The history of the United States has in it much separation or segregation due to race. For a long time our country has seen racism as a large problem and this has caused ethnic groups to be looked down upon or forced into a lifestyle of difficulties and suppression. Due to this, races, particularly African-Americans, have been forced to deal with unequal opportunity and poverty, leading to less honorable ways of getting by and also organizations that support change. Malcolm X is one strong example of a colored man who fell into this type of hate and acted against it, uniting people to promote the advancement of colored people and change.
At a young age, Malcolm saw the ways in which blacks were seen as inferior, when his father supported an organization that promoted the return of blacks to Africa. Malcolm watched at a young age while the Klu Klux Klan burnt down his family’s house, he also knew of his grandmother being raped by a white man, which caused his mother’s light skin and his red hair. His father was killed when six white men beat him to death because they did not like what his father was doing in his organization. This was the early stage in like in which Malcolm’s hatred of white people begins. I believe that the high point of Malcolm’s hatred for white people comes when the welfare agency declares his mother insane and institutionalizes her, causing his family to be split apart. Malcolm blames the welfare agency for splitting up his family for the rest of his life. Even when he moves in with a white foster family, he is taught at school that black people are seen as lazy and dumb and will never be completely successful in this society, no matter how smart or gifted they are.
“I reflected many, many times to myself upon how the American Negro has been entirely brainwashed from ever seeing or thinking of himself, as he should, as a part of the nonwhite peoples of the world.” – Malcolm X
Malcolm begins to realize that all the white people surrounding him as constantly either indirectly or directly telling him that he does not belong in their world, and they would not let him in even if he was qualified, due to his color. At this point he knows he must leave this area and leaves his foster home to live with his sister in Boston. Although Malcolm finds work, they are dead end jobs and this leads him to have to earn money in less acceptable ways such as drugs, betting, and stealing. This is how many problems occur in poor black communities today, due to the lack of choice and opportunity for advancement. Many years of this cause him danger and drug addiction until finally he ends up in jail and his transformation begins. Malcolm meets a man named Bibi and after listening to him talk begins to study many intellectually subjects. He became particularly intrigued with the ideas of a man named Elijah Muhammad. This man founded the Nation of Islam, which Malcolm joins after getting out on parole. From here, Malcolm becomes a powerful influence and believes completely in the teachings of this form of Islam. He avidly tried to gain members and eventually becomes an important symbol to the faith due to his powerful speaking abilities.
“America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem.” – Malcolm X
Through Malcolm’s travels, he visits many African nations and also makes his hajj to Mecca. Here he learns about the Muslim faith in these areas and realizes that race is not a problem here, but America’s long history of violence towards blacks has cause a distorted view in the United States. He feels that the evil in white people is the cause of this problem.
When returning to the United States, Malcolm becomes so outspoken and controversial that he realizes the Nation of Islam would like to cast him out and has even hired assassins to kill him. He is forced to move and starts another Muslim organization to try and help people see what is going on in America. Since then many associations for the advancement of colored people have been formed such as the NAACP, regulations on minorities in the work place, negro college funds, strict laws against racism, and many more. He is truly one of the symbol’s who helps to promote this change and help black people of America to stop living lives that they are told are less meaningful, and forced to be unsuccessful in. Although many people may disagree with the exact teaching of Malcolm X and his views on the reasons that black people were struggling, his intentions to change the ways that black people were viewed was a strong turning point in the direction of the nation. His autobiography and experiences truly helped many white people and black people to see what had been happening to our society that they had been blinded by for so long, and gave us the opportunity to change this. Some ways our society is helping to change this is by improving welfare programs, providing additional aid for colored people to attend college, and requiring companies to employ a certain amount of minorities. Although racism still exists today, it is much less severe and active as it was back in the days of the life of Malcolm X. Malcolm X is certainly one of the most important catalysts for this change and his works should be known and appreciated by all who have been affected by this, or all who did not realize the extremity of the situation until he brought it to their attention.