Malcolm X at a meeting in Paris, November 23, 1964
- White interviewer: If it was our white ancestors who bought you and enslaved you, we are their children. We are the new generation. Why don't you call us your brothers?
- Malcolm X: A man has to act like a brother before you can call him a brother. You made a very good point, really, that needs some clarification. If you are the son of the man who had a wealthy estate and you inherit your father's estate, you have to pay off the debts that your father incurred before he died. The only reason that the present generation of white Americans are in the position of economic strength that they are is because their fathers worked our fathers for over 400 years with no pay. For over 400 years we worked for nothing. We were sold from plantation to plantation like you sell a horse, or a cow, or a chicken, or a bushel of wheat. It was your fathers who did it to our fathers, and all of that money that piled up from the sale of my mother and my grandmother and my great-grandmother is what gives the present generation of American whites [the ability] to walk around the earth with their chest out; you know, like they have some kind of economic ingenuity. Your father isn't here to pay his debts. My father isn't here to collect. But I'm here to collect and you're here to pay.
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