Contemplating "The John Brown School of Liberals"
We need allies who are going to help us achieve a victory, not allies who are going to tell us to be nonviolent. If a white man wants to be an ally, ask him what does he think of John Brown. You know what John Brown did? He went to war. He was a white man who went to war against white people to help free slaves. He wasn't nonviolent. White people call John Brown a nut. Go read the history, go read what all of them say about John Brown. They're trying to make it look like he was a nut, a fanatic. They made a movie on it - I saw a movie on the screen one night. Why, I would be afraid to get near John Brown if I go by what other white folks say about him.
But they depict him in this image because he was willing to shed blood to free the slaves. And any white man who is ready and willing to shed blood for your freedom - in the sight of other whites, he's nuts. As long as he wants to come up with some nonviolent action, they go for that. If he's liberal, nonviolent liberal, love-everybody liberal. But when it comes time for making the same contribution for your and my freedom that was necessary to make for their own freedom they back out of the situation. So when you want to know good white folks in history where Black people are concerned, go read the history of John Brown. That was what I called a liberal, a white liberal. But those other kind, they are questionable.
So if we need white allies in this country, we don't need those kind who compromise. We don't need those kind who encourage us to be polite, responsible, you know. We don't need those kind who give us that kind of advice. We don't need those kind who tell us how to be patient. No, if we want some white allies, we need the kind that John Brown was, or we don't need you.
And the only way to get those kind is to turn in a new direction.
~ Malcolm X, 1964
There are many white people in this country, especially the younger generation, who realise that the injustice that has been done and is being done to black people cannot go on without the chickens coming home to roost eventually. And those white people, even if they're not morally motivated, their intelligence forces them to see that something must be done. And many of them would be willing to involve themselves in the type of operation that your were just talking about.
For one, when a white man comes to me and tells me how liberal he is, the first thing I want to know, is he a nonviolent liberal, or the other kind. I don't go for any nonviolent white liberals. If you are for me and my problems - when I say me, I mean us, our people - then you have to be willing to do as old John Brown did. And if you're not of the John Brown school of liberals, we'll get you later - later.
~ Malcolm X, 1965