Malcolm X on race, society, and the media

Malcolm X was an American Muslim minister who fought for civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s. He often preached for race pride and social justice and encouraged visible minorities to fight against racism and oppression.

Here are Malcolm X’s three thoughts on society and my interpretations of them:

1) “We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity.”

With this quote, Malcolm X is encouraging people, regardless of race and ethnicity, to be more understanding of others because it will lead to unity. Unity, then, will lead to people getting along, which will lead to a better society.

But all this can only happen once we start to understand one another; once we have more empathy and start walking in other’s shoes.

2) “The media's the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”

Malcolm X wants you to not blindly believe anything. The media can (and often does) lie and create false narratives about certain groups of people in society. So, do not believe the media without doing your own research first.

Don’t just trust one news source or one journalist because everyone has biases. Additionally, media corporations have agendas; not all of them exist to inform the public about what is going on around them and around the world. Always look at more than one source and always think about the story/event critically.

Also, don’t believe the narratives told in movies or shows. I know that these are fictional and it is common sense not to believe them, but some people do. Like news sources, movie/show producers have agendas and can have bias too. So, just be critical and think before accepting any worldview.

3) “If you stick a knife nine inches into my back and pull it out three inches, that is not progress. Even if you pull it all the way out, that is not progress. Progress is healing the wound, and America hasn't even begun to pull out the knife.”

In this quote, Malcolm X is saying that racism and discrimination still exist in America (and in nations where colonization occurred). Just because the government has created some policies to help the black community, for instance, it is not enough to heal them from the decades of injustices that their people have gone through. They have to be viewed as equals by society, and they have to be treated as such.

Until this happens… until there is no longer systemic discrimination against minorities, the wound has not been healed; the knife was just pulled out a little bit.

Which Malcolm X quote resonated with you the most? Share it below. Also, which of his quotes do you think needs to be applied to society more to improve it (or must all three be applied)?

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