Malcolm X on Women
Posted by Jew from Jersey
29 September 2023
Excerpts from: X, Malcolm, and Alex Haley. 1965. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. New York: Grove Press.
All of that Hollywood stuff! Like these women wanting men to pick them up and carry them across thresholds and some of them weigh more than you do. I don’t know how many marriage breakups are caused by these movie-and television-addicted women expecting some bouquets and kissing and hugging and being swept out like Cinderella for dinner and dancing — then getting mad when a poor, scraggly husband comes in tired and sweaty from working like a dog all day, looking for some food.
Domineering, complaining, demanding wives who had just about psychologically castrated their husbands were responsible for the early rush. These wives were so disagreeable and had made their men so tense that they were robbed of the satisfaction of being men. To escape this tension and the chance of being ridiculed by his own wife, each of these men had gotten up early and come to a prostitute.
The prostitutes had to make it their business to be students of men. They said that after most men passed their virile twenties, they went to bed mainly to satisfy their egos, and because a lot of women don’t understand it that way, they damage and wreck a man’s ego. No matter how little virility a man has to offer, prostitutes make him feel for a time that he is the greatest man in the world. That’s why these prostitutes had that morning rush of business. More wives could keep their husbands if they realized their greatest urge is to be men.
Most men, the prostitutes felt, were too easy to push around. Every day these prostitutes heard their customers complaining that they never heard anything but griping from women who were being taken care of and given everything. The prostitutes said that most men needed to know what the pimps knew. A woman should occasionally be babied enough to show her the man had affection, but beyond that she should be treated firmly. These tough women said that it worked with them. All women, by their nature, are fragile and weak: they are attracted to the male in whom they see strength.
Once, when I called Sophia in Boston, she said she couldn't get away until the following weekend. She had just married some well-to-do Boston white fellow. He was in the service, he had been home on leave, and he had just gone back. She didn’t mean it to change a thing between us. I told her it made no difference. I had of course introduced Sophia to my friend Sammy, and we had gone out together some nights. And Sammy and I had thoroughly discussed the black man and white woman psychology. I had Sammy to thank that I was entirely prepared for Sophia’s marriage.
Sammy said that white women were very practical; he had heard so many of them express how they felt. They knew that the black man had all the strikes against him, that the white man kept the black man down, under his heel, unable to get anywhere, really. The white woman wanted to be comfortable, she wanted to be looked upon with favor by her own kind, but also she wanted to have her pleasure. So some of them just married a white man for convenience and security, and kept right on going with a Negro. It wasn’t that they were necessarily in love with the Negro, but they were in love with lust — particularly “taboo” lust.
Sophia's husband had gotten out of the military, and he was some sort of salesman. He was supposed to have a big deal going which soon would require his traveling a lot to the West Coast. I didn’t ask questions, but Sophia often indicated they weren’t doing too well.
Sophia always had given me money. Even when I had hundreds of dollars in my pocket, when she came to Harlem I would take everything she had short of her train fare back to Boston. It seems that some women love to be exploited. When they are not exploited, they exploit the man. Anyway, it was his money that she gave me, I guess, because she never had worked. But now my demands on her increased, and she came up with more; again, I don’t know where she got it. Always, every now and then, I had given her a hard time, just to keep her in line. Every once in a while a woman seems to need, in fact wants this, too.
Sophia’s being around was one of Shorty’s greatest pleasures about my homecoming. I have said it before, I never in my life have seen a black man that desired white women as sincerely as Shorty did. Since I had known him, he had had several. He had never been able to keep a white woman any length of time, though, because he was too good to them, and, as I have said, any woman, white or black, seems to get bored with that.
The West Indian boyfriend of the Profumo scandal’s Christine Keeler, Lucky Gordon, and his friends must have felt the same way. After England’s leaders had been with those white girls, those girls, for their satisfaction, went to Negroes, to smoke reefers and make fun of some of England’s greatest peers as cuckolds and fools. I don’t doubt that Lucky Gordon knows the identity of “the man in the mask” and much more. If Gordon told everything those white girls told him, he would give England a new scandal.