Saturday, June 1, 2013

Malcolm X became less racist after interactions with Muslims

I have heard many accusations as a Muslim feminist, including that "Islam is a racist religion."

I guess that's why Malcolm X converted his racist beliefs after the pilgrimage to Mecca. He said that seeing Muslims of "all colors, from blue-eyed blonds to black-skinned Africans", interacting as equals led him to see Islam as a means by which racial problems could be overcome. 


(Not that I am saying anyone should convert or that Islam is the only way to end racism. I wouldn't want my husband or anyone else to stop being an atheist or change their beliefs in that way. What I am pointing out is that the true values of the religion is fiercely against racism.) 

After his hajj, Malcolm X articulated a view of white people and racism that represented a deep change from the philosophy he had supported as a minister of the Nation of Islam (a Taliban-like representation of Islam). In a famous letter from Mecca, he wrote that his experiences with white people during his pilgrimage convinced him to "rearrange" his thinking about race and "toss aside some of [his] previous conclusions". In a 1965 conversation with Gordon Parks, two days before his assassination, Malcolm said:
[L]istening to leaders like Nasser, Ben Bella, and Nkrumah awakened me to the dangers of racism. I realized racism isn't just a black and white problem. It's brought bloodbaths to about every nation on earth at one time or another. Brother, remember the time that white college girl came into the restaurant—the one who wanted to help the [Black] Muslims and the whites get together—and I told her there wasn't a ghost of a chance and she went away crying? Well, I've lived to regret that incident.

1 comment:

Zoe Nicholson said...

Imagine if we all walked seven times around our central beliefs, examining them with others from around the world. I love Malcom X for so many reasons, particularly for his openness to change.