Interview with Ossie Davis

All right, you described him as a surgeon who sought to lance the boil of self-hatred. How is that true about him?


He was keenly aware of the nature of the oppression under which we operate under American society. He was keenly aware that the truly operative chains was somewhat like that other two thirds of an iceberg under the surface, that most of us Blacks or Negroes as he called us really thought we were free without being aware that in our subconscious all those chains we thought had been struck off were still there and there were many ways where what really motivated us, motivated us, was our desire to be loved by the White man. And that we would do anything destroy ourselves, our mothers, our sisters, our society, our communities, if only the White man would smile at us. And that some of our leaders some of our greatest leaders were guilty of this sickness and this disease. Malcolm sought to excise, to, ah, dig out that boil in our psyche, you know. And he used humor because traditionally we Blacks have always had recourse to our own sense of humor to keep us on track. Malcolm would use that but he definitely meant to lance that sense of inferiority. He knew it would be painful. He knew that people could kill you because of it. But he dared to take that risk. Malcolm insisted that we be men even if it killed us.