May 19 is Malcolm X Day
WHO IS CARRYING
Photograph copyright © 1965
by Stan Daniels,
WHAT WAS "MALCOLM'S
Malcolm X speaks on the "N" Word
Persons who recognize the emotional thrust and plain show of disrespect in the Southerner's use of
"nigra" and the general use of "nigger" must also realize that
all three words are essentially the same. The other two: "nigra" and "nigger" are blunt and undeceptive.
The one representing respectability, "negro," is merely
the Same substance in a polished package and spelled with a capital letter. This refinement is added so that a degrading
terminology can be legitimately used
in general literature and "polite" conversation without embarrassment.
The term "negro" developed from a word in the Spanish langnage which is actually an adjective
(describing word) meaning "black," that is, the color black. In
plain English, if someone said or was called a "black" or a "dark," even a young child would very
naturally question. "A black what?" or "A dark what?"
because adjectives do not name, they describe. Please take note that in order to make use of this mechanism, a word was
transferred from another language
and deceptively changed in function from an adjective to a noun, which is a naming word. Its application in the nominative
(naming) sense was intentionally
used to portray persons in a position of objects or "things." It stamps the article as being "all alike and
all the same." It denotes: a "darkie," a slave, a
subhuman, an ex-slave, a "negro."
Afro-Americans must reanalyze and particularly question our own use of this term, keeping in mind all
the facts. In light of the historical meanings and current
implications, all intelligent and informed Afro-Americans and Africans continue to reject its use in the noun form as well as
a proper adjective. Its usage shall
continue to be considered as unenlightened and objectionable or deliberately offensive whether in speech or writing.
We accept the use of Afro-American, African, and Black man in reference to persons of African heritage.
To every other part of mankind goes this measure
of just respect. We do not desire more nor shall we accept less.
TALKS WITH YOUNG PEOPLE
"What do you think is responsible for race prejudice in the United States ?"
"Ignorance and greed. And a skillfully designed program of miseducation that goes right along with the American system of exploitation and oppression.
If the entire American population were properly educated - by properly educated, I mean given a true picture of the history and contributions of the black man - I think many whites would be less racist in their feelings. They would have more respect for the black man as a human being. Knowing what the black man's contributions to science and civilization have been in the past, the white man's feelings of superiority would be at least partially negated. Also, the feeling of inferiority that the black man has would be replaced by a balanced knowledge of himself. He'd feel more like a human being. He'd function more like a human being, in a society of human beings.
So it takes education to eliminate it. And just because you have colleges and universities, doesn't mean you have education. The colleges and universities in the American educational system are skillfully used to miseducate."
(Malcolm X in interview with Jack Barnes and Barry Sheppard on January 18, 1965)