Talk:Malcolm X

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Featured article Malcolm X is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
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"human rights activist"[edit]

A big portion of this section was copied from the comments in the edit history

23:20, 7 May 2017‎ Jacob's Crackers (talk) 15:25, 9 May 2017 (UTC)‎ . . (114,495 bytes) (+11)‎ . . (Made more accurate (see rest of article))

01:26, 8 May 2017‎ Neonorange (talk | contribs)‎ . . (114,917 bytes) (-11)‎ . . (revert good faith edit; unnecessary addition)
09:19, 8 May 2017‎ Jacob's Crackers (talk) 15:25, 9 May 2017 (UTC) . . (114,930 bytes) (+11)‎ . . (Undid good faith reversion; It most certainly is needed, the article itself indicates he was a racist for 14 years and only stopped that for 1 year before his death) (undo)
09:19, 8 May 2017‎ Jacob's Crackers (talk) 15:25, 9 May 2017 (UTC) . . (114,941 bytes) (+11)‎ . . (Accuracy)
15:09, 8 May 2017‎ EEng (talk | contribs)‎ . . (114,919 bytes) (-22)‎ . . (chronology is just one way to measure the arc of a life; the radical nature of his late-life conversion is a key part of what makes him remarkable. This is the summary of reliable sources)
Remarkability should not be within Wikipedia's scope nor is it ( (although come to think of it, a specially sectioned forum thread attached to each article for opinions on it's subject might be a cool idea). Cited claims, however, are. That for the better portion of his life he was a racist has the support of the citations in the Advocacy and teachings while with Nation section. It gives a racist undue credit to call one a "supporter of human rights". ---- Jacob's Crackers (talk) 15:20, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────That's your interpretation, and mine is different. I would argue that even while preaching the racist teachings of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X was advocating for the human rights of African Americans. But Wikipedia policy doesn't allow either of us to add our own interpretation or analysis to the article. We are supposed to summarize what reliable sources have written about the subject.

As I asked you on your talk page last night, do any reliable sources describe Malcolm X as a human rights advocate "for a very short time"? — MShabazz Talk/Stalk 17:25, 9 May 2017 (UTC)

What Malik said. EEng 18:28, 9 May 2017 (UTC)
Ah, I thought​ you were making the small observation that I hadn't put any cite marks in the bit of the summery the bit I inserted and instead deferred to the rest of the article. But instead you are saying that my interpretation of 1 year as being a short period of time compared to 16 years (the 16 depending on count) was too original because no established author that you know of has made that precise statement. -- Jacob's Crackers (talk) 13:18, 10 May 2017 (UTC)


17:16, 9 May 2017‎ MShabazz (talk | contribs)‎ . . (114,919 bytes) (-12)‎ . . (Undid revision 779547225 by Jacob's Crackers (talk) rv good-faith edit -- already in the last sentence of the paragraph, attributed (as it should be) to its sources)

In the last sentence of the paragraph it says that his detractors accused him of it. Not that he was one, which his black supremacist views (backed up by sources) indicate by the accepted definition of 'racism' -- Jacob's Crackers (talk) 14:23, 10 May 2017 (UTC)
Where sources agree, we state things flatly; where sources disagree, we point out the disagreement. EEng 15:08, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Describing someone or something as racist or antisemitic is almost always an opinion and should be attributed, not stated as a fact. See, for example, the opening of Ku Klux Klan, which describes the group's Ideology and activities as facts but attributes the description of the Klan as a hate group to the ADL and the SPLC. — MShabazz Talk/Stalk 18:37, 10 May 2017 (UTC)

Telegrams from near and far[edit]

Recently received:

From: Wikipedia <>
Sent: Saturday, June 10, 2017 5:37 PM
To: EEng
Subject: Wikipedia email > good try, Cracker
What's the matter? Afraid I might crack the whip on you, nigger?
This email was sent by user "Jacob's Crackers" on the English Wikipedia to user "EEng". It has been automatically delivered and the Wikimedia Foundation cannot be held responsible for its contents.

EEng 00:26, 11 June 2017 (UTC)


According to the New York Post, a letter is up for auction in which Malcolm X makes painfully frank confessions to a friend about the collapse of his marriage — because he wasn’t able to satisfy his wife sexually. In the 1959 typed note, up for sale for $95,000 at, X writes to his mentor, Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, that his wife, Betty Shabazz, had complained that he had “never given her any real satisfaction” and “said to me that if I didn’t watch out she was going to embarrass me and herself (which under questioning she later said she was going to seek satisfaction elsewhere).” The letter goes into deep detail about the problems between X and Shabazz. Cite error: There are <ref> tags on this page without content in them (see the help page). “The main source of our troubles was based upon SEX. She placed a great deal more stress upon it than I was physically capable of doing. One day, she told me that we were incompatible sexually because I had never given her any real satisfaction . . . [She] outright told me that I was impotent . . . and I was like an old man (not able to engage in the act long enough to satisfy her) . . . Her remarks like this were very heartbreaking to me.” — Preceding unsigned comment added by TrishIona (talkcontribs) 16:12, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

When it's more than a rumor about an unseen letter, get back to us. EEng 22:29, 17 May 2017 (UTC)
The letter is much more than a rumor. Marable mentions it on pages 194–195 of A Life of Reinvention, where he quotes Malcolm X's aide James 67X about it; you can see the reference by visiting Google Books and searching for the phrase "heartfelt March 1959 letter" (with or without quotation marks). There have also been magazine articles about the letter. I may have read about it in other books, too.
The bigger issue is whether the question of whether Malcolm X sexually satisfied his wife is at all meaningful in a general biography, or whether writing about it gives the issue undue weight. See WP:UNDUE and WP:PROPORTION. It isn't at all clear what the original poster intended with her message. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 01:00, 18 May 2017 (UTC)

Opening sentence of article[edit]

The op-ed in this week's Wikipedia Signpost and some of the talk page discussion made me wonder whether the first sentence of this article would benefit from moving some or all of the material set off in commas or parentheses in the first sentence to explanatory footnotes instead (those are content notes, typically indicated with letters, as opposed to source footnotes, which are commonly marked with numbers).

What do other editors think? — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 01:49, 11 June 2017 (UTC)

Well, I think it is kind of sprawling as it is now, but I thought it was just conforming to protocol. If the protocol or form of the first sentence for biographies has changed recently then by all means we should comply. Glennconti (talk) 16:39, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
I wouldn't say that the protocol or standard concerning the opening sentence has changed, Glennconti, although there's currently an RfC that may lead to a change in the guideline. I think some editors, including me, were reminded that we have to remember to put readers first and try to see what our articles look like from their perspectives. — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 02:30, 25 June 2017 (UTC)
These recent discussions have made me realize how inappropriate these bloated parentheticals are. Just three words into the article we throw at the reader a bunch of gobbledygook he almost certainly doesn't care about. I wouldn't be surprised if 10% of readers quit right there.
The parenthetical should set context. That starts with birthyear-deathyear (leaving, I think, precise birth and death dates to the infobox). For most subjects that's all that's needed. In the present case, I'd certainly add the birth name, and possibly the later Malik el-Shabazz. But the pronounciations? Forget it. As someone pointed out, almost no one understands IPA anyway. EEng 18:15, 24 June 2017 (UTC)
Current text
Malcolm X (/ˈmælkəm ˈɛks/; May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965), born Malcolm Little and later also known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz[A] (Arabic: الحاجّ مالك الشباز‎‎; Arabic pronunciation: [ɛl-hæʤ ˈmælɪk ɛl-ˈʃɑbɑz]), was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans; detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.

Malcolm X (1925 – 1965) was an African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of blacks, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its crimes against black Americans; detractors accused him of preaching racism and violence. He has been called one of the greatest and most influential African Americans in history.

Born Malcolm Little, Malcolm X was effectively orphaned early in life. His father was killed when he was six and his mother was placed in a mental hospital when he was thirteen, after which he lived in a series of foster homes. In 1946, at age twenty, he went to prison for larceny and breaking and entering. While in prison, he became a member of the Nation of Islam (NOI) and after his parole in 1952, quickly rose to become one of the organization's most influential leaders. He served as the public face of the controversial group for a dozen years. In his autobiography, Malcolm X wrote proudly of some of the social achievements the Nation made while he was a member, particularly its free drug rehabilitation program. The Nation promoted black supremacy, advocated the separation of black and white Americans, and rejected the civil rights movement for its emphasis on integration.

By March 1964, Malcolm X had grown disillusioned with the Nation of Islam and its leader Elijah Muhammad. Expressing many regrets about his time with them, which he had come to regard as largely wasted, he embraced Sunni Islam. After a period of travel in Africa and the Middle East, which included completing the Hajj, he also became known as el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz.[A][B] He repudiated the Nation of Islam, disavowed racism and founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. He continued to emphasize Pan-Africanism, black self-determination, and black self-defense.

In February 1965, he was assassinated by three members of the Nation of Islam.

  1. ^ This name includes the honorific El-Hajj, given on completion of the Hajj to Mecca. Malise Ruthven (1997). Islam: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. p. 147. ISBN 978-0-19-285389-9. 
  2. ^ Arabic: الحاجّ مالك الشباز‎‎; Arabic pronunciation: [ɛl-hæʤ ˈmælɪk ɛl-ˈʃɑbɑz].

Above, I've included the current text of the opening section and a draft of a suggestion for its replacement. Except for the month and day of birth and death (which are in both the infobox and the article text) and the IPA for "Malcolm X", I don't believe anything has been lost. Thoughts? — Malik Shabazz Talk/Stalk 02:30, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

  • IMHO, perfect. EEng 03:47, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 25 June 2017[edit]

Please change "no realistic goal for a nigger" to "no realistic goal for a [black person]" because some people may find the original language offensive. Bsmg1 (talk) 19:35, 25 June 2017 (UTC)

WP:NOTCENSORED. EEng 20:17, 25 June 2017 (UTC)