About

Matthew R. Morris is an Elementary educator, blogger, speaker, and Anti-Racism activist based in Toronto. He has written about race, Black masculinity, and education. He currently teaches middle school in the TDSB. He also has an M.A from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. His blog, www.matthewrmorris.com speaks to aspects of race, culture, and education, with an emphasis on how Black males navigate and experience institutional settings both as students and as teachers. The blog also serves to inspire and guide beginning teachers in their quest to become better educators.

Comments 2

  1. Nabil El-Sheikh Ali

    Sup Matthew, it’s been quite some time since we last spoke. I’m glad you are using using the world wide web for a greater purpose. I’ve enjoyed reading many of your blogs on your site and with it being black history month and all, I have to ask where is Malcolm X?

    I have taught in both the high school and elementary levels during black history month, and still have some memory of black history month back during my public school days as a student. Yet Malcolm X (Haji Malik El Shabazz) is not much spoken of. And it’s not just here in Canada but even down south, our neighbours seem to forget much about Mr. X. Nonetheless I decided to address this issue with my grade 8 students the other day. I thought I would show them a few speeches from both MLK and Malcolm X. Students immediately noticed a difference in the message being communicated between the two men, but understood that both wanted to achieve the same thing essentially… rights and liberties for blacks in America.

    As to my question earlier where is Malcolm X? Perhaps it’s because unlike his good friend Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X was considered quite extreme and violent, or perhaps because he was a Muslim, or maybe because he was pessimistic about the white race. Whatever it may be, we mustn’t ignore the fact that both MLK and Malcolm X were striving towards the same goal. The only difference they truly had was in their method of achieving that goal.

    I would like to point out that Malcolm X unlike MLK saw the greatest concern in racial injustice throughout the US was not taking place in the south but in the north, in cities like New York where unlike the segregated south which much of it still is, New York even at Malcolm X’s time was a vibrantly mixed community with people of all races and religions, yet racial injustices were talking place throughout the city, and still do today. Everyone understands that in segregated communities racial tensions will rise, but what Malcolm X understood was that the devastation is when you have a “multicultural” community that can’t get along. Malcolm X even went as far as calling upon the United Nations to condem the racial atrocities that America had placed blacks under, comparing it genocides and the South African apartheid. Malcolm X a true activist for black civil liberties but I fear that we fear educating our young about Malcolm X with his stand up and fight back mentality will backfire against us. But aren’t young generations standing up everywhere whether it be here in North America like we saw happen after the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, or back during the Arab spring in on tries like Libya and Egypt.

    So you see I am not arguing in favour of one over the other, both were amazing men. But Malcolm X does not get nearly half as much as the credit as he deserves during black history month. It is as if Malcolm X is overshadowed by MLK simply because the other race felt he was too aggressive, too pessimistic of whites, or too Muslim for anyone to understand.

    Whatever the truth maybe as to why we don’t quote him or teach about Malcolm X enough, the reality is Martin Luther King Jr. was addressing the predominantly racist south, and while he too was fighting for the rights and freedom’s of blacks he had a Utopian dream, a dream that has yet to be applied in its entirety. Now Malcolm X’s ideologies on the other hand should continue to apply in these situations where we are not segregated but integrated and afraid.

    1. Post
      Author
      Matthew R. Morris

      “I would like to point out that Malcolm X unlike MLK saw the greatest concern in racial injustice throughout the US was not taking place in the south but in the north, in cities like New York where unlike the segregated south which much of it still is…what Malcolm X understood was that the devastation is when you have a “multicultural” community that can’t get along.” This is one of the main reasons right here why the narrative of Malcolm X is not promoted. It is the insidious nature of racism that White supremacy wants to cover up. I love you post, Nabil.

      I agree, there is not enough talk about X in schools and in education. And you hit on many of the main reasons. Malcolm X was not naive to the injustices that were happening in so-called non-segregated (now termed, multi-cultural) communities like in NYC. Also, he was more militant minded and espoused the believe of Black people carrying themselves without the help of a white majority. When I think of how the school systems repeatedly downplays this man I think about “ratings”. While MLK was the “clean” and “PG” version of equality, Malcolm X was the rated “R” version of the rise to equality. He is a version that the school system doesn’t want people to be aware of.

      I love your idea of giving your students the opportunity to critically interrogate the dualism with MLK and X. In fact, I brought forth a similar idea at my elementary school, but it never came to fruition (that is a topic of conversation for another day). At the end of the day, the struggle for equality to me is about opening up the narrative and being aware that there is more than one answer. We like to talk about MLK because it is safe, it promotes this notion that we all now get along; everyone standing around singing kumbaya. It repeats the idea that we live in a post-racial world. But we know the truth. And that is why we need more people like you, questioning the curriculum, questioning the silence of other voices who were just as prominent and should be considered Black American heroes equally. Stay in touch. PEACE.

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