Paper Example on Thematic Concerns Featured During Malcolm's Time in The United States

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1316 Words
Date:  2022-05-21


Malcolm was a civil rights activist in the 1960s in the United States of America. Segregation was a common problem in the U.S, especially for the blacks. During this era, the rights accorded to the whites were not the same as those accorded to the black people. He was born in Omaha, located in the State of Nebraska on 19th may 1925. Malcolm was renown among the Americans for fighting fearlessly for civil rights. In his activist activities, he had the idea that eliminating racial separation was the only means of improving the lives of Black Americans. It was due to this thought that he reached out to blacks teaching them of the importance of segregating themselves and having their own community, society, and economy. In his teachings to the African Americans, he labeled the white Americans devils, who took advantage of the black people. Historically, the fight against oppression and racial discrimination has not been an easy one, and it normally comes with people paying a heavy price.

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Malcolm had little belief that African Americans and white Americans would coexist together in the same societal setting. Due to the little belief, he thought that the only way to help and better the lives of the black people was through fighting the white Americans. While other civil rights activists opted for the non-violent ways to fight for the rights of blacks, Malcolm went for violent means. The Nation of Islam and his life experiences in his early age helped him shape the racial separation ideology. However, when he visited Mecca, Malcolm discovered that under Allah, both the black people and the white people could coexist together.In my opinion, his discovery while in mecca tremendously changed his cause as a human rights activist.

Racism was one of the big problems that the black people faced in those times. In the "Autobiography of Malcolm X," the troubles that the blacks went through continued to shape Malcolm's character as well as his ethnic ideologies. For example, he witnessed his parents killed by the white people, and it was at this time Malcolm saw how hopeless the black people were. As he lived in areas of Boston and New York, (many blacks lived in these ghettos) the life experiences he faced there caused him to change his attitude. While living in those ghettos, the belief that blacks should not accept assistance from whites started to influence his thinking.

During his time in prison, Malcolm's view of people and his character changed due to the knowledge he received from education in the Nation of Islam. During that same time, Malcolm started embracing the logical unpleasant treatment from the whites and forgot about his past experiences. Malcolm further changed when he moved to the Middle East. This caused his break up with the American Nation of Islam. While in the Middle East, he discovered a new belief that for blacks to succeed in the fight for equality, they would need to associate themselves with the oppressed group around the world. Therefore, after these many life phases and the many perspectives racism can be viewed from, he was able to develop a philosophy that he adhered to (X & Haley, 1965)

In the "Autobiography of Malcolm X," the domination of the white people and the slavery of the black people by the white Americans is evident. When African Americans were captured, enslaved and taken to America, they started liberation wars against the whites demanding their rights. Being a Carmelite and a hustler, he used that experience to learn life as a male of the African American race. As Malcolm grew up, he came to understand that the oppression of the blacks was not a problem with race, but it was a problem with the American society and culture. The domination of the whites is evident in the first chapter when Malcolm's mother was attempting to save the family while pregnant as some white people attacked them. At the end of that same chapter, Malcolm's father is murdered by some white armed men and their house razed down. At that time, watching his family and friends being oppressed defined his life (X & Haley, 1965).

The book also features self-transformation as an important theme. Malcolm evolved from a hustler in the streets into a famous leader, known around the world. Life experiences were the main Malcolm's teacher, and in turn, the experiences helped in the advancing the lives of the African Americans. Malcolm learned that the white Americans had a culture that forced the blacks to ignore their native cultures, this left them discriminated amongst themselves. Malcolm was introduced into the Nation of Islam and Elijah Muhammad. When he came out of prison, he became a leading minister of the movement.When Malcolm returned to the U.S, he had a new understanding of the racial issues that affected the blacks in America. He has had renewed energy and ways of masterminding movements aimed at ending the oppression of the blacks. However, before Malcolm could apply his methods and ideas, he was assassinated.Malcolm's life was a controversy, but he chose to devote it to helping the African Americans better their stay in the United States (X & Haley, 1965).

The text also tries to compare integrating the life of hustling in the streets and activism. Malcolm was a witness of the consequences of inequality while living in Harlem. People whose minds had been changed to see black people as inferior to the whites would be seen struggling to earn a living. Since the black people did not have formal education, African Americans were compelled to do the unskilled jobs or engage in criminal activities to earn some money. The black people were compelled to undertake the basic jobs that made the American whites to disrespect them even more and pay them little money. To make some cash, some black people ended up hustling and doing illegal narcotics business and indulging in theft. The desire to gain a better social status drove the African Americans to devise quick means to gain money.

Malcolm stopped criminal activities after serving in prison and become an evangelist, but both lives before and after prison were similar in a way. He did not forget the skills and values he learned as a hustler that helped him in his evangelistic role and his media personality. For instance, Malcolm was able to identify his enemies and also present his personality wisely as he interacted with the Nation of Islam and the media using the knowledge he gained on the streets of Harlem. In one Instance, he joked to an audience in a certain university that he took his degree from the Harlem Streets. This joke emphasizes how the life in the streets of Harlem was important to him, and he appreciated what the streets taught him. Evidently, Malcolm's life as a young man was different from his adult life, but the quest for social equality remained a central agenda in both stages (X & Haley, 1965).


In conclusion, it is evident that Malcolm's life was centered on delivering the African Americans from the oppression by the whites. The life Malcolm went through taught him the hard way survive the hard life of discrimination, this leads him to devoted his life in fighting for social equality. Through the various stages of his life, the perspective of racial separation evolves into different understanding. Earlier on, he suggested racial separation, but after returning to America from the Middle East, he has a changed mind on how to handle the racial disparities in America. However, he does not live to realize his new ideas since he was assassinated in 1965.This shows that the fight against any form of oppression comes with a heavy price, and Malcolm paid the ultimate price-death.


X, M., & Haley, A. (1965). The autobiography of Malcolm X. New York: Grove Press.

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