It’s been 50 years since the assassination of Malcolm X. His words are extremely relevant in 2015. Some believe that Malcolm’s speeches from the 1960’s prove that we are still economically lost and politically immature. What do you think?
Excerpt “Ballot or Bullet” Speech April 12, 1964 Detroit, MI
“…The political philosophy of Black Nationalism only means that the black man should control the politics and the politicians in his own community. The — The time — The time when white people can come in our community and get us to vote for them so that they can be our political leaders and tell us what to do and what not to do is long gone.
By the same token, the time when that same white man, knowing that your eyes are too far open, can send another negro into the community and get you and me to support him so he can use him to lead us astray — those days are long gone too.
The political philosophy of Black Nationalism only means that if you and I are going to live in a Black community — and that’s where we’re going to live, cause as soon as you move into one of their — soon as you move out of the Black community into their community, it’s mixed for a period of time, but they’re gone and you’re right there all by yourself again.
We must — We must understand the politics of our community and we must know what politics is supposed to produce. We must know what part politics play in our lives. And until we become politically mature we will always be mislead, lead astray, or deceived or maneuvered into supporting someone politically who doesn’t have the good of our community at heart.
So the political philosophy of Black Nationalism only means that we will have to carry on a program, a political program, of re-education to open our peoples eyes, make us become more politically conscious, politically mature, and then we will — whenever we get ready to cast our ballot that ballot, will be cast for a man of the community who has the good of the community of heart.
The economic philosophy of Black Nationalism only means that we should own and operate and control the economy of our community. You would never found — you can’t open up a black store in a white community. White men won’t even patronize you. And he’s not wrong. He’s got sense enough to look out for himself. You the one who don’t have sense enough to look out for yourself.
The white man — The white man is too intelligent to let someone else come and gain control of the economy of his community. But you will let anyone come in and take control of the economy of your community, control the housing, control the education, control the jobs, control the businesses, under the pre-text that you want to integrate. No, you outta your mind.
The political, the economic philosophy of Black Nationalism only means that we have to become involved in a program of reeducation to educate our people into the importance of knowing that when you spend your dollar out of the community in which you live, the community in which you spend your money becomes richer and richer; the community out which you take your money becomes poorer and poorer.
And because these Negroes, who have been mislead, misguided, are breaking their necks to take their money and spend it with The Man, The Man is becoming richer and richer, and you’re becoming poorer and poorer. And then what happens? The community in which you live becomes a slum. It becomes a ghetto. The conditions become run down. And then you have the audacity to complain about poor housing in a run-down community. Why you run it down yourself when you take your dollar out.
And you and I are in the double-track, because not only do we lose by taking our money someplace else and spending it, when we try and spend it in our own community we’re trapped because we haven’t had sense enough to set up stores and control the businesses of our own community. The man who’s controlling the stores in our community is a man who doesn’t look like we do. He’s a man who doesn’t even live in the community. So you and I, even when we try to spend our money in the block where we live or the area where we live, we’re spending it with a man who, when the sun goes down, takes that basket full of money in another part of the town.
So we’re trapped, trapped, double-trapped, triple -rapped. Anywhere we go we find that we’re trapped. And every kind of solution that someone comes up with is just another trap. But the political and economic philosophy of Black Nationalism — the economic philosophy of Black Nationalism shows our people the importance of setting up these little stores and developing them and expanding them into larger operations…”
– Malcolm X