The original title was “The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley”. I read the translated version.
I heard his name for quite a long time but know very little about him. He’s an African American, he’s a moslem, and the Indonesian version title said that he “revolutionized the world of Islam and humanity”. That’s what made me interested to know more about this man.
Malcolm X (May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965) were born in the time when racism was in a horrific condition. His entire life was basically influenced by it and was then dedicated against it.
His father was killed when he was six, his mother was placed in a mental hospital seven years after. In his teenage years, he started to spent most of his life on the street, get involve with alcohol, drugs, became a thief and trafficker, until he got into jail.
As he grew, he watched and experienced how the black people were treated differently by the white people. Not always in a ruthless way, but even the nicest white people (sometimes maybe without realizing that it was some form of racism) doesn’t seems to see black people equally as human being. Yet, not until heard about Elijah Muhammad and his teachings, he realized how terrible racism has and still destroying black people.
I learn from this book how oppression and negligence could grow inferiority in someone. That when a human being treated less than he should be all his life, he would be eventually think less of himself. He would started to believe that he deserved it.
In this case, racism had led the African American to forget who they really are. The oppression and in equal treatment they got since the first time they arrived at the country as slaves had effecting them mentally, spiritually, socially, and economically. It was led them into low self esteem, the helpless feeling, and self destructive attitude. They got to believe that they were lower than the white people and the only way they could succeed was by their mercy or by following their way. The worst part of it is that most of them didn’t even realize this.
This self esteem and the pride of being black men was what Elijah Muhammad with his Nation of Islam tried to revived. The movement want black people stand on their own feet and began to fight for their success. Malcolm who was born as Malcolm Little changed his last name into X like the other member of the religious movement. He became National Representative of the Nation of Islam, second in rank after Elijah, before he found the real Islam, that gave a new perspective in his fight for the rights of blacks and about racism itself.
Trough his speech and his own journey to find the truth, Malcolm woke a lot of people, black or white, about the racism problem in America and how it was the roots of lots of problem in the country.
Malcolm was stating the truth that was making people, white or black, uncomfortable. His passion and frankness might also made some people feel threaten. But I think that’s also how he inspires even more people across races in different countries, even long after he died as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz.