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Production of American Religious FreedomThe Production of American Religious Freedom$
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Finbarr Curtis

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781479882113

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479882113.001.0001

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Do You Hate Me?

Do You Hate Me?

Malcolm X and the Truth

(p.113) 6 Do You Hate Me?
Production of American Religious Freedom

Finbarr Curtis

NYU Press

Malcolm X challenged liberalism’s faith in appeals to conscience as a tool in struggle against American racism. His assertion that America’s conscience was bankrupt was part of a broader critique of American religious freedom. First, he drew attention to how abstract ideals of freedom and equality were in tension with social reality. Second, he criticized sympathetic liberalism as part of the problem. Malcolm X taught that well-intentioned people who hoped for the end of racism reproduced structural inequalities in ways that differed little from conservatives. Third, he chided liberalism’s failure to come to terms with the violence inherent in politics, especially in the role of revolutionary violence in the constitution of democratic states. The final year of his life was a conversion not to liberalism, but to a way of seeing the world that invited people to think outside of American liberal ideals of freedom and equality. He wanted people to broaden their vision to act on an international stage rather than looking inward to transform interior selves.

Keywords:   colonialism, liberalism, Nation of Islam, racism, realism

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