Monday, April 18, 2005

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

I began this book a week or so ago and am about half way through. I want to tell you all that it is well worth reading. In light of the way I grew up, I want to mention some things about my childhood first.

First off, let me say that I do love my Father since he is my Father. However, he is the most bigoted person I have ever met. This is a very sad fact. One that I do not now nor have I ever agreed with. That fact in itself caused me much physical pain through my early life.

One of my earliest childhood memories is of standing beside my mother meeting George Wallace. I still remember what his eyes looked like to me as he bent down slightly to shake my hand. He scared me - I didn't know why at the time but even as a small child I saw hatred in his eyes and it frightened me beyond anything I had ever known.

I was afraid of him so I stepped behind my mother so that I didn't have to touch his hand. With my parents and the "friends" they had, this was a mistake that I would pay for later at home with a spanking for not being "nice".

Even at that age I wondered how they could whip me for not being nice when George Wallace and even themselves were full of such cold hatred toward good people who had never done anything to harm them. That whipping planted the seeds of rebellion in me, seeds that would grow as long as I drew breath.

I knew I would live my life getting to know people as they are. Liking someone for their qualities not for the color of their skin. Loving people just as they are.

In all the years that I grew up, I never understood the hatred or things I heard about black people. In fact, to me they were just people like me. I knew black kids at school that were such good kids, I couldn't see why my parents would ever think badly of them. For me, peace wasn't to be. As I grew older, my life began to unravel.

I fought more and more with my Father. After my parents divorce, my Mother died. I was 15. I was not like my Mother or Brother who would not fight back. I fought back and then some. I think I fought for all of us. I fought from years of anger over hatred that I never understood. I fought hard against it. I refused to let it pull me under.

Reading The Autobiography of Malcolm X has helped me in more ways than he could ever imagine. Like me, as a youth he fought his way through life and learned lessons the hard way. He gained the ability to love and be loved and to forgive. He learned compassion for everyone and was not afraid to say that he had made a mistake.

His writing is a comfort to me. I understand him and I hope to learn from him as I read on. Knowing that other people have lived much the same way I did - even while in a vastly different life - the outcome is still the same. We learned lessons that shaped us into the people we were to become. With blessings, effort and luck, better people.

There are touching, sad moments in this book as well as some very funny ones. But it all comes back to the same thing. The words of a great man that gave his life for his ideas and beliefs. Ideas that will help anyone fortunate enough to listen.

On that note I leave you with the following. We as people - brothers and sisters of this world - will never find peace until we learn to respect each other as equals. All of us.

"Let us learn to live together in justice and love". El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, Malcolm X


  • malcolm x, he was the man

    By Blogger Deek Deekster, at 2:02 AM  

  • yeah, that's on my personal best books ever read list. His life story is just so interesting, from childhood to assassination, and his personal transformation to a leader is amazing. As an atheist, I'm also amazed by his discovery of the Nation of Islam to be frauds. Great book.

    By Blogger gene, at 11:38 AM  

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