The Many Faces of Malcolm X
A look at the life of Malcolm X and how he was often accused of reverse-racism.
This paper examines the life and ideology of a Malcolm X, the leader of the Civil Rights Movement.
“A key figure in the radicalization of the Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X was a man whose life took many turns. Growing up in Michigan, Boston and Harlem, he was inspired to follow the fashions of the dominant, white society. Like many without an education, he turned to crime for survival. However, his experiences in prison lead him on a new pathway. AA one-time pimp and hustler who had converted while in prison to the Nation of Islam faith (Norton et al, p.937), Malcolm X became one of the nation’s most ardent advocates of African American separatism, self-determination and the setting up of an independent black republic within the borders of the United States (White, p.105). He espoused a hatred of the white devil who had oppressed the Black race for centuries, and was accused by many of reverse racism. However, disillusionment with the leaders of the Nation of Islam soon set in. Malcolm X distanced himself from this American version of the Muslim faith; he journeyed to the Middle East in order to discover the true faith of Islam. His philosophies about race relations were to change again as he discovered that this faith embraced all races equally; Allah was, in fact, oblivious to race and color. He returned to America preaching against white racists (Haley, X, p.374) rather than against the white race. He had discovered that race did not necessarily determine attitude; we are all human beings first and foremost (Haley, X, p.373). However, his more moderate views on the African American plight concerning the Civil Rights movement inspired distrust among the members of the Black Muslims and the Nation of Islam. His life became endangered as he spoke about his new ideals and in 1965 he was assassinated by members of his former faith. ”