Interpreting Malcolm's Speeches In The Film Malcolm X, By Spike Lee

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Lee’s second shortcoming on presenting Malcolm the person rather than Malcolm the myth lies in his strategic use of speeches. Lee uses Malcolm’s speeches to perpetuate the myth that Malcolm was the epitome of black culture and oppression under a white regime. Each speech that Lee chooses to put in the film is based on a real speech that Malcolm X gave. These speeches are technically historically accurate, yet they say a lot about the motive behind creating this film. The first speech is based on the speech he gave at the Harlem Freedom Rally in 1960. In the film, Malcolm elegantly explains how blacks are not Americans because they do not share the same rights as their white counterpart. He goes on to explain how black people do not fit into …show more content…
Each speech paints Malcolm as the strong committed Civil Rights leader he was. However, Lee ignores the more controversial aspects of Malcolm’s philosophies that dealt with Jews and the USSR. Lee even recognizes the shortcomings of his film. “Charlie Rose: What do you want it to say to audiences black and white? Spike Lee: Well I think that what we wanted people to get was try to get a better understanding of Malcolm X and also we wanted them to realize that this can’t tell a whole man’s life in 3 hours and 21 minutes, so this is like the starting point of the stuff that we would have liked to get into the film”. Lee was successful in portraying the most commonly researched and accepted aspects of Malcolm’s philosophy. Nevertheless, it is important towards the integrity of history to present impactful and significant areas of his philosophies that make people uncomfortable. It is also substantial to realize that Malcolm was indeed human and shared all of the qualities, positive and negative, that humans have. The two main elements of Malcolm’s philosophy that have been stifled by his myth were his views towards Jews. “The Jew cries louder than anybody else if anybody criticizes him. You can tell the truth about any minority in America, but make a true observation about the Jew, and if it doesn’t pat him on the back, then he uses his grip on the news media to label you anti-Semite” . Interestingly, despite Haley’s and Lee’s knowledge of Malcolm’s views towards the Jewish communities Haley refrained from including it into the book and Lee includes a 3 second clip of Malcolm mentioning some of the strifes of African Americans stemming from Jewish communities. Marable claims that “Haley was particularly worried about what he viewed as Malcolm X’s anti-Semitism. He therefore rewrote material to eliminate a number of negative statements about Jews in the book

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