The black people or rather the African Americans have undergone oppression and discrimination from the whites due to their color. Several black liberation movements started to unite the black people to fight against the injustices through peaceful demonstrations or violent approaches. Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X are among the most discussed activists for such movements. Unlike Martin, Malcolm had first hand and unpleasant encounters with the oppression from the murder of close family members like his dad and uncle. That explains why he preferred the use of violence. The purpose of the paper is to discuss the ideologies of these two men more so the role of Malcolm X in fighting for the black Muslims.
Role of Malcolm X in Denouncing Political, Economic and Social Oppression of African Americans
Malcolm X was a vocal leader and activists of the rights of the black people in mid-20th century. He was making his statements and leading movements under a group known as nation Islam. His primary campaign was that the black people deserved to feel the pride of being blacks and not just oppression from the whites. His fight against oppression against the black population was not only in America but rather extended to Africa and Asia. Malcolm X felt that for the blacks to be elevated from the discriminative separation and segregation there was a need for more vigorous actions and not just nonviolent campaigns and marching as advocated by his counterpart, Martin Luther King junior. According to Carson, he insisted that freedom would be obtained through any means necessary which included active participation and not just words.
Malcolm X had a stern stand in fighting for the unequal treatment subjected to the blacks, and he believed that the white liberals were only pretenders full of hypocrisy and accused them of causing "de facto segregation in schools, housing and other segments of the American life". Through the movement of Nation of Islam under the leadership of Elijah Mohammed, Malcolm led the blacks to demonstrate against the economic oppression that they were undergoing and the secondary treatment they often received. Malcolm X would fearlessly expose the actions of the whites and talk broadly about how the whites did not treat blacks as human beings. He was against the civil rights movements that were advocating for nonviolence saying that "to love someone who hates you is to speak a language they do not understand'. He often advocated that the blacks should instill the element of self-defense in their competitive fight for their rights. Malcolm wondered why the whites excluded the people of color from the political process and called America the land of the free.
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Being Black is a Virtue
According to Marcus Garvey a leading activist for the rights and nondiscrimination of the African Americans, he argued that the world, about Europeans and Americans, had made being black feel like a crime. Malcolm X focus on his movements was to liberate the black people from the analogy of being made to feel like criminals due to their color. Malcolm X was very particular about his agenda and did not allow anything or anyone to deter him from achieving his objectives. He had a dream of a world that would" live in peace and justice". Malcolm main critique was to criticize the "failure of the white people to treat black people as human beings...that were his only critique". The American people had mistreated the African Americans for so long, and Malcolm felt it was time to let the blacks have some liberty, pride and dignity of their color in the country. Blacks had been slaves, alienated from the whites, their property destroyed, killed and evaded like leprosy by the white men. Malcolm x through his movements taught the need for the black people to unite in the fight for their space among the whites through the use of self-defense.
In his several campaigns and movements, Malcolm often emphasized that it was not right for the white Americans to only associate the blacks with issues on crime and misconduct. He joined his colleagues during an occasion when a young Muslim man was shot dead by the police during a demonstration of black Muslims through Nation of Islam.Malcolm x when he visited Africa on the same grounds of black oppression he preached the same gospel that his movement just as that of Marcus Garvey was not to create differences between the blacks and the whites but rather a movement of rebellion of the exploited against the exploiters. To make being black a virtue there was great importance for the blacks to unite together in the fight of getting a social change regarding oppression which was not easy for the blacks to achieve individually. The blacks population was small in comparison to the whites and hence unity among the blacks would be vital in fighting for their rights and collaborating to fight against discrimination by color.
The Ideology of Martin Luther and Malcolm X
Martin Luther King Junior used the ideology of peaceful demonstrations and movements to seek for a stop of the discrimination and oppression of the blacks in America. Luther made friendship with the liberal whites who would join the blacks in protesting about the oppressions and the injustices that the African Americans underwent in the hands of whites. Martin had borrowed his ideology from Gandhi who used the calm approach in India and South Africa to help liberate the blacks from the hands for the blacks. On the contrary, unlike Martin Luther King, Malcolm X was against a peaceful approach to fighting for blacks to be treated as human beings. He advocated for an approach of "giving the whites the same medicine they were giving the blacks". Malcolm X would argue that self-defense is a necessity in the fight for and acquisition of humanity. Martin would assert that the use of violence as advocated for by Malcolm would not give the African Americans liberty or freedom rather it would subject people to more pain and grief. The two gentlemen had the same objective though the differences in their approach to the fight against oppression and discrimination against the blacks by the whites.
What Malcolm Hated
According to Malcolm, the approach taken by Martin was like contempt and ridicule to the oppression and injustices that the blacks were undergoing and he felt that the whites were only pretenders who would not use the same approach if they were in the position of the blacks. Malcolm disliked the advice that some of the whites would give to the blacks on ways through which they can achieve their freedom yet that's not how they dealt with it when in the hands of their colonizers. Another thing that Malcolm did not like was the aspect of the blacks inability to unite and ignore their differences in ideologies to fight for their common goal which was freedom and justice. Instead, the influential black leaders like Malcolm and Martin were busy opposing each other' approach to dealing with the issue. Malcolm was not a violent activist but a leader who had a dream of empowering the blacks to be able to withstand the pressure of the Americans and stand for what is right concerning humanity.
Would Malcolm X have changed his name to the one given to him after he came back from Hajj?
No, he would not have changed his name. Malcolm X changed his name from Malcolm little when he left prison to join the Nation of Islam movement. The change from little to X symbolized a new life with a single objective to fight against the social injustices and oppression subjected by the whites to the black Muslims and blacks at large. His response during the interview meant that he was willing to retain the name until the blacks are no longer oppressed but treated with dignity and pride. Unfortunately, until today African Americans living in America still face different forms of oppression with the most relevant example being the police brutality on the black people as they associate them with a crime.
The strong approach used by Malcolm X was significant in the fight for freedom of the blacks from oppression, segregation, and discrimination. He, however, was not as violent as often portrayed by the press but rather he was advocating for the importance of the blacks to be self-defensive in their struggle for humanity. He had an opinion that the whites were treating the blacks as though they were not humans which was not right owing to the religious teachings that we are all created by one God. However, Martin Luther King had a different approach, and he preferred not a violent ideology in the fight for equality. Malcolm was given another name after visiting Hajj, but he insisted that he would only shift from X if the conditions under which he took the name X changed, with the ongoing harassment of the blacks he would not have changed his name if he was still alive.