I happen to love Malcolm X. I loved his honesty and the way he called bull sh** when he saw it, no matter who he offended. I also loved the fact that he was not afraid to grow and evolve as a human being.
He was a brilliant orator and observer of the human condition, and his words --and much of his teachings-- are still relevant today. His House Negro Field Negro speech is the inspiration for this blog. And no matter how you feel about him as a person, you have to admit that his life was an integral and constitutive part of American history.
So why am I writing this? Well apparently not everyone shares my point of view about Brother Malcolm.
"Queens parents are using any means necessary to stop their children’s teachers from besmirching Malcolm X’s name.
Teachers at Public School 201 in Flushing told fourth-graders last week that the controversial activist was “violent” and “bad.” They also refused to let the kids write about the assassinated icon for Black History Month.
Parent Cleatress Brown, 47, of Flushing complained to Principal Rebecca Lozada on Friday after a teacher forbade her fourth-grade son from writing a report on Malcolm X.
“I’m outraged,” said Brown. “As a teacher, you’re imposing your opinion on a bunch of kids.” [Source]
I am so glad that these parents want their children to learn all of America's history, and not just what certain folks feel that they should learn.
There was a time when this would not even have made the news. The poor parents of that school in Queens would have just accepted the teacher's edict and kept it moving. Not anymore.
“It was disrespectful to our history,” said Minor, 33, whose son is not in Brown’s class.
She had her son write about him anyway — and then turn the paper in to her. “That’s called learning,” she said.
Children were asked to pick from several prominent black leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and Malcolm X for the project, Minor said.
“I felt like when he grew up, he wanted to stop segregation so everyone could be equal,” said her son Tyrese Minor, 9."
Yes Tyrese, towards the end of his life he did want to stop "segregation" and want us to "be equal". But unfortunately, even today, not everyone sees it that way.