The following quotations are from:
Malcolm X, “Message to the Grass Roots,” from Malcolm X Speaks
“We have a common enemy. We have this in common: We have a common oppressor, a common exploiter, and a common discriminator. But once we all realize that we have a common enemy, then we unite—on the basis of what we have in common. And what we have foremost in common is that enemy—the white man. He’s an enemy to all of us. I know some of you all think that some of them aren’t enemies. Time will tell.” 5
“Instead of airing our differences in public, we have to realize we’re all the same family. And when you have a family squabble, you don’t get out on the sidewalk. If you do, everybody calls you uncouth, unrefined, uncivilized, savage. If you don’t make it at home, you settle it at home; you get in the closet, argue it out behind closed doors, and then when you come out on the street, you pose a common front, a united front. And this is what we need to do in the community, and in the city, and in the state. We need to stop airing our differences in front of the white man, put the white man out of our meetings, and then sit down and talk shop with each other. That’s what we’ve got to do.” 6
“As long as the white men sent you to Korea, you bled. He sent you to Germany, you bled. He sent you to the South Pacific to fight the Japanese, you bled. You bleed for white people, but when it comes to seeing your own churches being bombed and little black girls murdered, you haven’t got any blood. You bleed when the white man says bleed; you bite when the white man says bite; and you bark when the white man says bark. I hate to say this about us, but it’s true. How are you going to be nonviolent in Mississippi, as violent as you were in Korea? How can you justify being nonviolent in Mississippi and Alabama, when your churches are being bombed, and your little girls are being murdered, and at the same time you are going to get violent with Hitler, and Tojo, and somebody else you don’t even know?
If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it is wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it is wrong for America to draft us and make us fviolent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend your own people right here in this country.” 8
“So I cite these various revolutions, brothers and sisters, to show you that you don’t have a peaceful revolution. You don’t have a turn-the-other-cheek revolution. The only kind of revolution that is nonviolent is the Negro revolution. The only revolution in which the goal is loving your enemy is the Negro revolution. It’s the only revolution in which the goal is a desegregated lunch counter, a desegregated theater, a desegregated park, and a desegregated public toilet; you can sit down next to white folks—on the toilet. That’s no revolution. Revolution is based on land. Land is the basis of all independence. Land is the basis of freedom, justice, and equality.” 9
“Revolution is bloody, revolution is hostile, revolution knows no compromise, revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way. And you, sitting around here like a knot on the wall saying, ‘I’m going to love these folks no matter how much they hate me.’ No, you need a revolution. Whoever heard of a revolution where they lock arms, as Rev. Cleage was pointing out beautifully, singing ‘We Shall Overcome’? You don’t do that in a revolution. You don’t do any singing, you’re too busy swimming. It’s based on land. A revolutionary wants land so he can set up his own nation, an independent nation. These Negroes aren’t asking for any nation—they’re trying to crawl back on the plantation.” 9-10
“To understand this, you have to go back to what the young brother here referred to as the house Negro and the field Negro back during slavery. There were two kinds of slaves, the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes—they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good because they ate his food—what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved the master more than the master loved himself. They would give their life to save the master’s house—quicker than the master would. If the master said ‘We got a good house here,’ the house Negro would say, ‘Yeah, we got a good house here.’ Whenever the master said ‘we,’ he said ‘we.” That’s how you can tell a house Negro.
If the master’s house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, ‘What’s the matter, boss, we sick?’ We sick! He identified himself with his master, more than his master identified with himself. And if you came to the house Negro and said, ‘Let’s run away, let’s escape, let’s separate,’ the house Negro would look at you and say, ‘Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?’ That was that house Negro. I those days he was called a ‘house nigger.’ And that’s what we call them today, because we’ve still got some house niggers running around here.
This modern house Negro loves his master. He wants to live near him. He’ll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about ‘I’m the only Negro out here.’ ‘I’m the only one on my job.’ ‘I’m the only one in this school.’ You’re nothing but a house Negro. And if someone comes to you right now and says ‘Let’s separate,’ you say the same thing that the house Negro said on the plantation. ‘What you mean, separate? From America, this good white man? Where you going to get a better job than you get here?’ I mean, this is what you say. ‘I aint’ left nothing in Africa,’ that’s what you say. Why, you left your mind in Africa.
On that same plantation, there was the field Negro. The field Negroes—those were the masses. There were always more Negroes in the field than there were Negroes in the house. The Negro in the field caught hell. He ate leftovers. In the house they ate high up on the hog. The Negro in the field didn’t’ get anything but wha was left of the insides of the hog. They call it ‘chitt’lings’ nowadays. In those days they called them what they were—guts. That’s what you were—gut-eaters. And some of you are still gut-eaters.
The field Negro was beaten from morning to night he lived in a shack, in a hut; he wore old, castoff clothes. He hated his master. I say he hated his master. He was intelligent. That house Negro loved his master, but that field Negro—remember, they were in the majority, and they hated the master. When the house caught on fire, he didn’t try to put it out; that field Negro prayed for a wind, for a breeze. When the master got sick, the field Negro prayed that he’d die. If someone came to the field Negro and said ‘Let’s separate, let’s run,’ he didn’t say ‘Where we going?’ He’d say, ‘Any place is better than here.’ You’ve got field Negroes in America today. I’m a field Negro. The masses are the field Negroes. When they see this man’s house on fire, you don’t hear the little Negroes talking about ‘our government is in trouble.’ They say ‘The government is in trouble.’ Imagine a Negro: ‘Our government’! I even heard one say ‘our astronauts.’ They won’t even let him near the plant—and ‘our astronauts’! ‘Our Navy’—that’s Negro that is out of his mind.
Just as the slavemaster of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the same old slavemaster today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, twentieth-century Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, to keep us under control, keep us passive and peaceful and nonviolent. That’s Tom making you nonviolent. It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and because you’ve got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer—peacefully.
The white man does the same thing to you in the street, when he wants to put knots on your head and take advantage of you and not have to be afraid of your fighting back. To keep you from fighting back, he gets these old religious Uncle Toms to teach you and me, just like novocaine, to suffer peacefully. Don’t stop suffering—just suffer peacefully.” 10-12