Friday, April 12, 2024

Malcolm X Started Me on the Quest for Humanity.

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( Growing up many of us are taught about the Civil Rights Movement. It is engrained in us at an early age that we are to acknowledge the contributions our people made in this era. Furthermore, some of us are brought up in community to know that the war for civil rights never ended. That war is being fought to this day, and the battles we read about in the past just give us the encouragement and groundwork for the work that still must be done. When many of us think about Martin Luther King Jr. civil rights immediately comes to mind. He was an amazing leader and his contribution to humanity, and our people is carved in blood.

I encountered Malcolm X in the 6th grade and read his autobiography for the first time in the 7th grade. I was immediately drawn to his story from criminal to leadership. From illiterate to scholar. His oration was captivating for a girl in the early 90’s living in New Orleans I felt maybe he could help many of us. It wouldn’t be until well into adulthood that I realized one of the greatest lessons I would receive from Brother Malcolm.

When many of us think of Malcolm X, the civil rights movement is not the movement that comes to mind. I needed to ask myself why I don’t associate him. The Civil Movement is not devoid of its radical leadership. That movement covered so much and there were many different leadership styles; everyone was not of a mind for nonviolence in every situation. After thinking about the murder of unarmed black people, the constant references all over social media whereby white supremacist call for an America that would return black people to a state of literal chattel slavery, and as I realize we are literally not seen as human beings by too many white people in this county the reason hit me. Humanity has always been the problem. Our people were fighting for civil rights while not being seen as humans. In that moment I had to acknowledge one of the greatest lessons I learned from Brother Malcolm is simple…if there is no humanity there can be no civil rights.

In a sense we have put the cart before the horse in a situation that should have never existed. There can be arguments about racism, bigotry, prejudices, and discrimination but black people are not even in a space where those issues can be properly addressed. The bottom line is these are fights human beings fight to be recognized as equals. However non-humans have no argument in the fight. That might sound silly but when our people are gunned down unarmed…they are being treated worse than actual dogs. Animals in this country have better protection in this country than black people.  How can really have an in-depth talk on race until we can freely say I am a human being, and no human being has the right to own me in any space?

It’s not simply color, or lack thereof, that white people see…the problem is they don’t acknowledge what they see is a human being. This may seem off to some because we tend to be able to accept that in this world bad people do bad things to people. However, even in those situations the humanity as in physical state of being is usually never the issue. For black people in America it I’ve come to believe it is the primary issue; it is at the root of the war we are fighting. I have Malcolm X to thank for putting me, through his work, on the road to that understanding.

Staff Writer; Christian Starr

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