There are very few whites today who publicly express a healthy racial consciousness and speak in thename of white interests. Some white advocates are therefore tempted to look to black nationalists for lessons in how to promote a racial cause. Blacks who promote racial identity and self-sufficiency both legitimize white racial advocacy and offer an alternative to the conventional goal of integration with whites.
Figures such as Marcus Garvey and Booker T. Washington are some of the most well-known examples, but no black nationalist is more important or open to interpretation than Malcolm X. Some white racial advocates are tempted to see him as the anti-Martin Luther King, perhaps even as a model. However, by the end of his career, if he was a model for anything, it was for the Al Sharpton brand of shake-down politics. (...)
Malcolm X was not a proto-prince of a would-be black ethnostate. He was a proto-Al Sharpton, using militant rhetoric to win concessions from institutions his people could not build themselves. While the public image of black power was the upraised fist, it quickly became the outstretched hand.(...)