American Experience


A Dramatic Shift in the Struggle

This clip highlights the dramatic shift Malcolm X, and the Nation of Islam, brought to the struggle for rights, by advocating separation and rejecting non-violence in the face of white oppression and brutality.

AIRED: January 26, 1994 | 0:02:04

(dogs barking)

WALLACE D. MUHAMMAD: The '60s showed us the white man

in the image that the Nation of Islam had cast him in,

in the image of a brutal person, you know,

turning the dogs out on the demonstrators,

using the fire hoses.

So all this helped the Nation of Islam's charge

against the white race...

And made it possible for the Nation of Islam's spokesman,

for Malcolm X,

to get the press, to get the camera on him

and to state what he had confidence in

that was an alternative, and that was separation.

As Muslims, we believe that separation

is the best way and the only sensible way,

not integration.

But on the other hand,

when we see our people being brutalized

by white bigots, white racists,

we think that they are foolish

to allow themselves to be beaten and brutalized

and do nothing whatsoever to protect themselves.

If a dog is biting a black man,

the black man should kill the dog,

whether the dog is a police dog or a hound dog

or any kind of dog.

If a dog is sicced on a black man

when that black man is doing nothing

but trying to take advantage

of what the government says is supposed to be his,

then that black man should kill that dog

or any two-legged dog who sics the dog on him.

When Malcolm talks, all the Muslim ministers talk,

they articulate for all the Negro people who hear them,

who listen to them, they articulate their suffering,

the suffering which has been in this country so long denied.

That's Malcolm's great authority over any of his audiences.

He corroborates their reality.


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