White Reflections on Malcolm XI'm not at all surprised to...


November 24, 1992

White Reflections on Malcolm X

I'm not at all surprised to find a major movie about Malcolm X and a broader interest in his life and ideas by the public.

As a young Baltimorean in the 1950s, I can remember accidentally discovering and listening to several recorded radio transcriptions by Malcolm X -- which I likened to sermons.

As a youngster, I often explored the complete spectrum of the local radio dial. This included Saturday and Sunday religious programming, which is when I heard some of the 15-minute Malcolm X segments sandwiched among a quilt work of evangelical tracts and fund raising appeals.

Malcolm X's unequivocally stern message had an impact on me although I well understood it was not directed to me.

I must admit that as Malcolm X's ideas were the first pungent, dialectically political statements I -- a naive, small-row-house, white 1950s teen-ager -- ever heard.

My total political conceptual inventory was that Hitler, the axis powers and communism were evils and America was righteous. My racial overview was that slavery had been an evil and a white man, Lincoln, freed the slaves.

The question posed by Malcolm X was: Could the descendants of slaves ever sit at the tables of the descendants of slaveholders in the spirit of equality? It jump-started my mind to thinking about these real-world concepts.

The concomitant idea that members of the "so-called Negro race" deserved to be given their own territory in the U.S. was stunning.

So was the symbolic allusion to white people as "blue-eyed devils" so readily capable of physical, economic and mental cruelty to people of color.

He added that many principal human intellectual achievements, such as the development of mathematics, were made by Arabs and darker skinned peoples.

My ignorance then of the Islamic religion made his religious references harder to follow and remember.

However, those Malcolm X radio messages made it a lot easier for me to contemplate the dimension of racial problems more realistically. Years later, it was reported that world travel softened his pessimism on the potential for white-black racial harmony. This seemed encouraging.

The purpose of this letter is not only to comment on Malcolm X, but also about the value of young people tuning in on the wide range of political, social and racial opinions rather than tuning out.

Donald E. Berger


Olesker's Logic

Michael Olesker's column of Nov. 12 is a classic example of contradictory logic. He is obviously for allowing a condom shop in Fells Point, which is not his home, even though those who do live there feel that it is just another business that will further infect the area.

He practically ridicules those of high moral character who do not lay down the welcome mat for this business.

He then goes on to support their view by admitting that there are already several shops in the area where condoms can be purchased. Why then is there a need for another?

Mr. Olesker would be better advised to support those who would like to rid the area of those other businesses he describes. These are businesses that do nothing but trash just another area of the city.

His statement that since this is 1992 and not 1959, the kids will be oblivious to the purpose of these condom shops.

Wake up. Kids in 1959 didn't even know what a condom was; in 1992, as early as elementary school, they carry them in their pocket. This is a sad commentary on our times and reflects the morals of our youth and country.

Mr. Olesker thinks it was cute to name this business "The Rubber Tree," but this only reflects the depth of his thinking.

Perhaps he should reflect on the morals of the young people and families of 1959, when sex wasn't engaged in until after marriage and dope was something used to build model airplanes.

E. M. Fritz

Ocean City

Keep It Natural

Your article on North Point State Park (Nov. 1) reinforces my reasons to support the assertion that this is one park that deserves to remain as natural as possible.

Park-going members of the public express pleasure at the natural view of the Chesapeake Bay shoreline, the opportunity to walk on trails through stands of very old woods, both relative rarities so close to Baltimore City.

They also express relief at the lack of buildings and paved parking lots, so prevalent this close to Baltimore City. This kind of park for people, but not for development, would ensure the stable, undisturbed environment your quoted experts say is needed by the unique kinds of wildlife found there.

The real thrust for education in this park lies not in building educational facilities and inviting the concomitant traffic, but in encouraging natural forces to continue their 50-year comeback from a long outdated amusement park.

Joy G. Wheeler


Teen-Agers and Parties

I am so angry and upset. On my way to and from church, I see the Mothers Against Drunk Driving sign outside the State Police barracks showing 24 deaths in Harford County this year, 12 of which somehow are alcohol-related.

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