Malcolm X explains Black Nationalism



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Malcolm X /2-06
Malcolm X Explains Black Nationalism

(New York Press Conference, March 12, 1964)


The political philosophy of black nationalism means: we must control the politics and the politicians of our community. They must no longer take orders from outside forces. We will organize, and sweep out of office all Negro politicians who are puppets for the outside forces...

...Whites can help us, but they can’t join us. There can be no black-white unity until there is first black unity. There can be no worker’s solidarity until there is first some racial solidarity. We cannot think of uniting with others, until after we have first united among ourselves...

Concerning non-violence: it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks. It is legal and lawful to own a shotgun or a rifle. We believe in obeying the law.

In areas where our people are constant victims of brutality, and the government seems unable or unwilling to protect them, we should form rifle clubs that can be used to defend our lives and our property in times of emergency... When our people are being bitten by dogs, they are within their rights to kill those dogs.

We should be peaceful, law-abiding—but the time has come for the American Negro to fight back in self-defense whenever and wherever he is being unjustly and unlawfully attacked.

If the government thinks I am wrong for saying this, then let the government start doing its job. (Katz,W., Ed., Eyewitness: The Negro in American History, 1969)


Questions:


  1. Why does Malcolm X argue that “black nationalism means: we must control the politics and the politicians of our community.”?

  2. Why can “Whites... help us, but they can’t join us”? What does he mean?

  3. Why is he opposed to the non-violence protest movement headed by Dr. Martin Luther King?

  4. What is he referring to when he says “It is legal and lawful to own a shotgun or a rifle...”?

  5. When does he advocate the use of violence?



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