Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Homemade Education

While serving time in prison from 1946-1952, Malcolm Little converted to Islam and became Malcolm X. His conversion led him to the realization that although he was articulate verbally, he was out of his element when it came to writing. Throughout the entire essay, Malcolm's theme seemed one of determination to improve his communication skills. He accomplished this by re-writing a dictionary, studying black history, and continuing to correspond with his mentor, Elijah Mohammed.

Malcolm X was a self educated man whose very education fueled his anger and hatred towards white men. His disdain at the actions of the "bleached human beings" (199) grew stronger the more he read about the atrocities perpetuated by not only white slave traders and owners, but even the U.N. engaging in a "skin game" (202). While I empathize with his feelings, I also grew tired of being accussed and made to feel guilty about the crimes committed hundreds of years ago. I would also disagree with his practice of "battling the white man everyday" (203), because that would yield no positive outcome. His hatred and anger won't change anything but rather alienate many of those he's trying to reach. But if malcolm's purpose was to inform his readers with knowledge of black history, he succeeded, and I do admire his devotion to learning.

Selected Passage
I chose the passag at the bottom of page 200, in which Malcolm X perceived that "white man had been actually nothing but a piratical opportunist who used Faustian machinations to make his own Christianity his initial wedge in criminal conquests." This confirms my belief that Malcolm X is to angry and focused on the events of the past for which he writes to be unbiased, unlike Frederick Douglass who used his attainment of knowledge to look to the future.

Discussion Questions
What kind of stance would Malcolm X take on affirmative action?
Do descendants of slaves recieving reparations help or hurt the ideals of Malcolm X?


At 9:05 AM, Blogger P. Davis said...

Your analysis bring up an important consideration: the fact that the AUDIENCE and the PURPOSE of a text can completely change the way in which a text is viewed. I am glad that you are developing the ability to step back from your personal views and see the text from a different perspective. This is an important skill!


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