X

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