The premature death of Malcolm X at the age of 39 left me quite sad in the end. Black Nationalism as a viable political movement also never gained widespread popular support and in the end faded away. The Nation of Islam project, whereby faith in Allah would unite the erstwhile dispersed African brethren also partially failed. While many African Americans today continue to be practicing Muslims, most others have remained adherent to their Christian roots or have deviated into lesser known cults. In this backdrop, one could conclude that despite all the promise that Malcolm X’s leadership and message held, there were fundamental flaws in both his message and his approach. I sensed a degree of racial supremacy in Malcolm X’s message, where he projects blacks, by virtue of being the first humans on the planet, as superior to other races. This assessment is quite misplaced if not malicious. This is borne by the fact that the nonviolent civil disobedience method of public demonstration as espoused by the leaders of the Civil Rights movement proved to be more successful. Indeed the progress made during the Civil Rights movement is a pivotal point for minority rights in this country. I feel that the Barack Obama presidency could not have been possible without those stepping stones.
In conclusion, my overall experience watching the movie was a good one. It educated me about a key episode in the history of the United States. It also helped me understand the true plight of black Americans during the middle of last century. Although Malcolm X’s was assassinated by one from the enemy camp when he was hardly 40 yrs of age, I don’t think his cause was lost with it. To the contrary blacks in America have gained many equitable rights since then and are making their presence felt in all aspects of mainstream American culture, politics and business.
Malcolm X, Produced by Spike Lee and Marvin Worth, Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, released on November 18, 1992.