(From Guardian Unlimited)
In his much-praised new biography, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention , the late Columbia University professor Manning Marable puts Malcolm in fresh perspective. He notes that Malcolm's picture of himself as the badass known as Detroit Red was often fictive, and he gives us the most detailed account to date of the assassination of Malcolm by five members of the Newark mosque of the Nation of Islam.
When it comes to Malcolm's politics, Marable is equally revealing. "Malcolm, had he survived to the 1990s, would not have been an enthusiastic defender of affirmative action as a centrepiece for civil rights reforms," Marable writes. "What Malcolm sought was a fundamental restructuring of wealth and power in the United States."
Marable's thoughts on Malcolm and affirmative action are particularly relevant to the current crisis American students are facing in higher education. These days, the future of affirmative action in higher education is in jeopardy. A series of states -- among them, Michigan, California, Florida, Nebraska and Arizona -- have banned the consideration of race, ethnicity or gender by any unit of state government, including public colleges and universities.