Does Malcolm X deserve a federal holiday? Toure, a New York Times best-selling author, thinks so. He penned a Time Magazine column arguing that the civil rights legend is equally deserving of a federal holiday as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
What would we celebrate on “Malcolm X Day?” Toure give us some of the principles we’d celebrate:
Malcolm’s not a static intellectual figure — his mind journeyed throughout his life, he held firm to his principles but was also strong enough to re-evaluate his beliefs and change when he deemed change is right. He was far from a flip-flopper who moved because it was politically expedient — and thankfully not an intellectual mule who refused to change when he uncovered new information and perspectives. Malcolm was intelligent and bold enough to be open-minded. His courage to be a truth seeker is part of what we’d celebrate — his willingness to reconsider his principles, to be protean, to challenge himself and be willing to grow and thus embody the transformative potential of American life. We would celebrate not just his willingness to journey but also his journey itself, which concludes with militancy being defeated by humanism and with racial hatred being defeated by globalism and multiracial acceptance.
Of course, when you think of Malcolm, you’ll be reminded of the “blue-eyed devil” quotes. But look at it this way:
This misunderstands several things. King was, at a time, considered dangerous and was hated too and, more importantly, Malcolm merely proposed that oppressed people had a right to armed self-defense — an inherently American principle. King, who preached steadfast non-violence, represents America as it wishes it were, while Malcolm symbolizes America as it is. Malcolm never equated self-defense with violence for its own sake and he never fomented violence. He was wiretapped and followed inside and outside the United States by the FBI, the CIA and the NYPD for years and years — if he had incited violence, even in a private conversation at home, he would surely have landed in legal trouble.