American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"Malcolm X" (1992)


Malcolm X: Post Mecca Press Conference

Audio mp3 delivered by Denzel Washington


Malcolm X: Let's begin.

Reporter: Malcolm, you said on your trip abroad you sensed a feeling of great brotherhood.

Malcolm X: Yes, when I was in Mecca, making the Pilgrimage, the brotherhood that existed there among all people, all races, all levels of people who had accepted the religion of Islam -- what it had done, Islam, for those people, despite their complexion differences. Perhaps if people here in America would try and practice and study the religion of Islam, it might help to erase the plague of racism here. I think Muslims over there look at themselves as human beings, as part of the same human family. Today my friends are black, red, yellow, brown and white.

Reporter: Malcolm, are you prepared to go to the United Nations at this point and ask that charges be brought against the United States for its treatment of the American negroes?

Malcolm X: Oh, yes. Oh, yes. [African-Americans at the press conference applaud] The audience will have to be quiet. Please, please. Yes, as I stated earlier that those nations, African nations, Latin nations, Asian nations are very hypocritical when they stand up in the U.N. and denounce the racism practiced in South Africa and at the same time say absolutely nothing about the practice of racism here in American society. No, I wouldn't be a man if I didn't do so. I would not be a man.

Reporter: Are you prepared, now, to work with some of the other leaders of some of the other civil rights organizations?

Malcolm X: Yes, we're prepared to work with any groups, leaders, organizations, as long as they're genuinely interested in results -- positive results.

Reporter: Does your new beard have any religious significance?

Malcolm X: [laughing good-naturedly] No, not particularly. But I think that as black people in America strive to throw off the shackles of mental colonialism, they will also reflect their desire to throw off the shackles of cultural colonialism. I believe that a mental and a cultural migration back to Africa -- not necessarily a physical migration, not at this point, but a mental and cultural migration back to Africa, which only means that we reaffirm our bond with our brothers over there -- would help to strengthen us here in America, black people in America, not only spiritually, but as well as giving us the incentive to solve some of our problems here at home.

Reporter: One of your more controversial remarks some times back called for black people to get rifles and form rifle clubs. Do you still favor that for self-defense?

Malcolm X: Well, I don't see why that's controversial. I think that if white people find themselves the victims of the same kind of violence that black people have found themselves victims of here in America, and if the Government was either unable or unwilling to do anything about it, I think that it would be intelligence on their part to defend themselves.

Reporter: What about the guns, Malcolm?

Malcolm X: When you tell your people to stop being violent against my people, I'll tell my people to put away their guns.

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