Malcolm X: A Color Struggle Essay

4243 words - 17 pages

CONTENTSI. INTRODUCTIONII. CHILDHOODIII. CRIMINAL YEARSIV. CONVERSION TO MUSLIMV. INFLUENCE OF ELIJAH MUHAMMADVI. MECCAVII. THE ASSASSINATIONVIII. CONCLUSIONIt has been nearly 35 years since the assassination of Malcolm X, yet the stature of the man remains in tact, if not even greater today. His war against the white establishment evolved from inner needs just as he had rebelled against symbols of authority early in his life. It was this early rebellion and the phases that followed, that enabled him to adapt to his later environment. Malcolm X coped with painful ordeals by forgetting them or remembering them in a brighter way. He wanted happiness and love, but kept himself from it, and he often defied the very persons from whom he was seeking approval. He defended his people and helped them understand that blackness is not a sign of shame but a symbol of pride. However, throughout his life Malcolm had many issues with his own color and the pride he would take in himself.Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little was the seventh child, (three from a previous marriage), of Reverend Earl Little, a pronounced minister and dedicated organizer for the Universal Negro Improvement Association, and the fourth child of Louisa, a native of the Caribbean island of Grenada. When he was born his father wired his parents, " It's a boy, but he's white, just like mama." (Bruce Perry, 11) Malcolm's skin color was an obstacle from his very first breath. His eyes were blue-green, his hair was ash-blonde, and his skin light in color. His paternal grandmother was appalled at his appearance, as it reminded her of the white blood in her veins. His grandfather wept and declared that no albino would be named after him.Because of the great emphasis placed on his physical characteristics by his parents and siblings, Malcolm was very conscious of his fair skin. He was paraded by his father as his light skinned pride and joy. His mother, who was also in conflict about skin color, would boast about Black pride, but in Malcolm's eyes appeared to favor friends and relatives of lighter complexion. Louisa was so light skinned that she was often mistaken for white. She would at times attempt to scrub Malcolm's face and neck to try and make him almost look white. His father would often beat the older children, but Malcolm seemed to be spared the brutality. He attributed this to his light skin color. Although his mother administered most of Malcolm's beatings, her ambivalence toward his skin color was obvious. The favoritism by his father and the attitude concerning his skin color by his mother bred resentment by his brothers and sisters.Malcolm, on the other hand, envied the other children because he felt they were favored over him, especially by his mother. There were often fights between him and his brother Philbert, who also attributed the animosity to skin color. The actions of his parents led Malcolm to feel a degree of disapproval from both parents. It was at a very early age, in an...

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