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Racism And Discrimination In Alex Haley's Autobiography Of Malcolm X

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In the Autobiography of Malcolm X, the author, Alex Haley, makes racism and discrimination prevalent throughout the text. Malcolm’s life is being uncovered firsthand as people witness the tribulations he suffers through. As the story unfolds, the reader witnesses the change in Malcolm’s character and what experiences brought him that point. The text would not be as powerful without several factors. Although the story is compelling, without true richness and depth brought on by the author’s style, structure, and content, the story would not be as remarkable as it is. Several literary devices are implemented in the novel to convey the author’s experiences and feelings, thus contributing to the overall appeal of the writing. In his younger years…show more content…
It also allows people to grasp an understanding on how life really was like for a black person in this era. Malcolm’s childhood is filled with trauma and heartache. His father is killed and his mother is eventually sent to a mental hospital. His siblings are split apart and he is sent to live with a white foster family. Throughout this misery, Malcolm remains ambitious, becoming class president and preserving his goal of becoming a lawyer. The anguish Malcolm suffers through in his younger years is the direct result of racism. It is disheartening to imagine such a young child go through so much pain because of his skin color. The text strikingly displays this heartache Malcolm combats and how he copes with it. A turning point in his life is when Malcolm tells his teacher of his aspirations of becoming a lawyer and he tells him to set his sights on carpentry instead. He claims, “It was a surprising thing that I had never thought of it that way before, but I realized that whatever I wasn 't, I was smarter than nearly all of those white kids. But apparently I was still not intelligent enough, in their eyes, to become whatever I wanted to be” (page 34). In this quote, Malcolm recognizes that he is more intelligent than his peers, but since he is of darker complexion, his intelligence does not matter. In this moment, Malcolm realizes the true extent of racism in society and begins to take a step back from white people. Malcolm states, “I don 't care how nice one is to you; the thing you must always remember is that almost never does he really see you as he sees himself, as he sees his own kind. He may stand with you through thin, but not thick; when the chips are down, you 'll find that as fixed in him as his bone structure is his sometimes subconscious conviction that he 's better than anybody black” (page 29).
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