"There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time."
On December 1, 1963, when asked for a comment about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X said that it was a case of "chickens coming home to roost". He added that "chickens coming home to roost never did make me sad; they've always made me glad." The New York Times wrote, "in further criticism of Mr. Kennedy, the Muslim leader cited the murders of Patrice Lumumba, Congo leader, of Medgar Evers, civil rights leader, and of the Negro girls bombed earlier this year in a Birmingham church. These, he said, were instances of other 'chickens coming home to roost'."
The remarks prompted a widespread public outcry. The Nation of Islam,
which had sent a message of condolence to the Kennedy family and ordered
its ministers not to comment on the assassination, publicly censured
their former shining star. Malcolm X retained his post and rank as minister, but was prohibited from public speaking for 90 days.
The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr.
of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, and Barack Obama's pastor
since 1988, told his congregation in a sermon on Sept. 16, 2001, "The
Day of Jerusalem's Fall," that U.S. terrorism had precipitated
Al-Qaeda's attack. "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we
nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon, and we
never batted an eye. We have supported state terrorism against the
Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because
the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own
front yards." Wright concluded that "America's chickens are coming home
"They're trying to bamboozle you," Obama said for the first time
Wednesday[, Jan. 23,] in Sumter, S.C., to a predominantly African
American crowd while refuting e-mails falsely identifying him as a
Muslim. "Don't let people turn you around because they're just making
stuff up. That's what they do. They try to bamboozle you, hoodwink you."
Obama repeated those lines frequently as he traveled around the state.
The lines echo
the best-known version of the Malcolm X speech, which comes from Spike
Lee's biopic. It's a stinging address full of blunt racial division,
which warns blacks about being "hoodwinked" and "bamboozled" by "the
white man." "You've been had. You've been took. You've been hoodwinked.
Bamboozled. Led astray. Run amok," Malcolm says in the speech.