MALCOLM X   (1992)
Key Passages

-- approximate times given are marked from the beginning of the film, not the video tape --

0:23:17  Parceled Out
SOCIAL WORKER:  It's the same questions, Mrs. Little.  Since the death of your husband --
SOCIAL WORKER: - there is a serious question as to whether or not you are capable of raising these children on your own
LOUISA:  These are my children.  They're mine, and they ain't no question.
SOCIAL WORKER:  Sometimes I think, Mrs. Little, candor is the only kindness.  All of your children are delinquent, and one, at least, Malcolm, is a thief.
LOUISA:  Get outta here!!
SOCIAL WORKER:  Your control over your children is therefore nonexistent.
LOUISA:  Did you hear me?
SOCIAL WORKER:  You will regret this.
LOUISA:  If you don't move out through that door you're gonna be past regretting!
MALCOLM'S NARRATION:  We were parceled out, all of us.  I truly believe that if ever a state agency destroyed a family, it destroyed ours.

0:24:30  Realistic Aspirations
MALCOLM'S NARRATION:  I was special, the only colored kid in the class.  I became sort of a mascot, like a, like a pink poodle.  In fact, I got called a nigger so much I didn't think there was anything wrong with it.  I thought it was my name.  They talked about me like I wasn't there, like I was some kind of pedigree dog or horse, like I was invisible.
MR. OSTROWSKI:  Now the important thing, is to be realistic.  Now we all like you here, you know that, but you're a nigger, and a lawyer is no realistic goal for a nigger.
YOUNG MALCOLM:  But why, Mr. Ostrowski?  I gets the best grades in class.  I got voted class president.  I wanna be a lawyer.
MR. OSTROWSKI:  Now, I want you to think about something that you can be.  You're good with your hands, making things.  People would give you work.  I would myself.  Why don't you become a carpenter?  That's a good profession for a colored.  Wasn't your father a carpenter?  Jesus was a carpenter.  People like you as person.  You're doing real well. Remember what we said: nothing succeeds like success.  Let me hear it.
YOUNG MALCOLM:  Nothing succeeds like success.
MR. OSTROWSKI:  Right.  As long as you're realistic.

1:02:55 A Friend in Jesus
CHAPLAIN:  You wanna smoke?  You know what a friend you have in Jesus, son?
MALCOLM:  A friend, huh?  He's a friend, huh, Chappy?  Well if he's such a friend, where is he, huh?  What he done for me?  done for me.  Tell you what you do, Chappy.  You tell him to call me.  Call me and tell me what kind of friend he is.  Solitary 226-07.  What he done for me, Chappy, huh?!  Where's he at when I need him, huh?!  You tell me that!  Where is your Jesus?  I'll tell you where he is.  He's out with the police captain.  Yeah, I'll straighten him out.  What's he done for me?!  He ain't done nothin' for me!  He ain't done nothin' for me.  Jesus can kiss my ass.  Tell Jesus to kiss my ass.  How bout that.  Tell him that.

1:06:12  Out of Prison
BAINES:  I think you got more sense than any cat in this prison.  But why the hell don't you use it?  You can't bust outta here, like they do in the movies.  Because even if you get out, you're still in prison.
MALCOLM:  Man you ain't lyin' there.
BAINES:  You go bustin' your fists against a stone wall.  You're not using your brain.  That's what the white man wants you to do.  Look at you -- puttin' all that poison in your hair.
MALCOLM:  I think you been in prison too long, my man, because everybody on the outside conks.
BAINES:  Why? Why does everybody on the outside conk?
MALCOLM:  Cause they don't wanna walk around with a nappy head, lookin' like some--
BAINES:  Like what?  Like me?  Like a nigger?  Why don't you want to look like what you are?  What makes you ashamed of being black?
MALCOLM:  Let me tell you something.  I'm not ashamed of being better get your hands off of me, I got to wash this out!
BAINES:  Let it burn!
MALCOLM:  Nigger, get your hands off of me!
BAINES:  Go on, burn yourself.  Pain yourself.  Put all that poison in your hair, in your body, tryin' to be white.
MALCOLM:  I don't want to hear all this shit.
BAINES:  I thought you were smart.  But you're just another one of those cats struttin' down the avenue in your clown suit, with all that mess on you, lookin' like a monkey.  The White man sees you and laughs, he laughs because he knows you ain't white.
MALCOLM:  Man, who are you?
BAINES:  No!  The question is, who are you?  Well I'll tell you.  You are lost in the darkness...but Elijah Muhammad has come to bring you into the light.
BAINES:  Elijah Muhammad...can get you out of prison, out of the prison of your mind.  But maybe all you want is another fix.

1:10:50  God's Words
BAINES:  I'm telling you God's words, not no hustle.  I'm going to tell you:  God is Black.
MALCOLM:  God is Black?  Everybody knows God is White.
BAINES:  Everything the White man taught you, you accepted.  He taught you you were a black heathen, and you believed him.  He taught you to worship a blond, blue-eyed Jesus, with white skin, and you believed him.  He taught you that Black was a curse, and you believed that.  Did you ever look up the word "black" in a dictionary?
MALCOLM:  For what?
BAINES:  Did you ever study anything that wasn't part of some con?
MALCOLM:  What the hell for, man?

1:12:57  White Folk's Book
MALCOLM:  Wait a minute, this is written by White folks.  This is a White folk's book.
BAINES:  It sure ain't no Black man's book.
MALCOLM:  So what we readin' this one for?
BAINES:  Because the truth is lying there, if you read behind the words.  You've got to take everything the White man says and use it against him.

1:13:45  The Nature of Allah
BAINES:  If you take one step towards Allah, he will take two steps toward you.

1:14:50  Less Than Nothing
BAINES:  Sure.  White man throw us a bone and we're supposed to forget 400 years of oppression.
MALCOLM:  Yeah, but a nigger -- a Negro, playing in the big leagues, that's something, ain't it?
BAINES:  I told you to go behind the words and dig out the truth.  They let us sing and dance and smile.  And they let one so-called Negro into the majors.  That doesn't cancel out the greatest crime in history...when that grafted, blue-eyed devil locked us in chains -- 100 million of us -- broke up our families, tortured us, cut us off from our language, our religion, our history.  Let me tell you about Black History.  We are the original man. The first men on Earth were Black.  They ruled, and there wasn't a white face anywhere.  But they teach us that we lived in caves and swung from trees.  That's a lie.  Black men never did that.  We were a race of kings when the White man crawled around on all fours over the hills of Europe.  Do they know who they are?  Do you know where you came from?  What's your name?
MALCOLM:  Malcolm Little.
BAINES:  No.  That's the name of the slave masters who owned your family.  You don't even know who you are.  You're nothing.  Less than nothing.  Who are you?
MALCOLM:  Look, I ain't shit.  All right, I ain't Malcolm Little.  I ain't "Red."  I damn sure ain't "Satan."
BAINES:  That's right.  So who are you?
MALCOLM:  I don't know.
BAINES:  We are a nation -- the Tribe of Shabazz, lost in this wilderness called North America.
MALCOLM:  Tribe of Shabazz.

1:16:50  Not Some, All...
BAINES:  The merciful Allah has sent us a messenger -- a Black man named Elijah Muhammad.  He reveals to us the true knowledge about ourselves.  He teaches us that the true nature of the original man, the Black man, is righteousness.  So if the nature of the Black man is righteousness...
MALCOLM:  Then the true nature of the White man is wickedness.
BAINES:  I knew you'd get it.  The honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that the White man is a devil.
MALCOLM: Hmmm.  I sure met some in my life.
BAINES:  No.  Elijah Muhammad does not say that some White men are devils.  He teaches us that all White men are devils.  Have you ever known a good White man?  I mean, think back, in all your life, have you ever met one who wasn't evil?

1:17:45  Pick the Lock
BAINES:  The body is a sacred temple, it must be purified.
MALCOLM:  I will not touch the White man's poison -- his drugs, his liquor, his swine, his women...
BAINES:  A Muslim must be strikingly upright, an outstanding example, so that those in the darkness can see the power of the light.
MALCOLM:  I will not commit adultery or fornication.  I will not lie, cheat, or steal....
BAINES:  But the key to Islam is submission.  That is why five times daily we turn to Mecca to pray, to bend our knees in submission.
MALCOLM:  I can't do that, Brother Baines.
BAINES:  For lost-founds to bend their knees, to admit their guilt, to implore Allah's forgiveness, is the hardest thing on Earth.  The hardest and the greatest.
MALCOLM:  I don't know what I would say to Allah.
BAINES:  Have you ever bent your knees, Malcolm?
MALCOLM:  Yes, when I was, uh...when I was picking a lock to rob someone's house.
BAINES:  Tell Allah that...You can grovel and crawl for sin, but not to save your soul.  Pick the lock, Malcolm, pick it.
MALCOLM:  I...I want to.  God knows I want to.

1:26:20  Faithful
ELIJAH MUHAMMAD:  My son.  You have been a thief...a drug dealer, and a hustler.  And the world is still full of temptation...When God spoke to the Devil about how faithful Job was, the Devil argued that it was only God's protective hedge around him that kept him pure.  "Fact about it," the Devil said, "remove that hedge, and he will curse his Maker."  Well, Malcolm...your hedge has been removed...and I believe you will remain faithful.

1:35:55  It's Time to Stand Up
MALCOLM:  What happened to our women -- women who could've been doctors or lawyers or teachers or mothers?  Who's going to raise our children?  What happened to our men -- men who could have been mathematicians, electricians, physicians?  What happened to 'em?  What's the little boy gonna do when he's looking for his father and his father's downtown in jail?  What's the little girl gonna do when she's looking for her mother and her mother's out there selling herself in the street?  No, I'm telling you that devil has made dead souls of you and I.  You're dead.  You're dead spiritually.  You're dead to the knowledge of yourself, you're dead to the knowledge of your people, and you're dead to the knowledge of your God.  Why, my brothers and sisters, he should get down on his knees.  He should beg our mercy.  Oh, my brothers and sisters, his kind has committed God's greatest crime against your and my kind every day of his life.  He ought to get on his knees and say he committed a crime.  But does he do that?  Does he do that?  No!  He scorns you.  He splits your head with his nightstick.  He busts you upside the head with that billyclub, and he calls you a nigger.  I tell you, he calls you a coon, that's what he says to you, boy, nigger.  Four-hundred years is long enough.  You've been sitting down, and laying down, and bowing down for four-hundred years.  I think it's time to stand up.  I think it's time to stand up.

1:47:20  Too Much Power
CROWD:  We want justice!
POLICE CAPTAIN:  All right.  That's enough.  I want these people moved out of here.
MALCOLM:  The Fruit of Islam are disciplined men.  They haven't broken any laws...yet.
CROWD:  We want justice!
POLICE CAPTAIN:  What about them?
MALCOLM:  That's your headache, Captain.  But if Brother Johnson dies, I pity you.  Doctor?
DOCTOR:  He'll live.  He's getting the best care we can give.
MALCOLM:  Thank you, Doctor.
DOCTOR:  Certainly.
POLICE CAPTAIN:  All right, OK.  Now let's disperse this mob.
CROWD:  We want justice!  We want justice!
    [On Malcolm's signal, the Muslim's leave the area.]
POLICE CAPTAIN:  That's too much power for one man to have.

1:51:17  Pure Vessel
ELIJAH MUHAMMAD:  Tonight...I shall introduce you as my National Minister.  It will be a difficult task.  Your to build temples all over this nation.  More work than you've ever done in your life.
MALCOLM:  Yes, sir.
ELIJAH MUHAMMAD:  You will be in the public eye.  Beware of them cameras.  Oh, them cameras are...bad as any narcotic.  Yeah.  The white devil will be watching your every step.
ELIJAH MUHAMMAD:  And your own brothers will be...jealous...hostile.  Go slowly.
MALCOLM:  Yes, sir.
ELIJAH MUHAMMAD:  Here's a glass...It's dirty.  Water, foul.  If you offer this to the people, they have no choice.  They'll drink from it...if they're thirsty.  But if you offer them...this glass...and let them make their own decision...they will choose the pure vessel.  Islam is the only religion...that addresses the needs and, and the problems of the so-called Negro in America, especially in the slums and the ghettos.  Islam is the only way out from drugs and crime, unemployment, prostitution, alcohol...gambling and...adultery, fornication.
MALCOLM'S NARRATION:  This sweet, gentle man at whose feet I kneeled gave me the truth from his own mouth...
ELIJAH MUHAMMAD:  Present them the pure vessel.
MALCOLM'S NARRATION:  ...and I adored him in the sense of the Latin root of the word adorare, which means to worship and to fear.  He was the first man I ever feared, and I don't mean fear such as one has of a gun, but the fear one has of the power of the sun.  I pledged myself to him even if it cost me my life.

2:02:32  'X' and Moral Positions
MODERATOR:  Mr. X, uh, before we begin our discussion tonight, "The Black Muslims - Hatemongers," would you mind explaining for us the meaning of your name, which is the letter "X"?
MALCOLM:  Yes, uh, during slavery time, the slave master gave the Negro, so-called Negro, uh, named the so-called Negro after themselves. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us that once we come into the knowledge of Islam, the knowledge of ourselves, we replace our slave name with an X -- X in mathematics representing the unknown.  Since we've been disconnected, or cut off, from our own history, our own past, our own culture, our own land, we use the X -- the unknown -- until we get back to our own country.
MODERATOR:  I see.  Thank you.  Uh, Dr. Payson?
DR. PAYSON:  Mr. X is, uh, he's a demagogue.  He has no place to go, so he exaggerates.  He's a disservice to every good, law-abiding, church-going, American negro in the country.  [Audience applause.]  Mr. Malcolm X, why do you teach black supremacy?  Why-why-why do you teach hate?
MALCOLM X:  Well, for the White man to ask the Black man why he hates him is like the wolf asking the sheep, or the rapist asking the raped, "Do you hate me?"  The White man is in no moral position to accuse the Black man of anything.

2:20:50  Two-Bit Hustle
BAINES:  Now, about our coming up in the world, a little.  The Nation's grown.  We've grown with it.  You know our people.  They want their leaders to be prosperous.  One hand washes the other.
MALCOLM:  "I'm telling you God's words, not no hustle."  You remember that, Brother Baines?  That's what you told me in prison: "I'm telling you God's words, not no hustle."
BAINES:  Brother Malcolm...what do you want?  A new car?  A new house?  It's the money, isn't it?
MALCOLM:  Brother, we tell the whole world that we're moral leaders, because we follow the personal example of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
BAINES:  Elijah Muhammad is a human being, and so are you.  Do you know your Bible?
MALCOLM:  Do you know yours?
BAINES:  David slept with Bathsheba, but he is remembered for slaying Goliath.  Noah was accused of drunkenness, but God gave him the Ark. Solomon had seven-hundred wives, but he was the greatest, wisest king in history.
MALCOLM:  Brother Baines is a two-bit hustler, but one hand washes the other.
BAINES:  The deeds of a great man far outweigh his personal weakness.
MALCOLM:  Who needs the nutmeg now, Brother?  Baines, I'm not gonna--
BAINES:  Be careful, Malcolm.  I warn you.  You be careful.

2:32:17  My Own Words
MALCOLM:  Because 1964 threatens to be an explosive year on the racial front, I have called this press conference this morning in order to clarify my position in that struggle.  Internal differences within the Nation of Islam have forced me out of it.  In the past, I thought the thoughts, and I spoke the words of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.  If you recall, everything I said I started off with, "The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us thus and so."  That day is over.  From now on, I speak my own words and I think my own thoughts.  Now that I have more independence of action, I intend to use a more flexible approach toward working with others to get the solution to this problem.

2:47:21  Ruined
MALCOLM:  We had the best organization the Black man's ever seen.  Niggers ruined it.

3:11:21  Final Words
NELSON MANDELA:  As Brother Malcolm said: "We declare our right on this earth to be a man.  To be a human being.  To be given the rights of a human being.  To be respected as a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day which we intend to bring into existence...
MALCOLM X: any means necessary."

Copyright (c) 2003 John "Jaycee" Culhane, Undergraduate at Lehigh University.

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