Malcolm X sits down with Mike Wallace to discuss police brutality on June 8, 1964. The more things change the more they stay the same?
On June 8, 1964, Mike Wallace interviewed Malcolm X and they discussed the African American Harlem environment and the community’s hostility against policemen. During this interview Malcolm X outlines this disproportionate targeting of the African American community by police, and why they do it.
The interview starts out as Wallace asks Malcolm X about potential resistance against police oppression within the black community. “Mr. Malcolm, you have suggested that there are all kinds of movements in Harlem that you or I don’t know about?
Malcolm X eloquently and prophetically sums up the perplexity of this situation, not only during the 60’s, but in the 21st century as well.
“The police commissioner feeds the type of statistics to the white public to make them think that Harlem is a complete criminal area where everyone is prone towards violence. This gives the police the impression that they can then go and brutalize the Negroes, or suppress the Negroes, or even frighten the Negroes. “
Sound familiar? Malcom X continues:
“This force that is so visible in the Harlem community, creates a spirit of resentment in every Negro. They think they are living in a police state, and they become hostile toward the policemen. They think that the policeman is there to be against them rather than to protect them. And these thoughts, these frustrations, these apparitions, automatically are sufficient to make these Negroes begin to form means and ways to protect themselves in case the police themselves get too far out of line.”