Image Image Image Image Image
Scroll to Top

To Top


Timeless Words of Malcolm X / By Tarek Mehanna

This is a collection of quotations of Malcolm X, taken from a book called ‘By Any Means Necessary,’ with my occassional commentary below certain selections, if any. Each is timeless.

1) p.139: “… I’ve learned that one cannot take things for granted and then cry when nothing materializes. We must learn that we are masters of our own destiny, but only when we exercise the maximum efforts to get things done. Take nothing for granted in this world, and we will then be assured of success.”

2) p.114: “… If you’re not for that, you’re not for freedom. It means you don’t even want to be a human being. You don’t want to pay the price that is necessary. And you shouldn’t even be allowed around us other humans if you don’t want to pay the price. You should be kept in the cotton patch where you’re not a human being. You’re an animal that belongs in the cotton patch, like a horse and a cow or a chicken or a possum, if you’re not ready to pay the price that is necessary to be paid for recognition and respect as a human being.”

3) p.115: “Didn’t you hear Lyndon B. Johnson last week when he said that they’ll go to war in a minute to protect their life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness? Did they say LBJ was violent? No, they said he was a good president. Well, let’s you and I be good presidents.”

4) p.213: “Without education, you are not going anywhere in this world.”

5) p.152: “… If we are extremists, we’re not ashamed of it. In fact, the conditions that our people suffer are extreme, and an extreme illness cannot be cured with a moderate medicine.”

6) p.154: “I’d like to give you an example. No matter how fearless a dog is, you catch him out on the street, stamp your foot. He’ll run because you’re only threatening him. His master has never trained him how to defend himself. But that same dog, if you walk through the master’s gate, will growl and bite. Why will he growl and bite over there and not growl and bite over here? Over there, he’s growling and biting for the defense of his master and the benefit of his master, but when his own interests are threatened, he has no growl.”

7) p.42: “You’ll find that there’s a tendency in the West to have the attitude towards any African leader has the mass support of his people – usually the West classifies him as a dictator… all of these people who are called dictators by the West usually are classified by the West as anti-West, because the West can’t tell them what to do.”

8) p.184: “… We are against them because of what they do to us and because of what they do to others. All they have to do to get our good will is to show their good will and stop doing all those dirty things to our people. Is that understood?”

9) p.198: “It is impossible for capitalism to survive, primarily because it needs some blood to suck. Capitalism used to be like an eagle, but now it’s more like a vulture. It used to be strong enough to go and suck anybody’s blood whether they were strong or not. But now it has become more cowardly, like the vulture, and it can only suck the blood of the helpless. As the nations of the world free themselves, then capitalism has less victims, less to suck, and it becomes weaker and weaker.”

10) p.211: “… By ‘violence’, they only mean when a black man protects himself against the attacks of a white man. This is what they mean by ‘violence’. They don’t mean what you mean. Because they don’t even use the word ‘violence’ until someone gives the impression that you’re about to explode. When it comes time for a black man to explode, they call it violence. But white people can be exploding against black people all day long, and it’s never called violence. I even have some of you come to me and ask me, am I for violence? I’m the victim of violence, and you’re the victim of violence. But you’ve been so victimized by it that you can’t recognize it for what it is today.”
(Today, you need only to replace ‘black’ with ‘Muslim’)

11) p.213: “Any time you throw your weight behind a political party that controls two-thirds of the government, and that party can’t keep the promises that it made to you during election time, and you’re dumb enough to walk around continuing to identify yourself with that political party, you’re not only a chump, but you’re a traitor to your race.”

12) p.156: “I hope that no one will get the impression that because I raise my voice from time to time that it is out of disrespect. It’s not. It’s just that it’s the only way I can emphasize how deplorable the situation, which has continued so long, really is. And one of the best ways you can help us in the States is to watch the problem very closely. And when they grab us and arrest us, let them know, well, that they shouldn’t have done it.”

13) p.183: “… Whichever one of you acts all right with me, you’re all right with me, as long as you act all right. But if you don’t act all right, you’re not all right. All you’ve got to do to be all right with me is act all right.”

14) p.192: “I don’t go along with anyone who wants to teach our people nonviolence until someone is at the same time teaching our enemy to be nonviolent.”

15) p.186: “Never let anybody tell you and me that the odds are against us – I don’t even want to hear that. Those who think the odds are against you, forget it. The odds are not against you. The odds are against you only when you’re scared. The only thing that makes odds against you is a scared mind. When you get all of that fright off of you, there’s no such thing as odds against you.”

16) p.72: “I’m going to tell it like it is. I hope you can take it like it is.”

17) p.82: “A man doesn’t know how to act until he realizes what he’s acting against.”

18) p.136: “… One of the worst slaps in the face that the black man in this country has received was when the State Department had the audacity last week to admit that American pilots were bombing defenseless Africans in the Congo. And not one outcry was made among our people. The Negro leaders are too busy talking about rowdyism on the subways. Pick up on that. Rowdyism among Negroes on the subway, and black people are being torn limb to limb by American bombs dropped by American pilots from American planes.”

19) p.218: “Back during slavery, when people like me talked to the slaves, they didn’t kill them. They sent some old house Negro along behind him to undo what he said. You have to read the history of slavery to understand this.

There were two kinds of Negroes. There was that old house Negro, and the field Negro. And the house Negro always looked out for his master. When the field Negroes got too much out of line, he held them back in check. He put them back on the plantation.

The house Negro could afford to do that because he lived better than the field Negro. He ate better, he dressed better, and he lived in a better house. He lived right up next to his master – in the attic or basement. He ate the same food as his master and wore his same clothes. And he could talk just like his master – good diction. And he loved his master more than his master loved himself. That’s why he didn’t want his master to get hurt.

If the master got hurt, he’d say: “What’s the matter boss, we sick?” When the master’s house caught afire, he’d try and put out the fire. He didn’t want his master’s house burnt. He never wanted his master’s property threatened. And he was more defensive of it than his master was.

That was the house Negro.

But then you had some field Negroes, who lived in huts, had nothing to lose. They wore the worst kind of clothes. They ate the worst food. And they caught hell. They felt the sting of the lash. They hated their master. Oh yes, they did. If the master got sick, they’d pray that the master would die. If the master’s house caught afire, they’d pray for a strong wind to come along. This was the difference between the two.

And today, you still have house Negroes and field Negroes…”

I mentioned at the start that I’d make some comments. However, my only comment is that no comment is necessary, as the parallels are clear.

Tariq Mehanna

Isolation Unit – Cell #108
Plymouth Correctional Facility
27th of Rabi’ al-Awwal 1431/
13th of March 2010