Reading this excellent Playboy interview, Parishioners, with Miles Davis (thx Kottke!)
by Alex Haley, September 1, 1962
I noticed that the next interview was with Malcolm X
also by Alex Haley, May 1, 1963.
Having read his autobiography (as told to Alex Haley),
I was most interested & dove into it.
Begins rather well,
with Br X coming off as a thoughtful, respectful dude,
(although with an agenda to push)
praising the Honorable Elijah Mohammed
for enlightening him
but he gradually loses it…
Malcolm X: Insofar as the Christian world is concerned, dictatorships have existed only in areas or countries where you have Roman Catholicism. Catholicism conditions your mind for dictators. Can you think of a single Protestant country that has ever produced a dictator?
Playboy: Germany was predominantly Protestant when Hitler-
The Jews pooled their money and bought the hotels that barred them [Negroes]. They bought Atlantic City and Miami Beach and anything else they wanted. Who owns Hollywood? Who runs the garment industry, the largest industry in New York City?
No, when there’s something worth owning, the Jew’s got it. Walk up and down in any Negro ghetto in America. Ninety percent of the worthwhile businesses you see are Jew-owned. Every night they take the money out. This helps the black man’s community stay a ghetto.
* * *
Playboy: Then you consider it impossible for the white man to be anything but an exploiter and a hypocrite in his relations with the Negro?
Malcolm X: White people are born devils by nature. They don’t become so by deeds.
Playboy: You say that white men are devils by nature. Was Christ a devil?
Malcolm X: Christ wasn’t white. Christ was a black man.
Playboy: On what Scripture do you base this assertion?
Malcolm X: Sir, Billy Graham has made the same statement in public. Why not ask him what Scripture he found it in? When Pope Pius XII died, Life magazine carried a picture of him in his private study kneeling before a black Christ.
Playboy: Those are hardly quotations from Scripture. Was He not reviled as “King of the Jews” – a people the Black Muslims attack?
Malcolm X: Only the poor, brainwashed American Negro has been made to believe that Christ was white, to maneuver him into worshiping the white man.
Malcolm X: Well, Hannibal, the most successful general that ever lived, was a black man. So was Beethoven; Beethoven’s father was one of the blackamoors that hired themselves out in Europe as professional soldiers. Haydn, Beethoven’s teacher, was of African descent. Columbus, the discoverer of America, was a half-black man.
Playboy: According to biographies considered definitive, Beethoven’s father, Johann, was a court tenor in Cologne; Haydn’t parents were Croatian; Columbus’ parents were Italian-
Malcolm X: Whole black empires, like the Moorish, have been whitened to hide the fact that a great black empire had conquered a white empire even before America was discovered. The Moorish civilization – black Africans – conquered and ruled Spain; they kept the light burning in Southern Europe. The word “Moor” means “black,” by the way. Egyptian civilization is a classic example of how the white man stole great African cultures and makes them appear today as white European. The black nation of Egypt is the only country that has a science named after its culture: Egyptology. The ancient Sumerians, a black-skinned people, occupied the Middle Eastern areas and were contemporary with the Egyptian civilization. The Incas, the Aztecs, the Mayans, all dark-skinned Indian people…
* * *
Malcolm X: Mr. Muhammad says that the red, the brown and the yellow are indeed all part of the black nation. Which means that black, brown, red, yellow, all are brothers, all are one family. The white one is a stranger. He’s the odd fellow.
Playboy: Since your classification of black peoples apparently includes the light-skinned Oriental, Middle Eastern and possibly even Latin races as well as the darker Indian and Negroid strains, just how do you decide how light-skinned it’s permissible to be before being condemned as white? And if Caucasian whites are devils by nature, do you classify people by degrees of devilishness according to the lightness of their skin?
Malcolm X: I don’t worry about these little technicalities.
Thoughtful white people know they are inferior to black people. Even Eastland knows it. Anyone who has studied the genetic phase of biology knows that white is considered recessive and black is considered dominant. When you want strong coffee, you ask for black coffee. If you want it light, you want it weak, integrated with white milk. Just like these Negroes who weaken themselves and their race by this integrating and intermixing with whites. If you want bread with no nutritional value, you ask for white bread. All the good that was in it has been bleached out of it, and it will constipate you. If you want pure flour, you ask for dark flour, whole-wheat flour. If you want pure sugar, you want dark sugar.
…there is plenty wrong with Negroes. They have no society. They’re robots, automatons. No minds of their own. I hate to say that about us, but it’s the truth. They are a black body with a white brain. Like the monster Frankenstein. The top part is your bourgeois Negro. He’s your integrator. He’s not interested in his poor black brothers. He’s usually so deep in debt from trying to copy the white man’s social habits that he doesn’t have time to worry about nothing else. They buy the most expensive clothes and cars and eat the cheapest food. They act more like the white man than the white man does himself.
I was finally caught and spent 77 months in three different prisons. But it was the greatest thing that ever happened to me, because it was in prison that I first heard the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. His teachings were what turned me around. The first time I heard the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s statement, “The white man is the devil,” it just clicked. I am a good example of why Islam is spreading so rapidly across the land. I was nothing but another convict, a semi-illiterate criminal.
Playboy: Are you contradicting yourself by denouncing white supremacy while praising its practitioners, since you admit that you share their goal of separation?
Malcolm X: …I prefer the candor of the Southern segregationist to the hypocrisy of the Northern integrationist…
Playboy: If Muslims ultimately gain control as you predict, do you plan to bestow “true freedom” on white people?
Malcolm X: It’s not a case of what would we do, it’s a case of what would God do with whites. What does a judge do with the guilty? Either the guilty atone, or God executes judgement.
I believe in a religion that believes in freedom. Any time I have to accept a religion that won’t let me fight a battle for my people, I say to hell with that religion.
On March 8, 1964, Malcolm X publicly announced his break from the Nation of Islam. He said that he was still a Muslim, but he felt the Nation of Islam had “gone as far as it can” because of its rigid religious teachings. Malcolm X said he was going to organize a black nationalist organization that would try to “heighten the political consciousness” of African Americans. He also expressed his desire to work with other civil rights leaders and said that Elijah Muhammad had prevented him from doing so in the past.
One reason for the separation was growing tension between Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad because of Malcolm X’s dismay about rumors of Muhammad’s extramarital affairs with young secretaries. Such actions were against the teachings of the Nation. Although at first Malcolm X ignored the rumors, he spoke with Muhammad’s son Wallace and the women making the accusations. He came to believe that they were true, and Muhammad confirmed the rumors in 1963.