Malcolm X: The effects of American racism

             Malcolm X lived during a period in American history when racism and civil rights were at the forefront. Although slavery was abolished in 1865 with the adoption of the 13th amendment to the constitution, African Americans were treated with indifference and discrimination for many more years. During his lifetime, Malcolm X experienced first hand how racism affected the lives of African Americans including himself, his family and friends. The autobiography that he writes in collaboration with Alex Haley is a detailed story of the events that affected Malcolm X. Malcolm X’s main purpose for writing his autobiography is to show how racism in America dehumanizes African Americans.
             In the very first chapter, Malcolm tells how early in his life he realizes that being black means disadvantage and that a black person will never truly be successful. As a child, his father has plans to own a business and works hard saving his money to accomplish his dream. However, the society in which they live refuse to allow a black man to own a business like so many of the white people. Even their fellow black neighbors are brainwashed into believing that Malcolm’s father is wrong for having plans for success. Malcolm states, “every where my father went, Black Legionnaires were reviling him as an ‘uppity nigger’ for wanting to own a store, for living outside the Lansing Negro district, for spreading unrest and dissention among ‘the good nigger’” (3).
             As a young student, Malcolm again sees the difference between himself and his fellow white students. He tells how he is treated as the token black child in the school and is not treated this way because he is smart and well liked, but because of the oddity of him being black. When Malcolm is elected as class president while in the seventh grade, he experiences how the white people around him treat him as a mascot rather than as an equal. He says, “It surprised me even more tha...

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Malcolm X: The effects of American racism. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 14:37, January 21, 2017, from