1. Keeping X’s advice in mind, how would you assess the changes in his attitudes towards white people over the course of his entire life.

Malcolm X’s viewpoints on the “blue-eyed devils: changed over the course of his lifetime, from a viewpoint of disdain to one of better understanding. As a child, Malcolm’s father died under mysterious circumstances by the purported Black Legion, a branch of the Ku Klux Klan in Michigan. Once the welfare system disbanded his family, Malcolm’s intelligence and natural abilities found alliances with white people such as the Swerlin’s who ran the detention home and sent him to public school, his teachers at school, and other students. He enjoyed his teachers but when a well-liked teacher ridiculed his dream of becoming a lawyer and encouraged him to be a carpenter, Malcolm began to change and chaff in that environment. Later, living in Boston with his sister Ella, Malcolm begins a relationship with a white woman, Sophia but she, along with most women, was degraded and abused by Malcolm who viewed them as inferior and a means to an end – a tool for sex, for getting money, helping with whatever he may have requested of them. It was not until later in life, when he began traveling to Africa and the Middle East and after his pilgrimage to Mecca that his viewpoints on white people changed. Malcolm realized that all white people were not devils, as he meets many unprejudiced Muslims of light complexion, and he brings back to the United States his new viewpoints and understanding.

2. How would you assess the changes in his attitudes toward other African Americans over the course of his entire life.

Malcolm X was raised to be independent and have pride within him. His father, Reverend Earl Little, was a follower and disciple of Marcus Garvey, who moved his family frequently to preach the teachings of Garvey, encouraging African Americans to become “independent of the white man” (3). Malcolm took after his mother, being very light complexted, with reddish hair, while his father had a very dark complexion. Interestingly, as the lightest of Reverend Little’s children, he was the favorite; but to his mother Louise Little, Malcolm was the least favorite, preferring her darker children. The Littles lived in a house out of the “Negro” area of Lansing, built by Earl’s hands. The family had a garden and raised chicken and rabbits in order to feed itself, as well as make a little bit of extra money. This way of life showed the children that they did not have to depend on the handouts of white people to survive. Yet with the death of Reverend Little, life for his family changed forever. Malcolm preferred to associate with the African Americans of the slums and ghettos because he understood that way of life – he had been there, involved with drugs and alcohol, making a living from number rackets and pimping. He did not care for the pretense and airs that middle class African Americans carried. Ella, Malcolm’s sister introduced him to people in these classes but he found know use for such people who got their esteem and prestige from the people they worked for, because, generally speaking, these middle class African Americans were still subservient to the white man.

3. Was Malcolm X a racist? [You are allowed to pick any answer you like, as long as you cite evidence from the book to back it up.]

I do feel that Malcolm X was a racist for much of his adult life until his pilgrimage to Mecca. He saw no value in white people, aside from the fact that money could be made off of them, or that they could be used to obtain things. The roots of this began in childhood, with the harassment that his family faced in every place that they lived in. How the welfare system, community and businesses in Lansing, Michigan treated his mother, siblings, and other African Americans. Malcolm also began to notice that the majority of African Americans around him “were either on Welfare, or W.P.A., or they starved”. (6)