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Malcolm X: Ballet or the Bullet

By Sameera Abdulkadir 8H

The Speech
Mr. Moderator, Brother Lomax, brothers and sisters, friends and enemies: I just can't believe everyone in here is a friend, and I don't want to leave anybody out. The question tonight, as I understand it, is "The Negro Revolt, and Where Do We Go from Here?" or What Next?" In my little humble way of understanding it, it points toward either the ballot or the bullet. Now in speaking like this, it doesn't mean that we're anti-white, but it does mean we're anti-exploitation, we're antidegradation, and were anti-oppression. It isn't that time is running out -- time has run out! Don't let anybody tell you anything about the odds that are against you. If they draft you, they send you to Korea and make you face 800 million Chinese. If you can be brave over there, you can be brave right here. These odds aren't as great as those odds. And if you fight here, you will at least know what you're fighting for. No, I'm not an American. I'm one of the 22 million black people who are the victims of Americanism. One of the 22 million black people who are the victims of democracy,

nothing but disguised hypocrisy. So, I'm not standing here speaking to you as an American, or a patriot, or a saluted flag, or a flag-waver -- no, not I. I'm speaking as a victim of this American system. And I see America through the eyes of the victim. I don't see any American dream; I see an American nightmare. I say again Im not anti-Democrat, Im not anti-Republican, and Im not anti-anything. Im just questioning their sincerity and some of the strategy that theyve been using on our people by promising them promises that they dont intend to keep. Itll be ballots, or itll be bullets. Itll be liberty, or it will be death. The only difference about this kind of deathit will be reciprocal. Do you even know what is meant by reciprocal? Let the world know how bloody his hands are. Let the world know the hypocrisy thats practiced over here. Let it be the ballot or the bullet. Let him know that it must be the ballot or the bullet. The black nationalists aren't going to wait. Lyndon B. Johnson is the head of the Democratic Party. If he's for civil rights, let him go into the Senate next week and declare himself. Let him go in there right now and declare himself. Let him go in there and

denounce the Southern branch of his party. Let him go in there right now and take a moral stand -right now, not later. Tell him, don't wait until election time. If he waits too long, brothers and sisters, he will be responsible for letting a condition develop in this country which will create a climate that will bring seeds up out of the ground with vegetation on the end of them looking like something these people never dreamed of. Give it to us now. Dont wait for next year. Give it to us yesterday, and thats not fast enough. This is our investment. This is our contribution, our blood. And in 1964, it's the ballot or the bullet. THANK YOU.

The Analysis
I chose the speech ballot or the bullet because I thought that it had a good message and moral that would make you think about life today and how better off we are than those in the 1900s. This man gave inspiration to the black people who were oppressed and exploited due to the white man degrading them. Making them feel worthless. To me it looked like it was made in its own type of way that made it original. The speech is very effective because it impacted on the Civil Rights Movement and to help support Martin Luther King Jr on his speeches to the people of America. Xs speech made people really think as it had both negative and positive influences on society meaning that it reached out to other citizens in the states. He was able to connect with the people because he understood and knew how they were feeling as he experience what they had. The words

degradation, exploitation, and oppression depict the feelings of the black people who have lived in slavery far from when it was abolished. This is because they were forced to ride in certain places of buses, forced to have certain jobs, and forced to be antithesis's of them. The politician used simplicity to define the judgements of the subjugated.

The Glossary
Oppression is subjection to harsh and authoritarian judgement. Exploitation is the action or fact of treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work. Degrading is causing a loss of self-respect; humiliation. Antithesis is a person or thing that is the direct opposite of someone or something else. Subjugation is to bring under domination or control, especially by conquest. Americanism is loyalty to the United States and its institutions. Black Nationalism is the advocacy of the national civil rights of black people (especially in the US).