Malcom X 2 Essay, Research Paper
The movie Malcolm X revealed the extreme racial tensions in Harlem. Malcolm came from a broken family life. His father was murdered on the railroad tracks, he was taken away from his mother as a young boy, and involved himself in gangs, drugs, and burglary to survive. On his own, he teamed up with “Shorty” and began working as a shoe polisher to earn money and receive access to the dance club. There Malcolm involved himself in a white woman who became his partner in crime. After Malcolm was busted by the police for his “burglary” business, he was sentenced to ten years in jail on fourteen accounts, the most important punishment was for sleeping with a white woman. It was in jail that Malcolm learned of Mr. Muhammad and his religion of Islam. Malcolm began to educate himself, reading from the dictionary and the ideals of Muhammad. When released from prison, Malcolm had spread the word of the Islam religion and eventually became the main spokesperson for the Islam religion. Married with children, Malcolm continued his teachings of black supremacy. It was not until Malcolm left the United States and went to Mecca (I think this is where he went) to re-think about his ideals and values. There he bonded with people of all colors and found new meaning to the word unity. He brought these new found thoughts back with him to re-structure his organization only to be assassinated in front of his family by his own people.
Malcolm X is an example of racial inequality in our society. The movie took place during a period of harsh racial tensions where the society was divided into blacks and whites. Malcolm’s teachings started off as a “skin game” in which the point of the game was to prove which skin color was superior to the other. The video showed the division of class where the whites held the capital positions and the blacks were the majority of the working class. For example, we saw Malcolm as a shoe polisher and a waiter on the train, both jobs were serving the white man. The movie questions the boundaries of race and challenges those who want change. We see the boundary lines crossed when Malcolm sleeps with the white woman, Sophia, as she feeds him in bed; racial roles for that time reversed. Malcolm X wanted a sense of nationalism for African-Americans, it took him many years to discover that nationalism is a unity to be achieved by all races, not just one.
This was the first time I saw the movie and I thought it did a good job at showing the changes Malcolm X went through as an educated man. When the name Malcolm X came up, it was usually concurrently with Martin Luther King. I always perceived Malcolm X as the “bad” half of Dr. King. They were two examples of men advocating for rights of African-Americans. Whereas, Dr. King was successful with his concept of “fighting without violence” versus Malcolm X who’s strategy dealt with direct violence and ended in negative feelings for blacks and whites. Malcolm X had good intentions behind his actions even if at times they seemed so radical and hateful toward the white man. It was not until Malcolm went away to re-discover himself that the inspirational light shed on him to reveal that African-Americans did not need to completely separate from the white race, but that every race needed to conform to each other to complete a true ring of unity.
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