In some respects, Malcolm’s dilemma was—and still is—inescapable. To escape it requires a remarkable analytical leap that would undermine the fragile basis upon which his conception of black nationalism was built. Like today’s young nationalists weighed down by X caps and red, black and green medallions, Malcolm saw the black bourgeoisie as both enemies and misguided souls, sellouts and brainwashed Negroes who simply need a wake-up call from the Motherland. Few are willing to say, in no uncertain terms, that the black poor and the bourgeoisie have mutually exclusive interests. For to do so would be to call into question the whole basis of nationalism, particularly a nationalism based on racial and cultural affinity. Even more damaging, however, is that it would close off any possibility of achieving individual success. After all, what are these young Soul Rebels striving for anyway? How can anyone expect young people coming up today to completely repudiate the black bourgeoisie, or any bourgeoisie, if contemporary Malcolmites are giving graduation speeches about the importance of getting paid or obtaining that degree “by any means necessary”?
— Robin D.G. Kelley, House Negroes on the Loose: Malcolm X and the Black Bourgeoisie