By Gyavira Lasana: From New York USA
The recent 40th anniversary of Macolm X’s assassination set me thinking, and I need to say something about Malcolm X that has not been said before…or I have not heard it said in stark psychological terms…the question is: Why Malcolm?
The answer is directly related to Ossie Davis’ memorable statement that “Malcolm was our manhood”…and what does that mean, that manhood thing?…the answer is rooted in our childhood, to that period, say, five years old to ten years old, when all of us realize that there are two worlds out there, one white and privileged, the other black and severely limited…
Just a couple of years later, the system hits us (literally) with such realities as police brutality, limited education and job opportunities with no chance of
advancement, inferior housing and medical care, and so forth and so on…you know the deal, perhaps better than I do…most of all we were confronted with the bizarre contradiction of the “free and democratic” land in which we lived (and yes, loved)…what to make of all this? What to say?…we said nothing, we did nothing…in response to our oppression, we repressed ourselves, we suppressed the inevitable anger and disgust that accompanies this forced degradation.
Worse, there were the scattered examples of those few who could not hold their tongue—they were lynched, Malcolm “corroborated our reality,” as James Baldwin put it…Malcolm did not say anything new; what he did was SAY it…this audacity, this unchecked speaking out, spread like wildfire; and within a few years, speaking out became the new wisdom…Malcolm did not presage the end of oppression (be real!):
He delivered the end of self-repression…through a complexity of ensuing dynamics, the death of self-repression led to self-exploration, to identity, to blackness, to manhood, if you will…it allows us today, in the face of those who still seek to oppress us, to stand up and say, “I know who I am, I know who you are, and I know what’s going on.”