Black Religion: Malcolm X, Julius Lester, and Jan Willis by William David Hart (auth.)

By William David Hart (auth.)

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Additional resources for Black Religion: Malcolm X, Julius Lester, and Jan Willis

Example text

Memory works in strange ways; often brilliant and vivacious, yet wrong. What we remember with clarity is sometimes inaccurate. Remembering what did not happen and failing to remember what did happen constitute two sides of the same reality. Perhaps we misremember or repress memories because of their traumatic associations. Or we misremember because some memories do not interest us or because we are cognitively limited and cannot remember everything. Memory is selective. There is a complex and ambiguous relationship among memory, accuracy, factuality, and truth.

The real issue, however, was honor and face, not allowing the other dogs to think that you were vulnerable, a top dog on his way to becoming an underdog. If there is no honor among thieves, then there is little pity among dogs. Malcolm’s conf lict with Archie, therefore, was all about dog psychology. Subdominant dogs short-circuit deadly conf lict by submitting to the top dog. But where a subdominant dog will expose his throat as a sign of subordination, Malcolm chose to f lee. With his Boston friend “Shorty” to the rescue and behind the wheel of their getaway car (in the Autobiography, “Shorty” is usually a fictional composite of several real-life people but in this case he is one Malcolm Jarvis32), Malcolm beat a quick path home.

It circles the most crucial and 24 Black Religion intimate of human behaviors, the desire to eat. Based on a biological need, this desire is so powerful that it sometimes cannibalizes the desire for sex, as eating is sexualized and sex is conceived as a meal. This explains the “rabbit incident” in which Malcolm’s father, in an angry huff, ripped off the head of a rabbit and tossed it at the feet of his wife with the demand that she cook it for dinner. Rabbit along with pork was on her religiously proscribed list of food.

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