November 25, 2010

Only the mistakes have been mine.

"You can believe me that if I had time right now, I would not be one bit ashamed to go back into any New York City public school and start where I left off at the ninth grade, and go on through a degree. Because I don't begin to be academically equipped for so many of the interests I have. For instance, I love languages. I wish I were an accomplished linguist. I don't know anything more frustrating than to be around people talking something you can't understand. Especially when they are people who look just like you. In Africa, I heard original mother tongues, such as Hausa, and Swahili, being spoken, and there I was standing like some little boy, waiting for someone to tell me what had been said; I never will forget how ignorant I felt.
Aside from the basic African dialects, I would try to learn Chinese, because it looks as if Chinese will be the most powerful political language of the future. And already I have begun studying Arabic, which I think is going to be the most powerful spiritual language of the future." (p. 387).

"I know that societies have often killed the people who have helped to change those societies. And if I can die having brought any light, having exposed any meaningful truth that will help to destroy the racist cancer that is malignant in the body of America--then, all of the credit is due to Allah. Only the mistakes have been mine." (p. 388).

50 years was such a short time ago. It's hard to believe that just 50, 60 years ago, race relations in America were so atrocious. I often wonder how Malcolm X or Martin Luther King would react to the fact that we have a black president, if they'd believe that it could happen so soon. Or how they'd react to the fact that black males are still the least likely to succeed in America. We've come so far but we still have a long ways to go...

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