Total Pageviews

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley (my review)

America is incredibly fragile right now, July 12, 2016. There have been killings of black men by the police. There have been mass shootings at gay night clubs. There have been sniper-style ambushes that left 5 Dallas policemen dead. 

How do we respond? Attend community forums. 
How do we respond? Pray. 
How do we respond? Befriend police officer, and befriend people who race, ethnicity, religion, or orientation is different than yours. These friendships won't usually come naturally but must be sought, diligently pursued. It will take work, patience, and tremendous humility. 

How do we respond? Listen to black voices and gay voices and Muslim voices as they speak on NPR, in the TV media, in articles, and in public forums. Listen to Black conservatives and fundamentalists, and to black liberals and fundamentalists. I am not saying agree with all they say, but do listen and thoughtfully consider their perspective. 

Another response is to listen to voices from the past. Two giants to consider are Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. I had read many books by or about King, but this was my first reading about Malcolm. It was so rewarding. The only reason I did not give this book 5 stars is the questionable reliability of the ghost writer, Alex Haley. 

He has been widely accused of plagiarism in his book "Roots," and I have read suggestions that the material in this autobiography is embellished by either him or by Malcolm. I cannot verify the book. But, if it were false, it would to be a wide conspiracy involving many to completely falsify the material. Actor Ossie Davis contributes 4 pages of his own feelings about Malcolm at the end of the book. So, if it were all completely conjured up, he's have to be in on it too. And there is no doubt, Malcolm was killed in a spectacular and public fashion and at a young age. Alex Haley did not make that up.

So, I accept that maybe some of it is embellishment while believing that most is pretty close to what happened. And what happened is an amazing spirit of courage and defiance by a man who insisted on being regarded as a man in a time when many whites arrogantly called black men "boy" or worse. Malcolm X contributed to the strength of black men in our country and he should be appreciated for that.

No comments:

Post a Comment