The Malcolm X Principle

In Uncategorized on February 22, 2010 at 2:22 am

So apparently, everyone from German news sites, to Black men pedaling books, has the remedy to the issue of Black woman singlehood. It has become quite a market, this idea that Black women are desperate to mate and are unfortunate in doing so, apparently because they need “fixin”.  The latest ploy appears to be a book entitled, “The Denzel Principle: Why Black Women Can’t Find Good Black Men” by Jimi Izrael.  The premise appears to be that women want a balance of wealth, good looks, and success, amongst other things, and that we look for this special balance that doesn’t exist in real life.  I haven’t had an opportunity to read the book, and I won’t go into the manner in which books such as these are mercilessly damaging the esteem of beautiful women who imagine that, because they are single, there is something wrong with them.

I don’t know that I identify at all with the single story that is being produced, displayed, projected, and shouted from the rooftops about Black women being beat into defeat by the S word.  As a matter of fact, many of the women I know are happily single, and if more knew the work that went into long term relationships and marriage, I gather there would be more names to add to that list. The fairy tell love story that we feed all women is a topic for another blog, space, and time.  For once I won’t go there.

However, on the anniversary of the assassination of one of the greatest leaders I have studied, regardless of race, I must interject that if I was to create a “type” list from which to measure potential suitors, Denzel Washington would not be the prototype.  No disrespect at all to the beautiful brother, but I want more, a lot more.  The man that we have come to know as Malcolm X means more to me, and most everyone I know, than words could truly express, which is an enormous feat for a writer. This considered, it is not actually his charisma, his ability to mentally and verbally dissect the dilemma of my people, his handsome smile, or his simple might that tops my list of characteristics to look for. My desires are much deeper.

Let’s begin with beginnings, with foundations, with the essence of brother Malcolm.  We must never forget that, possibly, had it not been for another of our exceptional leaders, Marcus Garvey, we would not have had the good fortune to know Malcolm X.  I would argue that Malcolm’s parents, who were Garveyites, instilled in him a respect for himself and his race that would have been difficult to produce from any other movement of that period.  Malcolm watched his mother and father battle for a true emancipation, one that had not come with the proclamation perpetuated in 1865.  That being said, I would like my future mate to have a strong foundation and understanding that we must work towards true freedom and equity, without limits and without a desire to fold.

Malcolm left his roots like a prodigal son after noting that fighting for freedom and justice saw his father murdered and his mother mentally and emotionally unstable as a result of her husband’s death.  He was, at various points, thought to be a bookie, a pimp, a thief, a narcotics dealer and a narcotics abuser, among other indecent things, I’m sure.  A low life for a high man, which unfortunately is sometimes how life plays out. But through his incarceration, and finding the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam, Malcolm evolved into what I can only describe as brilliance.  A phoenix of sorts, rising from the ashes of what this country, many times, forces Black men to become.  I desire that my mate be able to evolve, to grow, and to overcome adversity, as this life will surely be filled with it.

The dedication and loyalty that Malcolm showed his family and the Nation of Islam is, well, chilling.  The thought of it, many times, gives me goose bumps, not in an eerie way mind you, but in a manner of sheer astonishment.  It is often noted that as J Edgar Hoover and the FBI unlawfully tapped the conversations of Malcolm X, they never heard anything more than the brother solidifying thoughts and plans, and speaking with his wife about her and the children.  It’s true, there is footage available of Dr. King that reveals some philandering that we would not like to acknowledge.  Our leaders were human beings, in each and every sense of those words. And this is not to say that Malcolm was perfect, at various points his marriage to Betty Shabazz was in shambles, but over all he was purposeful, organized, and unrelenting in his passion, other qualities on my checklist.

The greatest lesson I have learned from the life of Malcolm X came from reading of his travels to Mecca to make Hajj, which is the fifth pillar of Islam, and should be carried out at least once in every Muslim’s life.  Upon making Hajj, Brother Malcolm had to reconsider many of the things that he had been taught, and in turn had been teaching. Having one’s belief system challenged can be earth shattering, the courage to pick up the shattered pieces, renew, and rebuild, is another thing entirely.  El Hajj Malik El Shabazz did precisely that.  His break from the Nation was not merely a result of his contention with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, but also because there were tenants of the religion that, upon experiencing Hajj, he could not adhere to. This caused immeasurable strife and ultimately death, but he had to live and teach his truth.  The audacity of leaving what one knows is hindering one’s growth and beginning anew, this is what I desire in a partner.  Courage under fire; the ability to walk and lead in truth, although living a lie would be easy and comfortable. Yes.

So you see, my checklist does not at all include spaces for income levels, six pack abdominals, and “good hair”.  If I was to create a principle type by which I would measure the men I date, the list would not be centered around a famous actor.  I’ve always been one to jump at the sun you see, one to desire the greatest among whatever is being compared.  So I unequivocally choose Malcolm.  Let’s see a brother write that book while deciding to direct women on what they should look for in a mate.  Yup.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to celebrate the life and legacy our Black Shining Prince…

The great Ossie Davis eulogizes El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (audio/video) :

James Baldwin and Malcolm X debate being Black in America (audio, part 1 of 7)

Malcolm X discusses the white power structure at a roundtable disucussion.

  1. Amazing sister. there are men like this and thank God that there are women like you.

  2. I share many of the same sentiments. Love this, thank you 😉

  3. I absolutely love this post. Excellent write up, miss.

  4. First I want to say kudos for a thoughtful and well-written piece. My dad made me read the “Autobiography of Malcolm X” when I was 9 and the thoughts of “by any means necessary” became the foundation of my academic and later professional successes. I was glad to have the context around a figure whose story is most often told in its most polarizing form.

    The reason why I’m writing is because of your first two paragraphs. I too wrote a book about womens’ collective dating woes. Everyday I struggle with my conscious decision to self-publish. As a first-time author with no major backing, my story definitely gets lost among the tumbleweeds. My book is entitled “Maybe…It’s You!” and rather than assigning blame, it invites introspection.

    It hurts me to see accusations lanced from men to women and from women to men. Primarily because no one is heard and no progress gets made. I’m trying to start a new conversation, one that I hope that you’ll want to join.


  5. Very good post!

  6. I hear you, And Yes Malcom X was a one in a million type human being. Though i see where your checklist comes from,i think a checklist can not truely be a checklist with out adjustment,and change through out the checking period..
    Nice Work, and great thoughts, its great to see people care about more than just the regular

  7. Inspiration. BEYOND well written.– Single Afrikaan women have molded me into who I am today, and have raised me to have strength and revel in knowledge.

  8. excellent post! i agree with you wholeheartedly and have been working on a piece myself addressing this same issue. but i cannot get past my anger to intelligently put the words together. thank you for the balance in the voice and style. beautifully written, carefully constructed, and each bullet point was appropriately punctuated.


    i am too worn out by the constant barrage of ‘best sellers” and televised roundtable forums putting black men and women on the auction block to be reviewed, ridiculed, and scrutinized. when i examine this latest trend, i have concluded that it accomplishes two tasks: 1) creates an even bigger wedge b/t black men and women 2) continues the emotional, psychological, and social damage of the black community (i.e., there is something wrong with BOTH black women and black men). i am outraged especially by the gall of some black men in the media who (sadly) have a huge following and who are only concerned with furthering their own agendas by using this lame issue: popularity and money. but look i look at the audience. they represent two extreme versions of the black woman: the very corporate who can’t get past “smelling herself” and the “good times” studio audience rejects (“uh hunh, girl. i know thas right!”). well, of course to this crowd, the myth can easily be absorbed, that to the corporate “i-have-arrived,” there isn’t a worthy (black) mate and to the “i-wanna-look-like-i-arrived-but-really-ain’t-there-yet,” there is something wrong with HER.

    what is even more disturbing is that these men have agreed to be used for the bigger plan: further psychological destruction. the more “massuh” can continue to keep black women away from black men, the lesser the chances of a true united front.

    i also appreciate your going deeper into this issue by clarifying and setting the record straight: there is no one standard black man for ALL of us. albeit sistas must recognize this and stop looking for the white man in a black suit, each woman is different and has a different level of consciousness. my level of success may not be what the media is claiming “successful” black sistas look like. in fact, they have yet to define the word “successful.” you have described the BASICS of those qualities in black men that BLACK women find attractive, endearing – qualities that deserve our respect, admiration, and loyalty. the quality standard that the media is representing is a paper doll image of the white man colored with brown crayon. it cannot work because the experiences are different.

    so to all those who continue to want to speak on behalf of single sistas, let’s have a true dialogue and have a real conversation with the REAL brothas out there who are searching for real sistas like me – sistas who bear nations, not just children.

    thank you again, sis. i might not have to write my piece after all. i think i just purged in this comment section.


  9. Funny I should see this after reading about how it’s only the devil that has convinced women that our goal in life should be to settle down with a man and make babies, and that everything must conform to that. I read that a woman is so spiritually powerful–more than any man–and we have lost that power in our chase of men…
    I love your writing style. And I love Malcolm X. I remember hearing before what you said about the wire taps and thinking, they just really don’t make men like that anymore. He is truly the standard for me too.

    *Though I must say, I think relationships are failing because we find it so hard to find men we can follow. Most men are wired so to expect their wife to follow, coincidentally really slick wives are actually the ones in control of their man. Jostling ego-stroking, belly-filling, sex and careful manipulation, most women can get what they want from the right man.

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