Malcolm X (film)

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Malcolm X is a 1992 biographical film about the life and times of the African American activist and Black nationalist Malcolm X.

Directed, produced and written by Spike Lee, based on The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley.


Malcolm X[edit]

  • Like every hustler I was trapped. Cats that hung out together trying to find a solution found nothing. Cats that might have proved space or cured cancer, West Indian Archie might have been a mathematical genius... but we were all victims of the American social order.
  • We had the best organization a black man's ever had. Niggers ruined it.
  • The only thing I like integrated is my coffee.
  • We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us!
  • I must emphasize at the outstart that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is not a politician. So I'm not here this afternoon as a Republican, nor as a Democrat; not as a Mason, nor as an Elk; not as a Protestant, nor a Catholic; not as a Christian, nor a Jew; not as a Baptist, nor a Methodist. In fact, not even as an American, because if I was an American, the problem that confronts our people today wouldn't even exist. So I have to stand here today as what I was when I was born: a black man. Before there was any such thing as a Republican or a Democrat, we were black. Before there was any such thing as a Mason or an Elk, we were black. Before there was any such thing as a Jew or a Christian, we were black people! In fact, before there was any such place as America, we were black! And after America has long passed from the scene, there will still be black people.

    I'm gonna tell you like it really is. Every election year these politicians are sent up here to pacify us! They're sent here and setup here by the White Man! This is what they do! They send drugs in Harlem down here to pacify us! They send alcohol down here to pacify us! They send prostitution down here to pacify us! Why you can't even get drugs in Harlem without the White Man's permission! You can't get prostitution in Harlem without the White Man's permission! You can't get gambling in Harlem without the White Man's permission! Every time you break the seal on that liquor bottle, that's a Government seal that you're breaking! Oh, I say and I say it again, ya been had! Ya been took! Ya been hoodwinked! Bamboozled! Led astray! Run amok! This is what He does.

  • Brothers and sisters, I am here to tell you that I charge the white man. I charge the white man with being the greatest murderer on earth. I charge the white man with being the greatest kidnapper on earth. There is no place in this world that this man can go and say he created peace and harmony. Everywhere he's gone he's created havoc. Everywhere he's gone he's created destruction. So I charge him. I charge him with being the greatest kidnapper on this earth! I charge him with being the greatest murderer on this earth! I charge him with being the greatest robber and enslaver on this earth! I charge the white man with being the greatest swine-eater on this earth. The greatest drunkard on this earth! He can't deny the charges! You can't deny the charges! We're the living proof of those charges! You and I are the proof. You're not an American, you are the victim of America. You didn't have a choice coming over here. He didn't say, "Black man, black woman, come on over and help me build America". He said, "Nigger, get down in the bottom of that boat and I'm taking you over there to help me build America". Being born here does not make you an American. I am not an American, you are not an American. You are one of the 22 million black people who are the *victims* of America. You and I, we've never seen any democracy. We didn't see any... democracy on the-the cotton fields of Georgia, wasn't no democracy down there. We didn't see any democracy. We didn't see any democracy on the streets of Harlem or on the streets of Brooklyn or on the streets of Detroit or Chicago. Ain't no democracy down there. No, we've never seem democracy! All we've seen is hypocrisy! We don't see any American Dream. We've experienced only the American Nightmare!
  • To understand this man -- [points at a Negro Panelist] you must know that historically there are two kinds of slaves. House Negroes and Field Negroes. The house Negro lived in the big house; he dressed pretty good; he ate pretty good and he loved the master. Yeah, he loved him more than the master loved himself. If the master's house caught fire, he'd be the first to put the blaze out. If the master got sick, he'd say: "What's a matter, boss; we sick?" We sick! If someone said to him, "Let's run away and escape. Let's separate." He'd say, "Man, are you crazy? What's better than what I got here?" That was the House Negro. In those days he was called the House Nigger. Well, that's what we call them today because we still got a lot of House Niggers running around.
  • If the so-called Negro were American citizens we wouldn't have a race problem. If the Emancipation Proclamation was authentic, you wouldn't have a race problem. If the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution was authentic, you wouldn't have a race problem. If the Supreme Court desegregation decision was authentic, you wouldn't have a race problem. All of this is hypocrisy. These Negro leaders have been telling the white man everything is all right, everything is under control. And they've been telling the white man that Mr. Muhammad is wrong, don't listen to him. But everything Mr. Muhammad has been saying is going to come to pass is now coming to pass and now the Negro leaders are standing up saying that we are about to have a racial explosion. We're going to have a racial explosion and that's more dangerous than an atomic explosion. It's going to explode because black people are dissatisfied. They're dissatisfied now not only with the white man, but with these Negroes who have been sitting around here posing as leaders and spokesmen for black people. Anytime you put too many sparks around a powder keg, the thing is going to explode and if the thing that explodes is still inside the house, then the house will be destroyed. So the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is telling the white man get this powder keg out of your house, let the black people in this country separate from him while there's still time. And if the black man is allowed to separate and go on onto some land of his own, where he can solve his problems, then there won't be any explosion. Complete separation is the only solution to the black and white problem in this country!
  • You may be shocked by these words, but I have eaten from the same plate, drunk from the same glass and prayed to the same God with fellow Muslims whose eyes were blue, whose hair was blond and whose skin was the whitest of whites. And we are brothers, truly; people of all colors and races believing in One God and one humanity. Once before, in prison, the truth came and blinded me. It has happened again...In the past, I have permitted myself to be used to make sweeping indictments of all white people, and these generalizations have caused injuries to some white folks who did not deserve them. Because of the spiritual rebirth which I was blessed to undergo as a result of my pilgrimage to the Holy City of Mecca, I no longer subscribe to sweeping indictments of one race. I intend to be careful not to sentence anyone who has not been proven guilty. I'm not a racist and do not subscribe to any of the tenets of racism. In all honesty and sincerity it can be stated that I wish nothing but freedom, justice and equality: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all people.

    My first concern, of course, is with the group to which I belong, the Afro-Americans, for we, more than any other, are deprived of these inalienable rights. I believe the true practice of Islam can remove the cancer of racism from the hearts and souls of white Americans.

Elijah Muhammad[edit]

  • You will be on the public eye. Beware on them cameras. Oh, them cameras are bad as any narcotic.

Brother Baines[edit]

  • A man curses because he doesn't have the words to say what's on his mind.
  • A Muslim must be strikingly upright; an outstanding example so that those in the darkness can see the power of the light.

Others[edit]

  • Captain Green: [Witnessing Malcolm's control over a mob] That's too much power for one man to have.
  • Ossie Davis: [delivering Malcolm's eulogy] Here, at this final hour, in this quiet place, Harlem has come to bid farewell to one of its brightest hopes. Extinguished now, and gone from us forever. It is not in the memory of man that this beleaguered, unfortunate, but nonetheless proud community, has found a braver, more gallant young champion than this Afro-American who lies before us - unconquered still. I say the word again, as he would want me to: Afro-American. Afro-American Malcolm. Malcolm had stopped being Negro years ago. It had become too small, too puny, too weak a word for him. Malcolm was bigger than that. Malcolm had become an Afro-American, and he wanted so desperately that we, that all his people, would become Afro-Americans, too.

    There are those who still consider it their duty, as friends of the Negro people, to tell us to revile him, to flee, even from the presence of his memory, to save ourselves by writing him out of the history of our turbulent times. And we will smile. They will say that he is of hate, a fanatic, a racist who can only bring evil to the cause for which you struggle! And we will answer and say unto them: Did you ever talk to Brother Malcolm? Did you ever touch him or have him smile at you? Did you ever really listen to him? Was he ever himself associated with violence or any public disturbance? For if you did, you would know him. And if you knew him, you would know why we must honor him: Malcolm was our manhood, our living, black manhood! This was his meaning to his people. And, in honoring him, we honor the best in ourselves.

    However much we may have differed with him or with each other about him and his value as a man, let his going from us serve only to bring us together now. Consigning these mortal remains to earth, the common mother of all, secure in the knowledge that what we place in the ground is no more now a man, but a seed which, after the winter of our discontent, will come forth again to meet us. And we shall know him then for what he was, and is: a prince! Our own black shining prince who didn’t hesitate to die, because he loved us so.

Dialogue[edit]

Malcolm X: [about the disciples of Christ] What color were they?
Chaplain Gill: Well, I don't think we know that for certain.
Malcolm X: But they were Hebrews, were they not?
Chaplain Gill: That's right.
Malcolm X: As was Jesus. Jesus was also a Hebrew.
Chaplain Gill: Why don't you just ask your question.
Malcolm X: What color were the original Hebrews?
Chaplain Gill: I have told you that we don't know that for certain.
Malcolm X: Then you can't believe for certain that Jesus was white.
Chaplain Gill: Just... Just a moment. Just a moment. God is white. [pointing to a painting of a white Jesus hanging on the wall] Isn't it obvious?
Malcolm X: Well, that [nodding to the painting] is obvious, but we don't know if it's obvious that God is white. The honorable Elijah Muhammed teaches us that Jesus did not have blond hair and blue eyes. The honorable Elijah Muhammed teaches us that the images of Jesus that are on prison walls and churches throughout the world are not historically correct because history teaches us that Jesus was born in a region where the people had color.

Coed: Mr. X, I've read some of your speeches and I honestly believe a lot of what you say has truth to it. I have a good heart. I'm a good person despite my whiteness. What can the good white people like myself, who are not prejudiced, or racist, what can we do to help the cause?
Malcolm X: Nothing.

Report #1: Malcolm, you said on your trip abroad you sensed a feeling of great brotherhood.
Malcolm X: As I recall, I pointed out that while I was in Mecca making the pilgrimage, I spoke about the brotherhood that existed at all levels among all people, all colors who had accepted the religion of Islam. I pointed out that what it had done, Islam, for those people despite their complexion differences, that it would probably do America well to study the religion of Islam and perhaps it could drive some of the racism from this society. Muslims look upon themselves as human beings, as part of the human family and therefore look upon all other segments of the human family as part of that same family. Today my friends are black, brown, red, yellow and white.
Reporter #8: Malcolm, are you prepared to go to the United Nations at this point and ask that charges be brought against the United States for its treatment of the American Negroes?
Malcolm X: Oh yes. [the audience applauds] The audience will have to be quiet. Yes, as I pointed out that during my trip that nations, African nations, Asian, Latin nations look very hypocritical when they stand up in the UN condemning South Africa and saying nothing about the racist practices that are manifested everyday against Negroes in this society. I would be not a man if I didn't do so. I wouldn't be a man.
...
Reporter #2: One of your more controversial remarks was a call for black people to get rifles and form rifle clubs sometime back. Do you still favor that for self-defense?
Malcolm X: I don't see why that should be controversial. I think that if white people found themselves victim of the same kind of brutality that black people in this country face, and they saw that the government was either unwilling or unable to protect them, that the intelligence on the part of the whites would make them get some rifles and protect themselves.
Reporter #2: What about the guns, Malcolm?
Malcolm X: Has the white man changed since I went away? Have you put up your guns? The day you stop being violent against my people will be the day I tell folks to put away their guns.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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