MALCOLM X QUESTIONS

1. Keeping X’s advice in mind, how would you assess the changes in his attitudes towards white people over the course of his entire life.  BECAUSE OF WHAT HAPPENED TO HIS FATHER (and his fathers pro-Garvey teachings), HE DID NOT HAVE OVERLY FRIENDLY FEELINGS TOWARD WHITES.  HIS TREATMENT BY WHITES AS A MASCOT/PET WHILE IN A FOSTER HOME CONFIRMED THOSE FEELINGS.  ALTHOUGH HE IMMITATED WHITE MEN WITH HIS ‘CONK’ HAIR, HE WAS MORE OR LESS THUMBING HIS NOSE AT WHITES (especially dating a white girl – Sophia) WHILE IN PRISON, HE WAS ‘EDUCATED’ BY REGINALD ABOUT THE WHITE MAN AS SATAN.  HE CONTINUED TO HAVE ANGRY FEELINGS TOWARD WHITE PEOPLE UNTIL HIS PILGIMAGE TO MECCA.  THERE HE SAW ALL MEN, WHITE AND BLACK AS BROTHERS IN ISLAM. 

2. How would you assess the changes in his attitudes toward other African Americans over the course of his entire life?  DEPENDING ON THEIR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THEMSELVES, SELF-ASSURED AND CONFIDENT IN THEIR ‘BLACKNESS’ OR WHAT HE PERCIEVED AS ‘UNCLE TOMS’ WHO INGRATIATED THEMSELVES TO WHITES IN ORDER TO FURTHER THEIR COMFORT IN A WHITE WORLD, HIS ATITUDE DID NOT CHANGE MUCH.

3. Was Malcolm X a racist? [You are allowed to pick any answer you like, as long as you cite evidence from the book to back it up.]  THIS IS OBVIOUSLY A ‘LOADED’ QUESTION.  EVERY CONVERSATION AND STATEMENT IN CLASS SUGGESTS WHAT YOU BELIEVE, THAT MALCOLM X  WAS A NATIONALIST, NOT A RACIST.  HOWEVER, IF GUILT IN THE WORDS YOU SPEAK, AND THE THOUGHTS AND DEEDS PRESENTED, REVEALS WHAT IS IN YOUR HEART, EVEN TEMPORARILY, THEN EVEN MALCOLM X CONSIDERED HIMSELF A RACIST!  BECAUSE HE FELT GUILT OVER A SEEMINGLY INNOCUOUS STATEMENT, “NOTHING”  WHEN THAT YOUNG WHITE GIRL WANTED TO KNOW IF MALCOLM X BELIEVED THERE WERE ANY GOOD WHITE PEOPLE, MALCOLM STATED,  “PEOPLE’S DEEDS I BELIEVE IN MISS-NOT THEIR WORDS” (pg.292) THE YOUNG GIRL ASKED WHAT SHE COULD DO, NOT SAY OR EXPLAIN, SHE WANTED TO DO SOMETHING TO JUSTIFY HER BELIEF THAT NOT ALL WHITES WERE ‘DEVILS’ AS MALCOLM HAD STATED BEFORE (pg. 271, even if collectivly) MALCOLM X SHOWED HIS ‘RACISM’  (PS Malcolm had talked frequently in prison with’Reginald’, who believed “The white man is the devil” (pg.162)

3.(A) ASKING A GROUP OF WHITE/HISPANIC (or at least all non-black/African-American) MIDDLE-CLASS EDUCATORS TO DETERMINE WEATHER OR NOT A SELF-IDENTIFIED BLACK NATIONALIST IS A RACIST IS AN INTERESTING QUESTION!  LOGICALLY, ANYONE PROMOTING HIS ‘RACE’, EVEN IF THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE OF DENOUNCING ANOTHER ‘RACE’, WOULD BE CONSIDERED, AT LEAST IN SOME WAY, A ‘RACIST!  HOWEVER, THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WHITE AMERICANS AND AFRICAN-AMERICANS IS UNIQUE.  THE GUILT FELT BY MANY WHITES, AND THE VICTIMIZATION FELT BY AFRICAN-AMERICANS CREATES A DYNAMIC THAT DEFIES AND AT THE SAME TIME CONFORMS TO LOGIC.  IF WE ARE TO VIEW MALCOLM X’S ENTIRE LIFE, ESPECIALLY HIS YEARS IN PRISON AND BEFORE HIS PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA, IT WOULD SEEM INCONCIEVABLE THAT AN EDUCATED PERSON (white/non-black) WOULD NOT CONSIDER HIM A RACIST.  HOWEVER, BECAUSE OF THE UNIQUE DYNAMIC DISCUSSED EARLIER, AND AFTER EVERYTHING WRITTEN ABOUT HIM, AND MOST NOTEABLY THE LAST YEARS OF HIS LIFE, GUILT(& logic?) WOULD SUSPEND ANY AND ALL THOUGHT OF JUDGING HIM A RACIST.

PS 1. Think about it this way, if a white person sees a young black male late at night and secretly fears that they’re about to get mugged (even though they’re not) is that racism or prudence? Now imagine a white kid growing up in the Forties fearing whites the same way.  Is that racism?  YES/NO/MAYBE…WHAT IF THE PERSON WAS OLD AND…AS FOR THE WHITE KID…IF  THE YOUNG WHITE BOY WAS JEWISH AND THE PERSON ON THAT STREET IS A BIG GERMAN SINGING A NAZI TUNE?

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