I usually tell my friends that there is no better time than now to be a pan African and a disciple of the black consciousness movement.
Not only do we have a library of references from our Pan African martyrs (from Kwame Nkrumah, Marcus Garvey and Patrice Lumumba) we have the power of social media that allows us to forge our own image and tell our own story. These are all privileges given to us by our predecessors primarily at a time when they were being demonized my western media through voicing Pan-African or black conscious ideals.
Malcolm X is a good example of media demonization. Buzz words such as demagogue, segregationist or reverse racist arise whenever a speech made by him reached the media in his time. Prior to reading this book, I must admit that my understanding of him was powered by the media’s buzz words. I wasn’t fond of the man, because of my 3rd-person’s narrative of him. I believed he was preaching an anti-white message in the name of avenging the centuries of oppression and enslavement in the United States of America.
Through such strong distaste of Malcolm X, I realize that it could be riddled with ignorance. I picked up his autobiography upon a recommendation of a good friend, I guess primarily to understand why so many people around the world respected and love him so much.
The media’s rendition of Malcom X’s ideals could not have been more polarized from the truth. With some phrases taken out of context , it’s telling what western media at the time wanted to prove at a point of breaking the racial injustice in America.
Malcolm X lived a life more colourful than the mirrors on a kaleidoscope. Having faced multiple adversities, from his home burnt to the ground my racial terrorists, his father brutally murdered over ideologies we carry and implement today, watching his mother severely breakdown to his family torn apart from each other under governmental jurisdiction. In human light, he had more than enough reason to rebel and become a delinquent, of which he became and rose above through Islam faith.
The book takes you through many states of mind which Malcolm X was in, from his inferiority complex of pleasing ‘the white man’, believing that he couldn’t become a lawyer because of his brown skin to a full disgust of white racism, and what the White America’s history of racism on the soil.
It further moves from hate and anger to spirituality and brotherhood. Through Islamic faith, Malcolm X found his way out of a life of crime, drugs and debauchery. Upon the even of his life, Malcolm X believed that the brotherhood and true integration is found in Islamic faith. He believed that this spirituality which promotes love and brotherhood is the cure to race ills in America.
Although I carry different religious beliefs, I understand and respect his notion. I respect the need of creating a conscious Afro-American nation, in helping them realize their power in uplifting their community. He believed in unity, in black excellence, in black empowerment – especially empowerment of their minds. All these believes that we believe in, had him killed (even more unfortunately, he was shot while speaking of these powerful ideologies to an audience of different age, race and gender).
In a nutshell, I genuinely encourage everyone, of every race to read and understand Malcom X’s life, and regain an understanding of the need to carry out the spiritual element holistically in our lives, to forge unity, love and brotherhood.