There is no denying that Malcolm X was a deafening voice in the pursuit of social justice for blacks in the sixties. Unlike Dr. Martin Luther King, he sought equality “by whatever means necessary.” He claimed “the ballot or the bullet,” during his infamous speech, in order to spread the idea of Black Nationalism among his fellow African Americans.
A grave mistake Malcolm X made during his preaching was his identification as a nonAmerican. He announces that he is, instead, simply an African surviving in the United States and demands that his fellow African Americans also drop the “Americans” from their identification. Once they have done so, they must come together in order to destroy “the evils that are destroying the moral fiber of our community.” This, according to Malcolm X, is Black Nationalism.
I do not, for even a moment, doubt the social injustices of African Americans were once monstrous. I even agree with the idea of Black Nationalism: the support of the African American community to create civil equality. What I have troubles identifying with, however, is Malcolm X’s detest of the American title.
I must, once again, compare this civil rights battle to the struggle for gay rights in our country. While I am, unfortunately, not an active protester for gay marriage, I do understand what is necessary to accomplish equality for the sexual minorities. One of these necessities is the importance of identifying with and finding similarities to the majority. Unfortunately, we live in a society where the majority decides the rights and fates of the minorities. I find, as a lesbian, when defending my rights to marriage to someone of heterosexual identification, I claim that I should be able to marry and receive marital benefits just as they are allowed the opportunity because, like them, I am a citizen of a country that seeks equality. This common identification that homo- and heterosexuals share allows the majority to see similarities in the minorities.
This is why I believe Malcolm X’s misidentification was a complete failure. In order for whites (the majority) to understand the need for social equality for the blacks (the minority) they must be able to identify with them. Malcolm X merely further segregated his own people.
Black Nationalism is as much of a necessity as prevalent LGBTQ communities are. These groups are established in order to accentuate a cause and also to provide support for one another during the fight. I will agree that social justice is worth an actual fight, and I would even go as far as to agree that “any means necessary” could be effective; however, in order to be effective, one must not segregate his cause.