Thursday, July 2, 2015

Malcolm X, "A very beautiful thing", Bahar Mustafa, and #KillAllWhiteMen

In 1962, while Malcolm X was still part of the Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam, Air France Flight 007 crashed carrying 122 white art patrons from Athens, Georgia and ten crew members. All of the passengers and eight crew members were killed. Ann Uhry Abrams wrote that “the impact on the city in 1962 was comparable to New York of September 11." Out of respect for the mourners, Martin Luther King canceled a sit-in that had been planned to protest segregation.

But Malcolm X said, "I would like to announce a very beautiful thing that has happened...I got a wire from God today...well, all right, somebody came and told me that he really had answered our prayers over in France. He dropped an airplane out of the sky with over 120 white people on it because the Muslims believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But thanks to God, or Jehovah, or Allah, we will continue to pray, and we hope that every day another plane falls out of the sky."

This year, Bahar Mustafa, the diversity officer for Goldsmiths University, London, created an uproar for tweets with the label #killallwhitemen and called people "white trash", a term that manages to be simultaneously racist and classist because it means a white person is, to use the language of the Old South, "lower than a nigger". But since Ms. Mustafa is British, she may not have known the term's history. She may have only thought it referred to white people who disagreed with her.

Lest her name make you think she is not privileged, she graduated in gender and media studies from the expensive school where she works, and she lives with her parents in a "£450,000 three-bedroom terrace". For Americans, that's a $700,000 condo.

In 1964, Malcolm X came back from Mecca with a new understanding of the world. He said, "I totally reject Elijah Muhammad's racist philosophy," and declared, "I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation. I believe that there will be that kind of clash, but I don’t think that it will be based upon the color of the skin."

Insh'allah, Ms. Bahar and her fellow identitarians will someday catch up to Malcolm half a century ago.

Related: Dear liberals, please stop appropriating Malcolm X

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