Malcolm X: A Black Segregationist

Malcolm X was a very influential, amicable, and talented speaker. So much so that the FBI and police force tracked his every move. What I was not aware of was that Malcolm X was also against integration. He saw integration and interracial marriage as unnecessary and wicked. I had never grown up with this perspective, I had always been taught that segregation was bad and the only solution on the table was integration. Today, we can see some of the fears that Malcolm X had in mind with regard to integration. On a trip to the South with a class I took at Notre Dame, we visited a couple of HBCUs with formally thriving communities that surrounded the institutions prior to integration. Movie theaters, grocery stores, and businesses all around: today, they can all be seen vacant, out of business, or run down completely. Malcolm X had the theory that this would be a possibility. Black business owners would not be able to thrive with so much competition against much larger white-owned businesses, and black businesses would go out of business. Malcolm X wanted separate and equal opportunities for everyone, but it seems that this would be much more challenging than the post-integration period. Of course, many black businesses exist today, but many were brought down because of the economic hardships of integration. Racial issues today can be intertwined with America’s capitalistic goals and can have horrendous outcomes in the future. While I still stand with the idea that integration would be the right solution to eliminate the “separate, but equal” mentality, I have come to understand some of the repercussions of this naive perspective. To be clear, I do not believe segregation should be upheld, but the United States has a moral obligation to offer some form of reparation for this type of disinvestment of Black Americans and revitalize the communities that were crushed during the 60s and 70s. We must remember that some Black-owned businesses were thriving in their time, consider the Tulsa massacred community which was referred to as the Black Wall Street before the complete destruction and great loss of lives and property.