I feel that this novel was banned due to its content of drug use, sex, and crime. Although the novel is not explicit in these areas the subject matter is still present. I also feel that this novel was censored due to its portrayal of racism of both the white man against the black man and the black man against the white man. White people are portrayed as devils and there is a constant theme of separation and discrimination.
This book holds ideals that most people may find digressive in the sense that integration is almost no longer an issue, given that people tend to not question a black person’s right to be somewhere just as much as a white mans’. Therefore when this book promotes the evilness of a race and how separation is the only way to achieve equality it endorses ideals we no longer hold as ethical. This book also has in detail how to pull off some different kinds of crimes and hustles. For example, “A good burglary team includes, I knew, what is called a ‘finder. A finder is one who locates lucrative places to rob. Another principle need is someone able to ‘case’ these places’ physical layouts???to determine means of entry, the best getaway routes, and so forth” (X 162). This quote is explaining the aspects needed to pull off a robbery easily. It is this type of content that makes this book questionable to public viewing. Upon reading this book I was unable to understand why it was banned. I realized then that this book is no longer banned for that reason. Today’s society does not view the content to be of prurient nature and neither do I.
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Of course I disagree with this book being banned but that is how society has taught me to view it. I find that the value it holds and the lesson’s it teaches exceed the impurity “Malcolm X” may describe. Although he describes how to rob a house he doesn’t do so to teach the reader how to be a thief, his purpose is to bring the reader into the depths and tragedy of his and so many other black men’s lives at the time. I think that every time Malcolm X wrote something ethically questionable he did so to make you question the ethics and question how those unethical things had impacted his life.
He talked about drugs to show how they ruined his life, he talked about stealing to show what it lead him to, and he talked about hustling to show how inglorious it is. He showed us his mistakes in hopes we wouldn’t make them. One topic I would interested in exploring further would be to know how racist groups such as the KKK reacted to Malcolm X equally advocating separation between races. Would they be happy about the idea being embraced or would the fact that black people wanted to be separated from white people anger them?
Another topic I am curious about is Sophia. Malcolm and Sophia had dated for years and Sophia went to jail because she was helping Malcolm rob places. She had been such a big part of Malcolm’s life and then she just dropped out of the picture. I would like to know what happened to her. If she still loved Malcolm and if she recognized him whenever he was on television making a speech. I want to know what happened to her after Malcolm X did. I have heard that Malcolm X began the black panthers. The book doesn’t describe him founding the group.
I would like to know if he really did start the organization and if so what values did he originally instill in it. If he hadn’t started it I would want to know how involved he really was. Throughout the novel Malcolm has a very stern demeanor and didn’t seem very light and humorous. Yet, I have heard in interviews of people that were very close to Malcolm that he was a relaxed and fun-loving man. I would like to delve further into the Malcolm X rarely seen. I want to know more about the person he was instead of the figure.
I originally disliked the idea of reading this novel. I had been lead to believe that Malcolm X is just a symbol of hate but as I began reading it I found that he was really just an advocate of the golden rule. I began to like the book as I realized that Malcolm X wasn’t about hate and I viewed it with different expectations. Yet as I continued reading there was still something about the book that I didn’t like and I couldn’t understand. Then I read this paragraph from the book, “And he taught us that a wife’s ideal age was half the man’s age plus seven.
He taught that women are physiologically ahead of men. Mr. Muhammad taught that no marriage could succeed where the women did not look up with respect to the man. And the man had to have something above and beyond the wife in order for her to be able to look to him for psychological security” (X 263-4). This quote explains that woman should meet a certain physical requirement before the man can accept her in a marriage. The white people would only let a black man into the same work place if they felt that they were better than him. This is aralleled in the statement that a man should only take a woman they knew they were better than. Upon realizing my qualm with this book I searched it find further evidence. “It seems that some women love to be exploited. When they are not exploited, they exploit the man. […]Always every now and then, I had given her a hard time, just to keep her in line. Every once in a while a women seems to need, in fact wants this, too. But now, I would feel evil and slap her around worse than ever[…]” (X 156). I’m sure white people beat and exploited black people just to “keep them in line. The hypocrisy this book holds is so obvious it’s rarely noticed. In every way the white people abused black people, men abused women. Even Malcolm taught his wife that her place was in the kitchen taking are of him and the kids. Malcolm demands equality yet he doesn’t show it. Black men had the right to vote before white women did. Women were thought to be inferior just as black people were. Society has always accepted the derogation of women as just the way things were but society also accepted black as just a lower class of people.