“One of the first things I think young people, especially nowadays, should learn is how to see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself. Then you can come to an intelligent decision for yourself. If you form the habit of going by what you hear others say about someone, or going by what others think about someone, instead of searching that thing out for yourself and seeing for yourself, you will be walking west when you think you"re going east, and you will be walking east when you think you"re going west. This generation, especially of our people, has a burden, more so than any other time in history. The most important thing that we can learn to do today is think for ourselves.
It"s good to keep wide-open ears and listen to what everybody else has to say, but when you come to make a decision, you have to weigh all of what you"ve heard on its own, and place it where it belongs, and come to a decision for yourself; you"ll never regret it. But if you form the habit of taking what someone else says about a thing without checking it out for yourself, you"ll find that other people will have you hating your friends and loving your enemies. This is one of the things that our people are beginning to learn today--that it is very important to think out a situation for yourself. If you don"t do it, you"ll always be maneuvered into a situation where you are never fighting your actual enemies, where you will find yourself fighting your own self.
I think our people in this country are the best examples of that. Many of us want to be nonviolent and we talk very loudly, you know, about being nonviolent. Here in Harlem, where there are probably more black people concentrated than any place in the world, some talk that nonviolent talk too. But we find that they aren"t nonviolent with each other. You can go out to Harlem Hospital, where there are more black patients than any hospital in the world, and see them going in there all cut up and shot up and busted up where they got violent with each other.”
Malcolm X Assertion
In December 1964, Malcolm X gave a speech to a group of Mississippi teenagers. He wanted to make a point that young people, particularly African American youth, should learn to make decisions by themselves by taking information from multiple sources, but being able to understand what was advantageous for them in order to make independent decisions that would allow them to fight for their cause. He felt that more often than not,…