I continue, at this late hour of the night, to review a number of personal events that have taken place this week. I wish I could share more details on the struggles I have encountered, but it wouldn’t be wise as a number of them have not been resolved. But as I’ve been sitting at home the past two days, my thoughts at times have drifted to Malcolm X. Those who really know me know that he ranks high among my idols Imagine this list: Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, and Malcolm X … wacky isn’t it?
In 1963, Malcolm made a mistake. During the coverage of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, when all Muslim ministers were give directives concerning his death: 1 – Make no remarks about it; 2 – If pressed for comment, say “No Comment.”
Malcolm gave a speech that week titled “God’s Judgment of White America” and it’s theme was a common one for the times. It was basically “as you sow, you shall reap.” At the end of the speech, he opened a question and answer period and the first question given was “What do you think about President Kennedy’s assassination?”
As he did quite often, he answered as he honestly felt. “I see it a case of the chickens coming home to roost” According to his autobiography, he explained: “I said that the hate in white men had not stopped with the killing of defenseless black people, but that hate, allowed to spread unchecked, finally had struck down this country’s Chief of State. I said it was the same thing as happened with Medgar Evers, with Patrice Lumumba, and Madame Nhu’s husband.” Probably not the right time to say it and definitely not in line with the orders for Muslim ministers.
Malcolm later met with Mr. Elijah Muhammad and the two discussed the statement. Muhammad was the leader of the Black Muslim’s at the time and he silenced Malcolm for ninety days so that the organization could distance themselves from Malcolm’s mistake. It is important to note that right away Malcolm said: “Sir, I agree with you, and I submit, one hundred percent.“
I submit. That’s the meaning of the word “Islam“. It’s one of the main tenets of the religion. To be a Muslim means that you have submitted to the will of Allah and that you have submitted to his teachings and commandments. How difficult it is to submit! As a Catholic, I have tried many times to submit to God’s will, but it’s a constant struggle. Malcolm is an idol for me because he understood that struggle as well.
Here’s the problem. After Malcolm left Mr. Muhammad, things started to leak out in the press that Malcolm would be welcomed back into the Black Muslim’s in ninety days “if he submits.“
BUT HE DID SUBMIT! He said it and he lived it! Despite this, people were being given the impression that he had rebelled and wasn’t submitting. According to Malcolm: “This made me suspicious – for the first time. I had completely submitted. But, deliberately, Muslims were being given the impression that I had rebelled. I hadn’t hustled in the streets for years for nothing. I knew when I was being set up.”
This week, I have tried to submit. This week, I have tried to submit and yet stand up for myself in situations where I was being wronged. Come next week, I will be faced with the question – do you try to submit again? But like Malcolm, I have a pretty good sense of when I’m being set up and while I don’t know it for fact, there is a scent in the air – and it’s ain’t good.
Tonight, I wish that Malcolm could help me see my way forward through this mess. I wish I could figure out what my next steps should be so that I can do what is best for me and for my family.