Friday, June 15, 2012

Malcolm and Betty X

"The unease Malcolm had shown toward marrying Betty almost immediately manifested itself in their lives together as man and wife. The challenges they faced were linked, in part, to the general problems that many black Americans encounter when adopting Qur'anic standards for marriage. Many basic beliefs Muslims have about its purposes and duties are at odds with Western Christian values. Another serious issue is the concept of machismo that some African-American males carry into Islam. The Nation had long drawn its converts from the lowest rungs of black society, and many of its flock came from difficult or self-destructive backgrounds. Those who, like Malcolm, had converted while in prison often continued to bear painful scars, both physical and psychological, from that experience. Trauma can last an entire lifetime, and the Nation had no self-help program to assist men in overcoming such emotional problems. Malcolm's prior sexual history had been largely defined by encounters with prostitutes and women like Bea Caragulian. Now he would have an obligation not only to provide financially for Betty but to address her emotional and sexual needs."

- Manning Marable, 'Malcolm X'

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