Written By: - Date published: 3:01 pm, November 21st, 2008 - 13 comments
Categories: history, racism - Tags: , ,

There’s a lot of fuss about at the moment over Ayman al-Zawahri’s labelling of Barack Obama as the kind of “house negro” described by Malcolm X. It’s a rather absurd comparison, and in my view probably more a sign of Al-Qaeda’s increasing irrelevance than anything else.

But as it turns out, I was listening to that exact Malcolm X speech just a couple of nights ago. While I disagree with a lot of Malcolm X had to say, he sure knew how to say it. And, unlike with Obama’s vacuous rhetoric, Malcolm X left his audience in no doubt what he stood for. Here’s the video for some context:

13 comments on “X-rated”

  1. Duncan 1

    I know it’s probably wrong but I was reminded of the middle management and the aspiring apple-polishers at my work when I watched that clip…

  2. Ben R 2

    Can’t seem to access the clip. Interestingly, after he broke away from Nation of Islam (which probably lead to his assasination) and travelled he modified some of his views apparently:

    “In a 1965 conversation with Gordon Parks, two days before his assassination, Malcolm said:

    [L]istening to leaders like Nasser, Ben Bella, and Nkrumah awakened me to the dangers of racism. I realized racism isn’t just a black and white problem. It’s brought bloodbaths to about every nation on earth at one time or another.

    Brother, remember the time that white college girl came into the restaurant — the one who wanted to help the [Black] Muslims and the whites get together — and I told her there wasn’t a ghost of a chance and she went away crying? Well, I’ve lived to regret that incident. In many parts of the African continent I saw white students helping black people. Something like this kills a lot of argument. I did many things as a [Black] Muslim that I’m sorry for now. I was a zombie then — like all [Black] Muslims — I was hypnotized, pointed in a certain direction and told to march. Well, I guess a man’s entitled to make a fool of himself if he’s ready to pay the cost. It cost me 12 years.

    That was a bad scene, brother. The sickness and madness of those days — I’m glad to be free of them.[188]”

  3. monkey-boy 3

    Malcolm X is mostly reverred as the outspoken black separatist who hussled himself from street kid to world spokesperson on Black civil rights. What many fail to recall also is that he recanted his former spearatist views after his pilgimage to Mecca, and was assassinated by the very brotherhood he’s once so staunchly endorsed. So I would put ‘House Negro’ up there with many of the other negatively loaded racial stereotypes that are mindlessly endorsed by the feeble of mind, before they grow up and realise that life isn’t a comic-book, as perhaps Malcolm X himself might have done while he was hiding out in fear for his life.

  4. higherstandard 4

    What I though was odd in Zawahri’s diatribe was that one fundamentalist piece of scum was busying himself saying peace be on Malcolm X when he as murdered by very similar fundamentalist scum some decades earlier……… bizarre.

  5. Bill 5

    Well, Obama is not in a position of ‘having nothing to lose’.

    And he’s about to embark on a presidency dedicated to saving Capitalism…saving our masters’ house

  6. IrishBill 6

    monkey boy, I thought you were never going to comment here again? Welcome back, we missed you.

  7. monkey boy 7

    Thank you Irish – it is good to be welcome. As you are anytime you want to visit MWT.

  8. rave 8

    According to Juan Cole al-Zawahiri got it wrong. Malcom X would have seen Obama as a ‘master’ and not ‘house slave’. And that al-Zawahiri made his statement because of Obama’s huge popularity in the Muslim world. Damn, wrong master.

  9. A statement I agree with “..unlike with Obama’s vacuous rhetoric, Malcolm X left his audience in no doubt what he stood for.”

    Proposition 8 passed in the same state Obama won in. It does make you wonder if people were voting because they believed in him or for novelty value.

    Poor Obama, he gets compared to Malcolm X and Martin Luther King because of his skin colour (ironically, for the latter, not because of the content of his character) but he really doesn’t seem to be anything more than an effigy.

  10. Pascal's bookie 10

    He beat the crap of the Clinton and GOP machines pretty well for an effigy though.

    The prop 8 business doesn’t tell us anything more than that there are some voters in CA that don’t see his (fairly non extreme) views on the matter as a litmus test. That is, they will use the prop 8 to vote how they like, but don’t consider the fact the Obama has a different opinion on the matter as enough to outweigh whatever else they agree with him about. Makes sense. Obama isn’t going to try and pass any Federal laws or amendments forcing States to recognise gay marriage, so why should it be an issue?

    This is biting. Not for the easily offended I suppose. But seeing Malcom X heads the post, I doubt the need for smelling salts, and it is right on topic re the house slave dynamic.

  11. Dave 11

    Yes, he did beat the crap out of Clinton and GOP. As John Key beat the left with the same empty promise of change, kinda puts it in perspective.

    It’s too early in the morning on a Saturday to be thinking too much though 😛

  12. Pascal's bookie 12

    I’d disagree Dave, but yeah I’m not really up for an argument.

    A few points though

    – Obama beat Clinton tactically in the caucus states. Strategically he knew that Clinton was counting on super tuesday to seal the deal. He survived that and had planned out the rest of his campaign while Clinton was left trying to organise ground game in the rest of the states that she never expected to need to fight in.

    – he beat the GOP by staying on message and not being distracted by the GOP’s relentless everchanging smear runs. He’s a socialist secret muslim with no birth certificate and mates with terrorists etc. He jut ignored that and focussed on his own message, and grass roots organising.

    -Where he differed from Key, is that Obama ran a change message backed by plenty of policy, if one cared to look. You can’t put all that stuff in speeches. It’s boring. But the speeches actually did reflect reality, Obama could point to all sorts of areas and say “this is what Bush has done, McCain promises more of the same, I’ve got other plans. Go look”. Key ran a change message while at the same time adopting most of Labour’s accomplishments and promising not to change them. Key’s change was much more about a ‘changed National’ than a change from Labour’s policy.

  13. Bill 13

    “Obama ran a change message backed by plenty of policy, if one cared to look”

    There will be no change.

    If one cares to understand this then the following article is illuminating


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