Who was Malcolm X 2

Malcolm X. The black revolutionary"I am only responsible for the mistakes"

Malcolm X was one of the leading figures in the Nation of Islam. Their leader Elijah Muhammad represented a kind of end-time Islamism. For Malcolm X this sect leader was an unassailable authority, for twelve years he masterfully organized the building of the Nation of Islam. Until he learned more about the world religion, for example that Islam is by no means based on racial hatred and that the fight against racism requires international cooperation based on solidarity. That brought him into conflict with the Nation of Islam in the United States. The historian Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson has dared to write a biography, Martin Zähringer presents it.

How does a white, bourgeois author in the 21st century deal with a black revolutionary with the necessary political correctness? And how can it objectively correspond to the specific racial hatred of whites and the contempt for women of the Nation of Islam, of which Malcolm X was the charismatic propagandist? The biography proceeds diplomatically, at least the method of a literary dialogue that it conducts with the autobiography of Malcolm X is diplomatic. An example of this dialogue: At the beginning of the childhood chapter of her biography is a quote from Malcolm X, who explains his famous autobiography himself:

"I think an objective reader can see why in the society I grew up in as a black boy in America, it was virtually inevitable that I would end up in jail."

Suspicion, aggression, self-destructive rash

Waldschmidt-Nelson now describes the childhood and youth of a black boy in the southern states, after she had previously provided a brief outline of the slave-holding society in the USA. Growing up in a broken family and its end, destructive social welfare and attacks by racists, first educational successes and the bitter experience of inequality of opportunity when he was denied studies. Then the author comes to this conclusion:

"In the decisive years of his childhood, the young Malcolm lacked the loving security of a family or other stable community that could have given him a positive attitude towards life, an inner support and a healthy self-esteem as an African American. This deficiency and the frustrating experiences during his school days contributed undoubtedly contributed to the fact that in the following years he got on the wrong track and that his worldview was shaped for a long time by mistrust, aggression, self-destructive rashness and hatred of whites. "

One of New York's nastiest, most parasitic crooks

Does the biographer start from her own normative values? The structural violence of the conditions in the south of the USA and the racist oppression of the black underclass really call into question an individual psychological focus. Fortunately, the first impression is deceptive; the biography of the individual Malcolm X is increasingly gaining profile in his political context. And the tactic of fictitious dialogue is clever - two-part votes as a voluntary measure against excessive biographical powers of interpretation. So Malcolm X always has a say in the new biography. Here he comments on the entry into his life as a petty criminal Detroit Red in the northern states:

"I was completely fascinated. This was the world I belonged in. That night I set out on my way to becoming a Harlemer. Soon I would be one of the nastiest, most parasitic crooks in New York's eight million people. But New York was heaven to me, and Harlem was 7th heaven.

The biographer reads his autobiography against the grain and, as a proven connoisseur, also uses new sources. She explains how the hero ends up being the small-headed Detroit Red who reveals the members of his gang of thieves and is not very clever at all - who goes to the jeweler with a stolen luxury watch to have it repaired under his own name? When he wants to pick her up, the handcuffs click. After almost ten years in prison, which Malcolm X uses for extensive self-study, he loyally joins the cult founder Elijah Muhammad of the Nation of Islam. The Nation of Islam is a non-political self-organization of black Americans. The religious leader formulated a kind of end-time doctrine in the 1930s, his family controls the finances and the charismatic Malcolm X continues to expand the organization. Until it comes out that his great idol himself preaches water and drinks wine.

Political turning point by Malcolm X

The nation's rigid marital morality, which forbids any relationship outside of marriage and pronounces existence-destroying punishments, does not apply to Elijah Muhammad himself: Malcolm X makes public that Allah's ambassador has at least six illegitimate children, Elijah has excluded the pregnant secretaries from the community, alimony paid the Nation of Islam. In addition, after his trip to Mecca, Malcolm realizes that the racism of the Nation of Islam is by no means shared by the ummah of believers. Waldschmidt-Nelson describes in detail and excitingly how a deadly fight begins and a political turnaround begins at Malcolm X. He foresaw his early end:

"Yes, I appreciated my role as a demagogue. I know that societies often kill the people who helped change those societies. And when I can die after helping to shed light on things a little and a bit to make visible the great truth of destroying the cancerous growth of racism that is growing viciously in America's body, then Allah alone is to be praised for it, and I am only responsible for the mistakes.

One hears that Malcolm X's autobiography still has its charm. As an introduction, we recommend the easy-to-read biography of Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson, which describes the life of Malcolm X in the differentiated context of the Afro-American emancipation movement.

Britta Waldschmidt-Nelson:
Malcolm X. The black revolutionary
C.H. Beck, 384 pages, 18.95 euros.