Fifty years ago to the day, Malcolm X was shot and killed. Some say that the gunmen were egged on by agents of the State as part of the FBI’s COINTELPRO tactics that created and exacerbated rifts among activists.
Whatever the case may be, the man certainly had something to say that the powers that be did not want the people listening to. One topics which he was especially vocal about, both during his Nation of Islam days, as well as after returning from Hajj as a more traditional Muslim, was the issue of police brutality.
Decades later we are still dealing with the same issues, and his words remain as poignant today as they were over 50 years ago…
On June 8, 1964, Mike Wallace interviewed Malcolm X, who had by this time denounced all discrimination or separation between white and black, saying: “I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation – every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of color.”
The interview begins with Wallace asking Malcolm about potential resistance to police brutality.
“Mr. Malcolm, you have suggested that there are all kinds of movements in Harlem that you or I don’t know about?” he asked.
Malcolm responded, saying that “the police commissioner feeds the type of statistics to the white public to make them think that Harlem is a complete criminal area where everyone is prone towards violence. This gives the police the impression that they can then go and brutalize the Negroes, or suppress the Negroes, or even frighten the Negroes.”
Does this sound familiar? Has anything changed with the mainstream media today?
“This force that is so visible in the Harlem community,” Malcolm continued, “creates a spirit of resentment in every Negro. They think they are living in a police state, and they become hostile toward the policemen. They think that the policeman is there to be against them rather than to protect them. And these thoughts, these frustrations, these apparitions, automatically are sufficient to make these Negroes begin to form means and ways to protect themselves in case the police themselves get too far out of line.”
Malcolm hit the nail on the head, but he didn’t directly answer the question about “invisible movements,” though many have read between the lines. Watch the interview below…
What do you think that Malcolm meant by “invisible movements” as the solution to police brutality? Who are these “invisible movements” today?
Share your thoughts with us, and share Malcolm’s commentary on to help his words live on.
(Article by M. David and Abu Hussein)