Years Later, Black Americans Still Skeptical of "Integration"

Martin Luther King and Malcolm X
Via Flickr
Abeni Jones
December 22, 2019

In the ‘60s, Black leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. had dreams of a racially-integrated society where everyone of all races could love each other.

Malcolm X and some other leaders, though, were far more skeptical.

“The Negro is better off by himself, so he can develop his character and his culture in accord with his own nature,” he argued.

He believed living in the white man’s world doomed Black people to “a vicious cycle of economic, intellectual, social, and political death.” Integration really means we’ll always have to submit to their anti-Black norms and culture to survive.

He advocated for separation and self-determination, not assimilation, much like Marcus Garvey. Even Dr. King eventually had doubts about integration: “I fear I am integrating my people into a burning house,” King admitted.

50 years later, we still have fewer job prospects and less access to quality education, and face housing discrimination, police brutality, excessive criminal sentences, and the daily burden of living in a country that only ever wanted us here to pick cotton and work for scraps! 

Is it time for a new separation movement? How can we work together to empower our communities and fight for self-determination?

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