On America: Dream or Nightmare?

Sincere Whites (That Coed Again) 1964

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Sincere Whites (That Coed Again) 1964

Like the "Press Conference" document, "Sincere Whites" illustrates the impact Malcolm's international trips had on his beliefs, especially his willingness to entertain the possibility of white goodwill and of interracial harmony.

. One of the major troubles that I was having in building the organization that I wanted—an all-black organization whose ultimate objective was to help create a society in which there could exist honest white-black brotherhood—was that my earlier public image, my old so-called "Black Muslim" image, kept blocking me. I was trying to gradually reshape that image. I was trying to turn a corner, into a new regard by the public, especially Negroes; I was no less angry than I had been, but at the same time the true brotherhood I had seen in the Holy World had influenced me to recognize that anger can blind human vision. ...

. I made a lot of speeches, saying: "True Islam taught me that it takes all of the religious, political, economic, psychological, and racial ingredients, or characteristics, to make the Human Family and the Human Society complete.

"Since I learned the truth in Mecca, my dearest friends have come to include all kinds—some Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, agnostics, and even atheists! I have friends who are called capitalists, Socialists, and Communists! Some of my friends are moderates, conservatives, extremists—some are even Uncle Toms! My friends today are black, brown, red, yellow, and white!"...

I knew, better than most Negroes, how many white people truly wanted to see American racial problems solved. I knew that many whites were as frustrated as Negroes. I'll bet I got fifty letters some days from white people. The white people in meeting audiences would throng around me, asking me, after I had addressed them somewhere, "What can a sincere white person do?"

When I say that here now, it makes me think about that little co-ed I told you about, the one who flew from her New England college down to New York and came up to me in the Nation of Islam's restaurant in Harlem, and I told her that there was "nothing" she could do.1 I regret that I told her that. I wish that now I knew her name, or where I could telephone her, or write to her, and tell her what I tell white people now when they present themselves as being sincere, and ask me, one way or another, the same thing that she asked.

The first thing I tell them is that at least where my own particular Black Nationalist organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity, is concerned, they can't join us.. . . Where the really sincere white people have got to do their "proving" of themselves is not among the black victims, but out on the battle lines of where America's racism really is—and that's in, their own home communities; America's racism is among their own 'fellow whites. That's where the sincere whites who really mean to accomplish something have got to work.. ..

I tell sincere white people, "Work in conjunction with us—each of us working among our own kind." Let sincere white individuals find all other white people they can who feel as they do —and let them form their own all-white groups, to work trying to convert other white people who are thinking and acting so racist. Let sincere whites go and teach non-violence to white people!

We will completely respect our white co-workers. They will deserve every credit. We will give them every credit. We will meanwhile be working among our own kind, in our own black communities—showing and teaching black men in ways that only other black men can—that the black man has got to help himself. Working separately; the sincere white people and sincere black people actually will be working together.

In our mutual sincerity we might be able to show a road to the salvation of America's very soul. It can only be salvaged if human rights and dignity, in full, are extended to black men. Only such real, meaningful actions as those which are sincerely motivated from a deep sense of humanism and moral responsibility can get at the basic causes that produce the racial explosions in America today... .
I'm Not a Racist 1964

In this excerpt from his speech to the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU) upon his homecoming from Africa and the Middle East, Malcolm acknowledged the error of considering all whites irredeemably evil. He announced that he- would now judge each person by his or her--actions. Equally significant, though, was his continuing claim that white society collectively was demonstrably evil. Malcolm, to the end, never let whites escape responsibility for their crimes against people of color.

Malcolm's growing Pan Africanism and internationalist perspective are very evident.

... But I think then the white man should know one thing—when I say white man, I'm not saying all of you, whatever you are, because some of you might be all right. And whichever one of you acts all right with me, you're all right with me, as long as you act all right. But if you don't act all right, you're not all right. All you've got to do to be all right with me is act all right. But don't come thinking you're all right just because you're white.

I think that that point has to be made because if you don't clarify it, they go out of here saying you're a racist, that you're against all white people. We're not against all white people. We're against all those that aren't right....

... It should be emphasized over and over and over by you and me that we aren't racists. One of the worst categories to let them put you in is the category of racist

I'm not a racist. I don't judge a man because of his color. I get suspicious of a lot of them and cautious around a lot of them—from experience. Not because of their color, but because of what experience has taught me concerning their overall behavior toward us. So, please don't ever go away saying that we are against people because of their color. We are against them because of what they do to us and because

of what they do to others. All they have to do to get our good will is to show their good will and stop doing all those dirty things to our people. Is that understood?

Also, within the next couple of weeks we will spell out the type of support we got on our effort to bring the United States into the United Nations and charge her with violating our human rights. You and I must take this government before a world forum and show the world that this government has absolutely failed in its duty toward us. It has failed from Washington, D.C., all the way in to New York City. They have failed in their duty toward you and me. They have failed to protect us, they have failed to represent us, they have failed to respect us. And since they have failed, either willingly or because of their inability, we think that they should be brought up there so the world can see them as they actually are.

Now, if this government doesn't want to have her linen washed in public, then we give her a week or two to get her house in order. And if she can't get it in order in two weeks, then get on out there with South Africa and Portugal and the rest of those criminals who have been exploiting and abusing dark-skinned people now for far too long. We're all fed up. Right? Right... .

... But the point and thing that I would like to impress upon every Afro-American leader is that there is no kind of action in this country ever going to bear fruit unless that action is tied in with the overall international struggle.

You waste your time when you talk to this man, just you and him. So when you talk to him, let him know your brother is behind you, and you've got some more brothers behind that brother. That's the only way to talk to him, that's the only language he knows. Why do I say, "Make sure your brother is behind you"? Because you're going to have to fight this man, believe me, yes, you're going to have to fight him. You're going to have to fight him. He doesn't know any other language.. . .

... Once you know what language he speaks in then you can talk to him. And if you want to know what his language is, study his history. His language is blood, his language is power, his language is brutality .. .

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