Malcolm X On Violence


“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. (link)

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11 Comments

Filed under Defining Freedom, Framing, Historical Quotes, International Relations, Malcolm X: Progressive Model, Quotes to Ponder, Racism in America, U.S. Foreign Policy

11 responses to “Malcolm X On Violence

  1. That pretty much sums up why Malcolm X is reviled or ignored by America – except by the Blacks.

    • I think Malcolm X would point to your comment as an example of somebody who doesn’t even take a moment to think about what he actually said, simply because you already “revile” him.

      What’s striking about your response . . . is the complete absence of a thought or point actually addressing X’s underlying point in the above quote.

      I look forward to hearing the reason you disgagree . . . other than of course . . . that you “revile” and “ignore” him.

      So please sum up your actual argument.

  2. Simple – Malcolm X preached violence revolution in his earlier, pre-Islamic incarnation. This is a perfect example of his fomenting racist violence against Americans.

    The whole tenor of his statement equated racist violence with service to one’s country.

    Fortunately for everyone he eventually got himself straightened out. Sadly, he was killed not too after that so we’ll never know how much he had changed or if he could have actually achieved anything worthwhile.

  3. Lol.

    You continue to refuse to address why Malcolm’s premise is wrong. Here’s the quote again so you can read it closely:

    “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. (link)

    As you will see if you read the words closely this statement does not say violence is good or bad. It says on its face, if violence is good in one case then it is logical that it also applies in another.

    Well actually it is even more nuanced than that. It says if one party promoted and supports violence in one arena, and has no problem with the use of that violence, then the use of “whatever is necessary” if need be violence . . . and here is the point you seem determined to not address “to defend our own people . . . .”

    So please, saying “[t]he whole tenor of his statement equated racist violence with service to one’s country.” does not explain why you have a problem with “defend[ing]” onself from the violence of others.

    I await your pointed response to address the idea itself, not your view of the man.

  4. Simple – committing violence in defense of this country is a sometimes necessary evil. Committing violence – or preaching – it against Americans is wrong and leads to insurrection – which is what X wanted at that point.

    You can sit here all day long and claim that X was only speaking of self-defense, but that would be a lie. X’s views on self-defense included proactive violent measures.

    X was at time in his life no better – much worse actually – than the worst of the KKK.

  5. Lol . . .

    First, find me a quote by Malcom X saying he supported “proactive violent measures” or anything not grounded in self-defense.

    Second, why is violence for America in other countries inherently good, but self-defense within our borders bad?

    Third, speaking of insurrection, looks like you have an issue with our founding fathers, and towards that end the very existence of this country.

    Lol.

  6. Firstly – take all the following quotations together and – if you can step outside your racialist views for a moment – tell me if the composite picture doesn’t promote violence and insurrection:

    “Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery.”

    “Nobody can give you freedom. Nobody can give you equality or justice or anything. If you’re a man, you take it.”

    “Power never takes a back step – only in the face of more power.”

    “Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change.”

    “Our objective is complete freedom, justice and equality by any means necessary.”

    On MLK – “”He got the peace prize, we got the problem…. If I’m following a general, and he’s leading me into a battle, and the enemy tends to give him rewards, or awards, I get suspicious of him. Especially if he gets a peace award before the war is over.”

    “I don’t mean go out and get violent; but at the same time you should never be nonviolent unless you run into some nonviolence. I’m nonviolent with those who are nonviolent with me. But when you drop that violence on me, then you’ve made me go insane, and I’m not responsible for what I do.”

    “It is constitutionally legal to own a shotgun or a rifle. This doesn’t mean you’re going to get a rifle and form battalions and go out looking for white folks, although you’d be within your rights – I mean, you’d be justified; but that would be illegal and we don’t do anything illegal. “

    Secondly – Neither for or placement of violence is necessarily good or bad. If the violence inside our borders is limited to actual direct self-defense against other violence, then it is good.

    Sadly, the composite image of X’s agenda strongly imply that he favored far more than strictly self-defense and proportional responses (least necessary force).

    Thirdly – There’s a bit of a difference between our Founding Fathers rebelling against what amounted to a foreign power and insurrection ala Iraq, which is what most directly equates to the proposed circumstance of a Black insurrection within the US.

  7. BTW – thank you for the interesting and opinionated discussion. It’s somewhat rare for two people such us to be able to – with reasonable calm but no useless and false conciliation – discuss a topic such as Malcolm X.

  8. “thank you for the interesting and opinionated discussion”

    Equally jonolan . . . hopefully we can continue later on in the week, I’ve got a rough week at work so I must press pause on our discussion until then or stop posting and just go-back-and-fourth with you as my blog time.

    Till later this week then when we can resume.

  9. Malcom was on to something. Simply speaking, we are all created in the image of God with certain inalienable rights…one of which is the desire and right to live live as abundantly as possible. All of our citizens must uphold the law, but, sadly to say, we have seen when there were laws that were legal which were morally wrong.

    Racism, in all its forms, must stop.

  10. Cesar

    Malcolm X is reviled by most WHITE people. Because they felt threatened by a black man who spoke mostly truths that white people didn’t–and still don’t-like to be reminded of. Malcolm X was preaching self defense and he was calling out the U.S. government on its hypocrisy. I wonder, Jonolan, if people were brutalizing you and your family, would you not defend yourself? America was much more comfortable with a nice, non-threatening black man–Dr. King–who believed in turning the other cheek. It’s funny how people like you want others to turn the other cheek when they get hit over the head, but when someone attacks you, you’re the first to break out the rifle and assert your right to self defense. You say, “committing violence in defense of this country is a sometimes necessary evil.” Perhaps you’re referring to Iraq or Vietnam? UNBELIEVABLE how some people can describe going to the other side of the world and invading another country as “defending our country”.

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