|Below are just a few of the hundreds of times Malcolm X took Uncle Tom's name in his speeches and writings during the 1960s. The source for these excerpts is the website malcolm-x.org. It says at the website that you can listen to some of these speeches, and I think it would be great for you to hear the way Malcolm X pronounced the name of Stowe's hero (that was the way I first heard "Uncle Tom" spoken), but I didn't have any luck getting the sound files to play.|
"First, however, there are some questions we have to put to you. Since the black masses here in America are now in open revolt against the American system of segregation, will these same black masses turn toward integration or will they turn toward complete separation? Will these awakened black masses demand integration into the white society that enslaved them or will they demand complete separation from that cruel white society that has enslaved them? Will the exploited and oppressed black masses seek integration with their white exploiters and white oppressors or will these awakened black masses truly revolt and separate themselves completely from this wicked race that has enslaved us?
"These are just some quick questions that I think will provoke some thoughts in your minds and my mind. How can the so-called Negroes who call themselves enlightened leaders expect the poor black sheep to integrate into a society of bloodthirsty white wolves, white wolves who have already been sucking on our blood for over four hundred years here in America? Or will these black sheep also revolt against the "false shepherd," the handpicked Uncle Tom Negro leader, and seek complete separation so that we can escape from the den of the wolves rather than be integrated with wolves in this wolves' den? And since we are in church and most of us here profess to believe in God, there is another question: When the "good shepherd" comes will he integrate his long-lost sheep with white wolves? According to the Bible when God comes he won't even let his sheep integrate with goats. And if his sheep can't be safely integrated with goats they certainly aren't safe integrated with wolves."
"The three million Negro voters are the so-called middle-class Negroes, referred to by the late Howard University sociologist, E. Franklin Frazier, as the "black bourgeoisie," who have been educated to think as patriotic "individualists," with no racial pride, and who therefore look forward hopefully to the future "integrated-intermarried" society promised them by the white liberals and the Negro "leaders." It is with this hope that the "integration-minded" three million remain an active part of the white-controlled political parties. But it must never be overlooked that these three million "integration seekers" are only a small minority of the eleven million potential Negro voters.
"The eight million nonvoting Negroes are in the majority; they are the downtrodden black masses. The black masses have refused to vote, or to take part in politics, because they reject the Uncle Tom approach of the Negro leadership that has been handpicked for them by the white man. These Uncle Tom leaders do not speak for the Negro majority; they don't speak for the black masses. They speak for the "black bourgeoisie," the brainwashed, whiteminded, middle-class minority who are ashamed of black, and don't want to be identified with the black masses, and are therefore seeking to lose their "black identity" by mixing, mingling, intermarrying, and integrating with the white man."
"One of the shrewd ways that they use the press to project us in the eye or image of a criminal: they take statistics. And with the press they feed these statistics to the public, primarily the white public. Because there are some well-meaning persons in the white public as well as bad-meaning persons in the white public. And whatever the government is going to do, it always wants the public on its side, whether it's the local government, state government, federal government. So they use the press to create images. And at the local level, they'll create an image by feeding statistics to the press — through the press showing the high crime rate in the Negro community. As soon as this high crime rate is emphasized through the press, then people begin to look upon the Negro community as a community of criminals.
"And then any Negro in the community can be stopped in the street. "Put your hands up," and they pat you down. You might be a doctor, a lawyer, a preacher, or some other kind of Uncle Tom. But despite your professional standing, you'll find that you're the same victim as the man who's in the alley. Just because you're Black and you live in a Black community, which has been projected as a community of criminals. This is done. And once the public accepts this image also, it paves the way for a police-state type of activity in the Negro community. They can use any kind of brutal methods to suppress Blacks because "they're criminals anyway." And what has given this image? The press again, by letting the power structure or the racist element in the power structure use them in that way. . . .
"From 1954 to 1964 was the era in which we witnessed the emerging of Africa. The impact that this had upon the civil rights struggle in America has never been told, fully told.
"For one reason — for one thing, one of the primary ingredients in the complete civil rights struggle was the 'Black Muslim' movement. The 'Black Muslim' movement, though it took no part in things political, civic — it didn't take too much part in anything other than stopping people from doing this drinking, smoking, and so on. Moral reform it had, but beyond that it did nothing. But it talked such a strong talk until it put the other Negro organizations on the spot. Before the 'Black Muslim' movement came along, the NAACP was looked upon as radical; they were getting ready to investigate it. And then along came the 'Muslim' movement and frightened the white man so much he began to say, "Thank God for old Uncle Roy and Uncle Whitney and Uncle A. Philip and Uncle... — you've got a whole lot of uncles in there. I can't remember their names, they're all older than I, so I call them "uncle." Plus, if you use the word "Uncle Tom" nowadays, I heard they'll sue you for libel, you know. So I don't call any of them Uncle Tom anymore. I call them Uncle Roy. . . .
"You ever notice how some Negroes will brag, "I'm the only one out there, I'm the only one on my job." Don't you hear them say that? Yes, you ought to punch him in hi — no he's your brother, you shouldn't punch your brother. But you should really get him — you can punch him with some words.
"Whenever you see a Negro bragging about "he's the only one in his neighborhood," he's bragging. He's telling you in essence, "I'm surrounded by white folks," you know. "I love them, and they love me." Oh yes. And on his job "I'm the only one on my job." I've been listening to that stuff all my life, and the generation that's coming up, they're not going to be saying that. The generation that's coming up, everybody is going to look like an Uncle Tom to them. And you and I have to learn that in time, so that we don't pose that image when our people, when our young generation come up and begin to look at us. . . .
"Brothers and sisters, let me tell you, I spend my time out there in the street with people, all kind of people, listening to what they have to say. And they're dissatisfied, they're disillusioned, they're fed up, they're getting to the point of frustration where they are beginning to feel: What do they have to lose? And when you get to that point you're the type of person who can create a very dangerously explosive atmosphere. This is what's happening in our neighborhood, to our people. I read in a poll taken by Newsweek magazine this week, saying that Negroes are satisfied. Oh yes, poll you know, in Newsweek, supposed to be a top magazine with a top pollster, talking about how satisfied Negroes are. Maybe I haven't met the Negroes he met. Because I know he hasn't met the ones that I've met.
"But this is dangerous. This is where the white man does himself the most harm. He invents statistics to create an image, thinking that that image is going to hold things in check. You know why they always say Negroes are lazy? 'Cause they want Negroes to be lazy. They always say Negroes can't unite because they don't want Negroes to unite. And once they put this thing in the mind, they feel that the Negro gets that into him and he tries to fulfill their image. If you say you can't unite him, and then you come to him to unite him, he won't unite because it's been said that he's not supposed to unite. It's a psycho that they work, and it's the same way with these statistics.
"When they think that an explosive era is coming up, then they grab their press again and begin to shower the Negro public, to make it appear that all Negroes are satisfied. Because if you know that you're dissatisfied all by yourself and ten others aren't, you play it cool; but you know if all ten of you are dissatisfied, you get with it. Well, this is what the man knows. The man knows that if these Negroes find out how dissatisfied they really are — and all of them, even Uncle Tom is dissatisfied, he's just playing his part for now — this is what makes them frightened. It frightens them in France, it frightens them in England, and it frightens them in the United States. . . ."