Malcolm X Violence Quotes

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If someone puts their hands on you make sure they never put their hands on anybody else again.
Malcolm X (The Autobiography of Malcolm X)
I don't even call it violence when it's in self defense; I call it intelligence.
Malcolm X
Concerning non-violence: it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks.
Malcolm X (Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements)
I don't advocate violence; but if a man steps on my toes, I'll step on his...
Malcolm X
I tell sincere white people, 'Work in conjunction with us- each of us working among our own kind.' Let sincere white individuals find all other white people they can who feel as they do- and let them form their own all-white groups, to work trying to convert other white people who are thinking and acting so racist. Let sincere whites go and teach non-violence to white people! We will completely respect our white co-workers. They will deserve every credit. We will give them every credit. We will meanwhile be working among our own kind, in our own black communities- showing and teaching black men in ways that only other black men can- that the black man has got to help himself. Working separately, the sincere white people and sincere black people actually will be working together. In our mutual sincerity we might be able to show a road to the salvation of America's very soul.
Malcolm X
A man with a rifle or a club can only be stopped by a person who defends himself with a rifle or a club. That's equality. If the United States government doesn't want you and me to have rifles, then take the rifles away from those racists. If they don't want you and me to use clubs, take the clubs away from the racists. If they don't want you and me to get violent, then stop the racists from being violent. Don't teach us non-violence!!!
Malcolm X
On May 19, Malcolm X’s birthday, two police had been machine-gunned on Riverside Drive. I felt sorry for their families, sorry for their children, but i was relieved to see that somebody else besides Black folks and Puerto Ricans and Chicanos was being shot at. I was sick and tired of us being the only victims, and i didn’t care who knew it. As far as i was concerned, the police in the Black communities were nothing but a foreign, occupying army, beating, torturing, and murdering people at whim and without restraint. I despise violence, but i despise it even more when it’s one-sided and used to oppress and repress poor people.
Assata Shakur (Assata: An Autobiography)
When Malcolm X, who is considered the movement’s second-in-command, and heir apparent, points out that the cry of “violence” was not raised, for example, when the Israelis fought to regain Israel, and, indeed, is raised only when black men indicate that they will fight for their rights, he is speaking the truth. The conquests of England, every single one of them bloody, are part of what Americans have in mind when they speak of England’s glory. In the United States, violence and heroism have been made synonymous except when it comes to blacks, and the only way to defeat Malcolm’s point is to concede it and then ask oneself why this is so.
James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time)
When Malcolm X, who is considered the movement’s second-in-command, and heir apparent, points out that the cry of “violence” was not raised, for example, when the Israelis fought to regain Israel, and, indeed, is raised only when black men indicate that they will fight for their rights, he is speaking the truth.
James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time)
When Malcolm X, who is considered the movement’s second-in-command, and heir apparent, points out that the cry of “violence” was not raised, for example, when the Israelis fought to regain Israel, and, indeed, is raised only when black men indicate that they will fight for their rights, he is speaking the truth. The
James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time)
People of color in the internal colonies of the US cannot defend themselves against police brutality or expropriate the means of survival to free themselves from economic servitude. They must wait for enough people of color who have attained more economic privilege (the “house slaves” of Malcolm X’s analysis) and conscientious white people to gather together and hold hands and sing songs. Then, they believe, change will surely come. People in Latin America must suffer patiently, like true martyrs, while white activists in the US “bear witness” and write to Congress. People in Iraq must not fight back. Only if they remain civilians will their deaths be counted and mourned by white peace activists who will, one of these days, muster a protest large enough to stop the war. Indigenous people need to wait just a little longer (say, another 500 years) under the shadow of genocide, slowly dying off on marginal lands, until-well, they’re not a priority right now, so perhaps they need to organize a demonstration or two to win the attention and sympathy of the powerful. Or maybe they could go on strike, engage in Gandhian noncooperation? But wait-a majority of them are already unemployed, noncooperating, fully excluded from the functioning of the system. Nonviolence declares that the American Indians could have fought off Columbus, George Washington, and all the other genocidal butchers with sit-ins; that Crazy Horse, by using violent resistance, became part of the cycle of violence, and was “as bad as” Custer. Nonviolence declares that Africans could have stopped the slave trade with hunger strikes and petitions, and that those who mutinied were as bad as their captors; that mutiny, a form of violence, led to more violence, and, thus, resistance led to more enslavement. Nonviolence refuses to recognize that it can only work for privileged people, who have a status protected by violence, as the perpetrators and beneficiaries of a violent hierarchy.
Peter Gelderloos (How Nonviolence Protects the State)
Their military experience made them more of a threat. Their pride was seen as something in need of control. Once again irrational white supremacist fears turned into extreme forms of brutality. According to the Equal Justice Initiative, no one was more at risk of experiencing violence and targeted racial terror than Black Veterans who had proven their valor and courage as soldiers. Thousands of Black Veterans were assaulted, threatened, abused or lynched following military service. Violence targeted at Black Veterans and their families led to one of the bloodiest summers for Black Americans, known in history as the Red Summer. Approximately 25 race riots broke out across the United States. In different cities, white rioters attacked Black men, women, and children, targeted Black organizational meetings and destroyed Black homes and Black businesses. Hundreds of Black people were killed and thousands were injured in the onslaughts. service
Anna Malaika Tubbs (The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation)
King and Malcolm X were often portrayed as antagonists, in part because of Malcolm’s vitriol and because of comments attributed to King in a 1965 Playboy magazine interview conducted by Alex Haley. But the recent discovery of Haley’s unedited interview transcript shows that King was not as critical as Playboy made him sound. The magazine quoted King saying of Malcolm: “He is very articulate, as you say, but I totally disagree with many of his political and philosophical views … I have often wished that he would talk less of violence, because violence is not going to solve our problem. And in his litany of articulating the despair of the Negro without offering any positive, creative alternative, I feel that Malcolm has done himself and our people a great disservice. Fiery demagogic oratory in the black ghettoes, urging Negroes to arm themselves and prepare to engage in violence, as he has done, can reap nothing but grief.” Here’s what King actually said. PLAYBOY: Dr. King, what is your opinion of Negro extremists who advocate armed violence and sabotage?
Jonathan Eig (King: A Life)
When Malcolm X, who is considered the movement’s second-in-command, and heir apparent, points out that the cry of “violence” was not raised, for example, when the Israelis fought to regain Israel, and, indeed, is raised only when black men indicate that they will fight for their rights, he is speaking the truth. The conquests of England, every single one of them bloody, are part of what Americans have in mind when they speak of England’s glory. In the United States, violence and heroism have been made synonymous except when it comes to blacks, and the only way to defeat Malcolm’s point is to concede it and then ask oneself why this is so. Malcolm’s statement is not answered by references to the triumphs of the N.A.A.C.P., the more particularly since very few liberals have any notion of how long, how costly, and how heartbreaking a task it is to gather the evidence that one can carry into court, or how long such court battles take. Neither is it answered by references to the student sit-in-movement, if only because not all Negroes are students and not all of them live in the South. I, in any case, certainly refuse to be put in the position of denying the truth of Malcolm’s statements simply because I disagree with his conclusions, or in order to pacify the liberal conscience. Things are as bad as the Muslims say they are—in fact, they are worse, and the Muslims do not help matters—but there is no reason that black men should be expected to be more patient, more forbearing, more farseeing than whites; indeed, quite the contrary. The real reason that nonviolence is considered to be a virtue in Negroes—I am not speaking now of its racial value, another matter altogether—is that white men do not want their lives, their self-image, or their property threatened. One wishes they would say so more often. At the end of a television program on which Malcolm X and I both appeared, Malcolm was stopped by a white member of the audience who said, “I have a thousand dollars and an acre of land. What’s going to happen to me?” I admired the directness of the man’s question, but I didn’t hear Malcolm’s reply, because I was trying to explain to someone else that the situation of the Irish a hundred years ago and the situation of the Negro today cannot very usefully be compared.
James Baldwin (The Fire Next Time)
X's death seemed imminent after his break with the NOI. X spoke out several times in support of Dr. King's non-violent methods by describing the alternative – aggressive factions willing to fight back physically and take power and control back through less peaceful means. His words were meant to highlight King's ideal peaceful methods, and to remind people that not everyone shared King's strong will for peace and love no matter what. X believed in defense and strength and he believed that the demonstration of blacks taking back power by responding in a similar way when aggressive actions were taken against blacks. But when he broke from the NOI he became the target of much of the violence and aggression that he had spent years espousing.
Mark Black (Malcolm X and Martin Luther King: A Very Brief History)
Brother MALCOLM ranks about third in influence. He has unlimited freedom of movement in all states, and outside of the Messenger's immediate family he is the most trusted follower. He is an excellent speaker, forceful and convincing. He is an expert organizer and an untiring worker. . . . MALCOLM has a strong hatred for the “blue eyed devils,” but this hatred is not likely to erupt in violence as he is much too clever and intelligent for that. . . . He is fearless and cannot be intimidated by words or threats of personal harm. He has most of the answers at his fingertips and should be carefully dealt with. He is not likely to violate any ordinances or laws. He neither smokes nor drinks and is of high moral character.
Manning Marable (Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Pulitzer Prize Winner))
His sense of community with other blacks is affirmed as he addresses them as “brothers” and “sisters,” a community built not on rational self-interest (as in the American political community) but on affective bonds. His new heroes are Malcolm X, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Angela Davis—and Frantz Fanon. He also prepares for political mobilization in accordance with his new self-image. Although he recognizes that violent revolution on the total scale preached by Fanon is not feasible in America, he will forthrightly adopt a rhetoric that involves “confrontation, bluntness, and directness” in dealing with his former white oppressors and asserting his new and vital self-image. Verbal violence as a form of cultural vitality overlaps with physical violence as part of the same black anti-Western Kultur . Turning the pages of Eldrige Cleaver’s Soul on Ice, George Jackson’s Soledad Brother, or the poetry of LeRoi Jones, one meets with a delight in violence both as a cleansing, purifying process (as in Frantz Fanon’s “holy violence”) and as an affirmation of vital cultural identity. The black inner-city criminal thug took on the glamorous image of Frantz Fanon’s fellah or revolutionary guerrilla cadre, as urban street gangs reorganized themselves as the Black Panthers. In a notorious passage, Norman Mailer had even praised the vitalism and “courage” of these hoodlums when they murder neighborhood store owners. “For one murders not only a weak fifty-year-old man,” he wrote, “but an institution as well,” namely, private property. Mailer concluded that “the hoodlum is therefore daring the unknown, and no matter how brutal the act, it is not altogether cowardly.
Arthur Herman (The Idea of Decline in Western History)
It has always been my belief that I, too, will die by violence. I have done all that I can to be prepared.
Malcolm X (The Autobiography of Malcolm X)
But here’s the thing: Martin Luther King was not the “MLK” of his time, not the “MLK” of legend. Martin Luther King was public enemy number one. Seen as an even greater threat by our government, and a large portion of society, than Malcolm X was. Because what Martin Luther King Jr and Malcolm X fought for was the same: freedom from oppression. At times they used different words and different tactics, but it was their goal that was the threat. Their goal of freedom from racial oppression was and is a direct threat to the system of White Supremacy. And for all of Martin’s actions of peace and love, he was targeted with violence, harassed, arrested, blackmailed, followed by the FBI, and eventually murdered. For all of the pedestals MLK is now put on, far above the reach of ordinary black Americans, Martin was in his life viewed as the most dangerous man in America. Martin was the black man who asked for too much, too loudly. Martin was why white America couldn’t support equality. Because no matter what we ask for, if it threatens the system of White Supremacy, it will always be seen as too much. When we were slaves nursing their babies, we were not nice enough. When we were maids cleaning their homes we were not nice enough. When we were porters shining their shoes we were not nice enough. And when we danced and sang for their entertainment we were not nice enough. For hundreds of years we have been told that the path to freedom from racial oppression lies in our virtue, that our humanity must be earned. We simply don’t deserve equality yet. So when people say that they don’t like my tone, or when they say they can’t support the “militancy” of Black Lives Matter, or when they say that it would be easier if we just didn’t talk about race all the time—I ask one question: Do you believe in justice and equality? Because if you believe in justice and equality you believe in it all of the time, for all people. You believe in it for newborn babies, you believe in it for single mothers, you believe in it for kids in the street, you believe in justice and equality for people you like and people you don’t. You believe in it for people who don’t say please. And if there was anything I could say or do that would convince someone that I or people like me don’t deserve justice or equality, then they never believed in justice and equality in the first place. Yes, I am a Malcolm. And Martin, and Angela, Marcus, Rosa, Biko, Baldwin, Assata, Harriet, and Nina. I’m fighting for liberation. I’m filled with righteous anger and love. I’m shouting, as all before me have in their way. And I’m a human being who was born deserving justice and equality, and that is all you should need to know in order to stand by my side.
Ijeoma Oluo (So You Want to Talk About Race)
To the extent that we place a positive value on social stratification and hierarchies, whether actively or passively, then we signal to our children that status systems are a good thing, and they are likely then to reproduce their own versions. Working to dismantle all status hierarchies, however, does not at all require that we stop making distinctions between better or worse quality work, whether in the arts, the sciences, or any other field of endeavor. We have to recognize that the only basis on which we can live with each other without violence is one of mutual respect, a respect that is so deep and unconditional that it is not dependent on achievement or behavior, but is respect for human dignity, for the inviolability of the human soul and personality, and a determination not to subject anyone to any shame that is not an unavoidable consequence of the fact that we are all imperfect and therefore will all inevitably and appropriately suffer from the narcissistic wound of acknowledging our own imperfections. Finally, it is important to remember Malcolm X's insight that no one can give someone else self-esteem or self-respect; people can only acquire that for themselves, through their own achievements and way of life. But we can choose whether we make available the tools people need to acquire their own self-esteem, by deciding whether to do everything possible to guarantee true equality of opportunity, including equal access to education. Thus it is not enough to provide schools like Columbine High School only for the children of the affluent white upper-middle class. It is just as essential to provide schools of equal quality for every child everywhere, for failure to do so sends a message to all our children, both those in the ghetto and those in the Columbines of the world. This message is that creating status hierarchies that expose those at the bottom to soul-destroying, violence-provoking intensities of humiliation is acceptable human behavior.
James Gilligan (Preventing Violence (Prospects for Tomorrow))
Among the reasons my father had decided to risk and dedicate his life to help disseminate this philosophy among his people was that he had seen four of his six brothers die by violence, three of them killed by white men, including one by lynching. What my father could not know then was that of the remaining three, including himself, only one, my Uncle Jim, would die in bed, of natural causes. Northern white police were later to shoot my Uncle Oscar. And my father was finally himself to die by the white man’s hands. It has always been my belief that I, too, will die by violence. I have done all that I can to be prepared.
Malcolm X (The Autobiography of Malcolm X)
Dehumanization takes various forms. People are treated as less than human when their basic rights are not granted/respected, when their agency is taken away, when they are objectified through language and actions, when violence is used against them, and when they are expected to remain silent despite these circumstances.
Anna Malaika Tubbs (The Three Mothers: How the Mothers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and James Baldwin Shaped a Nation)
Just because you are anti-police, that does not necessarily mean that your whiteness has disappeared or that anti-Black racism is gone. Remember what James Baldwin told us, “White Americans find it as difficult as white people elsewhere do to divest themselves of the notion that they are in possession of some intrinsic value that black people need, or want.”5 Even Dr. King—yes, the one that even conservatives love to tout as the content-of-your-character caricature—argued that he was disappointed in the “white moderate” who “is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice . . . who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom.”6 White liberals are who we should be concerned about. Of course, Malcolm X warned us to be aware of the fox and the wolf—by which he meant that white liberals would try and be your friend in order to take advantage of you, but the wolf would always make clear its intentions and commit an act of violence. Finally, let’s not forget the words of South African and Black Consciousness movement freedom fighter Steve Biko, who wrote of white liberals: Instead of involving themselves in an all-out attempt to stamp out racism from their white society, liberals waste lots of time trying to prove to as many blacks as they can find that they are liberal.
Kyle T. Mays (An Afro-Indigenous History of the United States (ReVisioning History Book 6))
DR. KING: Fiery, demagogic oratory in the black ghettoes, urging Negroes to arm themselves and prepare to engage in violence can achieve nothing but negative results. Those who are fired up in the audiences go home and face the same unchanged conditions; what is left but for them to become bitter, disillusioned and cynical. The extremist leaders who offer a call to arms are invariably unwilling to lead what they themselves know would certainly end in bloody, chaotic total failure. The struggle of the Negro in America, to be successful, must be waged with positive efforts that are kept strictly within the framework of our democratic society. This means reaching and moving the large groups of people necessary—of both races—to activate sufficiently the conscience of a nation. It is this effort that the S.C.L.C. attempts to achieve through the program which we call creative non-violent direct-action. PLAYBOY: Dr. King, would you care to comment upon the articulate former Black Muslim, Malcolm X?
Jonathan Eig (King: A Life)
DR. KING: Fiery, demagogic oratory in the black ghettoes, urging Negroes to arm themselves and prepare to engage in violence can achieve nothing but negative results. Those who are fired up in the audiences go home and face the same unchanged conditions; what is left but for them to become bitter, disillusioned and cynical. The extremist leaders who offer a call to arms are invariably unwilling to lead what they themselves know would certainly end in bloody, chaotic total failure. The struggle of the Negro in America, to be successful, must be waged with positive efforts that are kept strictly within the framework of our democratic society. This means reaching and moving the large groups of people necessary—of both races—to activate sufficiently the conscience of a nation. It is this effort that the S.C.L.C. attempts to achieve through the program which we call creative non-violent direct-action. PLAYBOY: Dr. King, would you care to comment upon the articulate former Black Muslim, Malcolm X? DR. KING: I have met Malcolm X, but circumstances didn’t enable me to talk with him for more than a minute. I totally disagree with many of his political and philosophical views, as I understand them. He is very articulate, as you say. I don’t want to seem to sound as if I feel so self-righteous, or absolutist, that I think I have the only truth, the only way. Maybe he does have some of the answer. But I know that I have so often felt that I wished that he would talk less of violence, because I don’t think that violence can solve our problem. And in his litany of expressing the despair of the Negro, without offering a positive, creative approach, I think that he falls into a rut sometimes.
Jonathan Eig (King: A Life)
The FBI nicknamed the program COINTELPRO, as a shorthand for "counterintelligence program." COINTELPRO originated in the 1950s, to prevent socialist movements from developing in the United States, and the program rose to new heights in the Black Power era. Even prior to Stokely Carmichael's first calls for Black Power in 1966, the FBI was organizing to undermine civil rights movement efforts. The Black organizations they labeled as "militant' included not only Stokely's SNCC but also the Rev. Dr. King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a group that never wavered in its dedication to nonviolent civil disobedience. Between 1963 and 1971, the FBI ran nearly three hundred separate COINTELPRO operations against Black nationalist groups, the majority of which targeted the Black Panther Party. The program's major goals were to: 1. Prevent the coalition of militant Black nationalist groups, as there would be strength in unity. 2. Prevent the rise of a "messiah" who could unify and electrify the movement, such as the Rev. Dr. King or Malcolm X. 3. Prevent violence, ideally by neutralizing movement leaders before they could become violent. 4. Prevent Black nationalist leaders from gaining respectability, ideally by discrediting them in the eyes of white people, Black people, and radicals of all races. 5. Prevent young people from joining the groups and increasing their membership base.
Kekla Magoon (Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party's Promise to the People)
Like Malcolm X said, “I don’t call it violence when it’s self-defense. I call it intelligence.
Kazuki Kaneshiro (Go)