Malcolm X never died. While his contemporary Martin Luther King Jr. lives on in the noble but fixed ideal of a racially unified and enlightened America, Malcolm lives on in the fluid black discontent with the ongoing lack of justice. Forty-six years after his assassination, it is Malcolm who looks like the prophet. Though the black middle class has made spectacular gains, the struggles of the black urban working- and underclass from which Malcolm came and that still describe much of black America are substantially what they were in the ’60s. The self-confidence and skepticism Malcolm voiced that were once deemed so toxic have become common sense, even among the most successful of us. Blacks still live in an age of exceptionalism, not integration, and Malcolm’s warnings about the fallibility of them pinning all their hopes on an idea that Americans had resisted for centuries — often violently — look not radical or hateful now but self-evident.