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"Understanding that Malcolm X became El Hajji Malik Shabazz, why are so many people wearing Xs?" (Feedback)

Millie Alicea University of Massachusetts Amherst, Massachusetts

I believe that people are wearing Xs because they think it is a way to celebrate the return of Malcolm X's philosophies. Even though a lot of them do not have any knowledge of who he was, they want to remember one of our leaders, Malcolm X. I also believe it is a way to welcome the masterpiece, Malcolm X the movie.

Florica Allen Jacksonville State University Jacksonville, Alabama

There are so many people wearing Xs because they have had the misconception that Malcolm X stood for violence towards white people. African Americans think that wearing the X symbol will promote their beliefs of equality and strength. Some of the people who are wearing the X items don't know the meaning of the symbol. People are also misinformed about what Malcolm X was trying to get across to African Americans. Now that more books are being written and a movie has been released to educate more people on the true meaning of Malcolm X, maybe there will be more people wearing El Hajji Malik Shabazz, his chosen name, instead of the X.

Frederick L. Anderson Houston Community College Houston, Texas

This is a great question; a question for which no definite answer can be given. We can only assume why. If one assumes, then the answers to this question are many.

From the moment it was made known that a movie documenting the life of El Hajji Malik Shabazz was in the making, almost instantly, T-shirts, caps, and other paraphernalia appeared everywhere. The "X" soon made its debut on TV shows and in fashion magazines.

This debut set off a fashion trend spearheaded by some devilish, so-called entrepreneurs, intending to exploit for personal satisfaction. Thereafter, the X symbol became a fashion to those who are products of a system that insists on deceiving our people. Then there are those who wear the X as symbol of what has been and what is to come. To many, it is a symbol of strength. It allows the buyer to make a powerful statement without uttering a word. And to many of us, it is a large piece of pride that we can call our own.

Carey E. Calvert, Jr. Colorado Springs, Colorado

Students of El Hajji Malik Shabazz do not fail to realize that Malcolm X was the catalyst in his spiritual maturation. Those who seek a lesser understanding grasp the iconoclast who "stuck it to white people," believing that people and not oppression represent the problem.

Much has been said of African Americans' willingness to retain pseudo-consumer status. This sad state would be to Malcolm's chagrin. However, consumerism can be a first step toward awareness, if marketed properly.

That we have grasped an inkling of what El Hajji Malik Shabazz symbolizes is a credit to those who have never let him die.

Gregory Clark Lecompte, Louisiana

It appears that many Blacks continue to wear Xs because they are attempting to express radical views of hatred towards whites. This radicalism was possessed by Malcolm until he made his famed pilgrimage to Mecca. Upon returning to the U.S., Malcolm accepted equality of the races. Those who continue to wear Xs are rebellious or just ignorant of the philosophy of Malcolm's early life. If we continue to possess such radical views ourselves, then the problems of racism will continue to worsen.

Will education save us?

Kermit A. Franklin Graduate Southern University of New Orleans Marrero, Louisiana

It is more of a fad than a symbol of Malcolm X's views. It is a way to show support for Black unity and rebellion against oppression of minorities.

Many African Americans are beginning to wake up to the fact that the only people we should count on to uplift our race economically, spiritually, and educationally are us. Those of us who have succeeded have forgotten where we came from. We must return something to our communities.

Malcolm X taught us that we should not expect the government or white America to solve our problems. Those wearing the Xs must understand this and live up to the lessons Malcolm taught, by disciplining themselves and teaching our people.

Richard E. Fudge, II Lincoln University, Pennsylvania

The reason why so many people are wearing Xs is that they want to be a part of the living legacy. El Hajji Malik Shabazz, known to the public for the major part of his life as Malcolm X, represents a legacy that sought hope through truth and change through enlightenment.

Whether it be El Hajji Malik Shabazz, Malcolm X, Detroit Red, or Malcolm Little, the man who showed no fear of change remained steadfast in his mission to seek truth and understanding. As a result, most Americans, especially African Americans, are associating themselves with a new consciousness of self-empowerment and self-pride. X is the symbol that proves to be the catalyst in this change.

Stacy Hux Baltimore, Maryland

First, African Americans do not want to advance in the facets of Euro-American life. We are getting in touch with ourselves to fulfill our own needs instead of superficial fixations. Secondly, there are no role models that share Mr. Shabazz's philosophies (that are accepted and/or recognized, nationally). Lastly, we exemplify a characteristic that sets us apart--"Black Pride."

Although there are other notable reasons for wearing Xs, caution yourself to learn how Malcolm Little became El Hajji Malik Shabazz. Do not allow the media (including Spike) to educate you. Be responsible for your own education and learn about all of the people who have helped us empower ourselves. We owe this to ourselves. I'm sure Mr. Shabazz would concur.

Shonda McClain Ball State, University Muncie, Indiana

You see it everywhere you go: on hats, T-shirts, buttons, and medallions. It is a symbol that is becoming as pervasive as red, white, and blue. Its meaning is paralleled to consciousness that has embedded itself into the minds of youths today, through the witnessing of violent police beatings, an unfair political, social, and institutional system, and the angry lyrics of rap music.

This "X"--what is it? What does it mean? Why is this symbol emblazoned on the chests of children today as if it holds some kind of mystical power? Because it does. It gives the wearer of the X the feeling of self-empowerment.

I believe that we, as African Americans, are about to embark on a phenomenal journey during the next few years, a journey that may lead us down a much used, but highly misunderstood path: the path of self-discovery.

Hassan Omowale Mansfield, Ohio

Except for the fact that Malik El Shabazz made his mark as Malcolm X, it would be easy to write off as politically incorrect the many people today who are wearing the X in recognition of Malcolm X. It was while in the Nation of Islam that Malcolm Little became Malcolm X, one of the most brilliant spokesmen for Black equality in America. Whatever El Shabazz accomplished in the few months after he defected from the Nation is due only to his work as Malcolm X. Perhaps the people who wear Xs are not as dumb as some of us think.

Ewuare Osayande Fairleigh Dickinson University Rutherford, New Jersey

The image of El Hajji Malik Shabazz has become a valuable commodity in today's capitalistic culture. In essence, the "X" has become a multiplication sign symbolizing the millions of dollars that are being generated from the X-ploitation of Malcolm X and what he means to many of today's youth.

It was the rap group Public Enemy that resurrected the voice of Malcolm X for a new generation of Black youth. Once this generation took hold of Malcolm's truth and replaced gold rope chains with African medallions, the mainstream media literally pimped off the Black market and capitalized on the man's legacy of struggle. From the X film, to X caps, to X sneakers and even X underwear?!, we are witnessing the character assassination of El Hajji Malik Shabazz. Now our peers and youth are caught up more in the image of X than the reality of the man he became, El Hajji Malik Shabazz, a man devoted to God, who fought for truth, justice, and the freedom of Black people worldwide.

Tameen Central State University Wilberforce, Ohio

People are wearing Xs because they don't understand what going from Malcolm to Malik meant or means and because they are faked out by a materialistic society. Social/economic oppression is escalating the monetary and personal value of material objects. If people followed the same teachings that made Malcolm Malik, they would not place value on trendy and/or material objects. Nor kill over them! The name change is a minute part of the life change. True Islam is a way of life. El Hajji Malik Shabazz chose this way of life, which means following the life of the Prophet Muhammad.

Leslie Tucker Great Mills, Maryland

I think the majority of the people wearing Xs think that it is a fashion statement. Most of the people wearing them are young and they don't know what the X stands for. In my opinion, if you don't know what the X stands for, you shouldn't wear it. It's a disgrace to Malcolm and his family for uneducated people to wear his name and not know why. If the people getting rich off of the X merchandise had done some reading, they would have known that Shabazz is the name that Malcolm chose for himself.
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Publication:The Black Collegian
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Previous Article:Taking care of business in 1993.
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