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The Evolution Of Malcolm X Essay

1935 words - 8 pages

This paper will discuss the different stages of thought processes the former Nation of Islam minister, Malcolm X went through during his lifetime in terms of how he viewed white people, but more specifically “the white man” in America. The reason the focus is on White Americans is because these were the people outside of the Nation of Islam that shaped his life good or bad and put him on the path where he eventually transformed from Malcolm Little to Malcolm X who was one of the most polarizing and controversial figures during his lifetime and even nearly 50 years after his death the name Malcolm X causes certain people to shudder. Malcolm X became a well-known figure during the 50’s and 60’s during the civil rights movement which involved figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. This was a pivotal era in American history because for the first time that there was major push towards full rights for African Americans. When Malcolm X came on the scene he put fear into White people because they weren’t used to hearing the truth about race relations in America and many of them felt that things were just fine because they themselves were living life high on the hog while at the same time exploiting Blacks. Because this type of talk from a black person was new to them they misinterpreted his views as “hate speech” and accused him of trying to incite violence when he was simply trying wake his people up to properly deal with what was happening to them.
When Malcolm x was known as Malcolm Little which was from his birth until during his time in prison went he converted to the Nation of Islam ( Malcolm X and Haley 154-172) he experienced traumatic events that laid the foundation in terms of how he came to view white people up until the day he died. As Rufus Burrow Jr. states “By the time Malcolm was 13 years old he experienced enough in his life to make him hate white people for the rest of his life” (Burrow Jr.) The then Malcolm Little just like other blacks and whites had learned what his race’s place was in society was. Black people in America during that time of Malcolm X’s youth had to learn at a very early age that they weren’t full citizens in the very country that they were born in. For blacks learning such a harsh and unfair lesson would cause them to either accept their lot in life and allow themselves to develop an inferiority complex and kowtowing to whites. This type of thought process that was forced into the psyche of black people in America gave justification to whites that blacks were indeed inferior to white people and deserved to be treated as less than human. As a result, many blacks accepted being second class citizens and as a result they too passed down the concept as Malcolm X states “the white man being superior and black people being inferior” (Malcolm X and Haley 56-57) generation after generation. However, on the other side of the coin there were blacks who rebelled against the status quo and wanted make better lives for...

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