Self-defense, in terms of how Malcolm X said it, has been ridiculously misinterpreted and misunderstood.
Malcolm believed in being nonviolent with people who are nonviolent. He did not believe in being nonviolent with people who are violent. He made a clear distinction. He believed in nonviolence as a method for as long as it is feasible. This is a flexible approach that is not dogmatic.
When he said “By any means necessary,” he was speaking about whatever means is necessary whether it involves nonviolent action or self-defense.
He taught us that we are within are rights to defend our lives and our property seeing as though we live, and still do, under a government that is either unwilling or unable to protect the lives and property of people of color. All you need to do is look at history and you will see that this is a strong argument.