Organization of Afro-American Unity
2090 Seventh Avenue
New York 27, N.Y.
Dear Organization of Afro-American Unity,
I am a college student at Miami University considering doing volunteer work for some aspect of The Movement. There are different approaches in handling this situation, and deciding which one I want to support was a difficult one. I have examined Malcolm X’s approach of “any means necessary” and Martin Luther King Jr.’s of peaceful protests as my potential methods. Malcolm X used his Muslim principles as a basis for his protests and ideas. He believed in doing whatever had to be done to achieve freedom, even if it involved physically violent means. He wanted to return the violent treatment on the white race that inflicted so much brutality on his race in the past. His approach did offer some aspects that Kings did not. He offered a much more proactive approach that inspired his followers more than King. It is easier to get fired up about something when you are physically protesting compared to the much more passive approach by King. Unfortunately I do not support Malcolm X’s message completely, so I will have to decline the invitation. I am declining because I disagree with his physical approach and his overall message.
While Malcolm X argues his approach is just “self-defense”, physical violence amongst blacks and whites is still a result. While it is easy to get hostile about whites burning down black churches and other violent tactics, the overall goal of “The Movement” is to gain equality. The best way to achieve this equality is to shift the way people think, and retaliation will only cause the whites to be even more brutal and think even less of the black race. On top of that, physical retaliation will allow whites to make justifications that the black race deserves this oppression since they are also harming innocent people. Violence only slows down any progress the black race has made thus far, and will not be beneficial in the long run. Since African Americans are severely outnumbered and the government is not on their side, I believe a physical, violent approach will only make matters worse and prolong any chance at equality.
While I disagree with Malcolm X’s approach, I also believe his overall message on race is slightly flawed. Martin Luther King Jr. wants equality amongst all races, and tris to explain how all races are equal. Malcolm X on the other hand despises the white race. He advocates for separation amongst blacks and whites, but equality cannot be achieved if the two races are separate. I believe that King’s approach of trying to work with the white race is much more effective for the long run. In the future the two races will be living side-by-side regardless so trying to form positive relationships is the best route.
Malcolm X also has racist views. He refers to the whole white race as “white devils. He also claims that every single race is an enemy to the white race. That right there is the