A Malcolm X Reaction Paper: From George Washington to Rosa Parks, JFK, and countless others, the world has been blessed and challenged by various leaders. In the national bestseller, “The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley” we have the experience of being introduced into the life of a leader of such category; Mr. Malcolm X, Malcolm Little, Detroit Red, or rather El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. Throughout his autobiography, Malcolm went through several stages of his life that ultimately allowed him to clearly see the struggle of the African American man in the early 20th century.
He used his experiences as a Harlemite and street hustler to gain knowledge and understanding of life as an African American male. Malcolm ultimately dedicated his life to the struggle of the black man. He wanted to gain the world’s attention and turn its eyes onto the discrimination happening in America. Mostly he wanted African Americans to be proud of their heritage and to eliminate the self hate that they brought upon their own bodies by doing things such as straightening their hair and altering their character in order to fit into white society.
Although your perception of the book might vary according to what race you are, seeing as that a greater part of the book addressed the white man as the devil, the information Malcolm has to offer undoubtedly brings a series of emotions to the books’ readers. The knowledge which Malcolm shared with us as he went through his life story was indeed impressive and entertaining. He constantly told us lessons he has learned from all the compromising situations he had been in. It was the beginning of a very important lesson in my life—anytime you find someone more successful than you are, especially when you’re both engaged in the same business—you know they’re doing something that you aren’t. ” While some lessons were serious, others appeared to be comical. Such as when Malcolm gave advice on women, “Never ask a woman about other men. Either she’ll tell you a lie, and you still won’t know, or if she tells you the truth, you might not have wanted to hear it in the first place. ” Also, equally impressive was how brutally honest Malcolm was about his life and about the lives, and “hustles”, of those around him.
An example of this is how he told us, “I carried a hardly noticeable little flat, blue-steel . 25 automatic. But for working, I carried a . 32, a . 38 or a . 45. ” Malcolm wanted the world to know his story, 100% of it, from his love life, his thug life, his good times to his bad times, and that was what mostly made the autobiography special for me. Also, Malcolm had a persuasive, entertaining, strong yet easy to understand language that he used in his speeches which I believe helped him in gaining the popularity that he had amongst the people. It’s just like when you’ve got some coffee that’s too black, which means it’s too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won’t even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep. ” as said by Malcolm in 1963 in Detroit; a good example of his style. As I made my way through the book I became highly impressed with the influence music had not only in Harlem but at every place Malcolm introduced us to.
I first saw Malcolm introducing how much music and dancing were a great part of life when he talked about the school dances he had gone to in Lansing, MI. He mentioned songs such as Erskine Hawkins’ “Tuxedo Junction”, Slim and Slam’s “Flatfoot Floogie”, and several others. Later on after his move to Boston and later Harlem, I was astonished by how people became connected through the music in the dance halls. And how music influenced even clothing! Malcolm spent a great variety of time talking about the expansive “zoot suits” he would purchase to look good when going out to dance.
It was interesting to see that although racism was high, white people, especially white women disobeyed the color barriers of the time and flocked to the Negro dances in search of the classic Negro soul music, among other things. It is fair to say that Malcolm did his share of criticism of the government. I enjoyed reading about his encounters with the state. One moment which struck me to heart was how the government welfare workers did their best to separate the Little family. “I truly believe that if ever a state social agency destroyed a family it destroyed ours. We wanted and tried to stay together.
Our home didn’t have to be destroyed. But the Welfare, the courts, and their doctors, gave us the one-two-three punch. And ours was not the only case of this kind. ” said Malcolm after coming from visiting his mom in a mental hospital. Undoubtedly, the greatest emotion I felt throughout the book was anger. Myself being of white European decent, I was appalled by the theory of evolution proposed at the beginning of the book. And even disgusted at how much Malcolm came to hate the white people and call them devils. In proposing such ideas Malcolm himself was being a racist, and therefore being a hypocrite.
My feelings for Malcolm, at that point, were the far from positive. He first started having anti-white feeling in elementary school when a school teacher discouraged him from being an attorney purely because he was black. Malcolm realized that even though he accelerated in the classroom and showed his capability of achievement, he was denied what he deserved. He inevitably came to the conclusion that even though African Americans were amongst the white population, they weren’t considered of them. From there started the anti-white life which he led for several years.
This part of the book was discouraging seeing as Malcolm came to place all white people into one black hating group. Undoubtedly Malcolm made significant progress in attaining my respect as I reached the end of the book. I became more at ease after Malcolm started speaking of a racial equality, “I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color. ” I admired, and was highly grateful for the change he made after visiting the holy city of Mecca.
It is the feeling of equality that he receives in the Middle East that gave him the power to fully separate from following Elijah Muhammad and to re-devotes his life to the Eastern Muslim way. Finally, Malcolm had been freed of his bond from Elijah Muhammad, who was the main advocate of separating the races and blaming everything that is wrong in the world on the Caucasian civilization. “I shall never rest until I have undone the harm I did to so many well-meaning, innocent Negroes who through my own evangelistic zeal now believe in him even more fanatically and more blindly than I did. , said Malcolm X to those he originally encouraged to follow Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad. As he evolved from a common street hustler to a world renowned leader, Malcolm used his life experiences as weapons of education to assists the advancement of African Americans. In turn, it is easy to gather that Malcolm X was an influential leader. He showed dedication to his cause, and stopped at nothing, even paying the price of his own life to get his point across. Malcolm taught us that you’re never oo smart to stop learning from others. Even though Malcolm’s views on society had changed an abundant amount of times; during his Hajj he was finally able to reflect on his previous lifestyles and grasp an understanding on what needed to be done in order to create a better, more equal society. Malcolm X, despite being a very controversial man, evolved into a well educated individual by the end of his time, one which truly desired and devoted his life to the advancement of the African American community.