Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What do you see in Malcolm X?

Really, what do you see from your own perspective?

Renee at Womanist Musings wishes Malcolm X Happy Birthday by sharing his eulogy delivered by Ossie Davis. Samhita Mukhopadhyay at Feministing wonders "Where would we be without Malcolm?" and advises readers to "check out Grace Lee Boggs on knowing Malcolm X, Adrienne Maree Brown on the application of Malcolm's teaching to building power in communities around violence and Melissa Harris-Lacewell on the legacy of Malcolm X." Anna Clark at Isak remembers "Happy Birthday, Malcolm ... and Brown v. Board of Education" and gets readers looking at various posts and essays.

Zettler Clay for Clutch Magazine remembers "his rescinded views towards females" in the post "Malcolm X and Black Women: Struggling For Closure." (My biblioblogger friends are silent. And my rhetorician friends are just as mute. That says a lot, doesn't it? But Linda López McAlister had trouble remembering those rescinded views towards females when she viewed Spike Lee's biographical film when it came out 16 and a half years ago: "In the last few days--in this order--I heard a talk by the white radical lesbian separatist philosopher Mary Daly, saw 'Malcolm X' and heard a talk by black feminist theorist and cultural critic bell hooks. . . . One thought that kept occurring to me as I was watching Malcolm X give his speeches was how much his separatist rhetoric and Mary Daly's separatist rhetoric had in common. . . . And maybe, if I hadn't heard bell hooks yesterday, I would have come in here today and given a review of 'Malcolm X' that focused more on the cinematic elements of the film and what Black liberation struggles and women's liberation struggles have in common than on the troubling overt misogyny of the film." And maybe, if you remember, you were listening to somebody, from your own perspectives, when you watched the Spike Lee motion picture remembering the life of Malcolm X.)

And maybe, if you were at the Brooklyn Museum between October 31, 2008–April 5, 2009, you would have noticed history in art from your own perspective. What would you have made of "Carrie Mae Weems's Untitled (Man Smoking/Malcolm X), 1990, which explores human experience from the vantage point of an African American female subject"? The work by Weems was part of "Burning Down the House: Building a Feminist Art Collection . . . an exhibition . . . [the title of which] refers to the idea of the 'master’s house' from two perspectives: the museum as the historical domain of male artists and professed masters of art history, and the house as the supposed proper province of women." Go back, look again, at Weem's photo as you frame it. What do you see in Malcolm X?

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