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Malcom X and Gloria Anzaldua

Malcom X and Gloria Anzaldua - Miller 1 Brian Miller Jason...

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Brian Miller Jason Ockert Academic Writing I 12 April 2007 How to Tame a Wild Homeboy Living as a minority in a racially unequal society is not only difficult, but can cause one to change their innate qualities in an attempt to find acceptance. This can be seen in Malcolm X’s essay “Homeboy”. In this essay he tells the story of his move from the country to the urban area of Boston, where he is just about as far as one can get from fitting in. Malcolm does all he can to be accepted by his peers in Boston, only to realize later in his life that such assimilation is an insult to his race. You can also see an example of forced assimilation in Gloria Anzaldúa’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”. In this essay, Anzaldúa describes her experience growing up as a Chicano Mexican in American culture. Anzaldúa also explains how she sees language as the most important factor in being true to her nationality. Like Malcolm X, only much earlier, Anzaldúa resists assimilation to white culture. These two essays support eachother’s ideas although they do have their points of difference. Malcolm X’s “Homeboy” is a testimony to just how difficult it can be for a minority to make it in a racially unequal society. In “Homeboy” Malcolm describes his move to Boston and all of the personal changes he goes through as a result. Malcolm begins to dress differently, smoke cigarettes, drink liquor, smoke marijuana and gamble in order to be accepted by his peers at his new job in the Roseland State Ballroom. Malcolm reflects on this event in his essay: “The first liquor I drank, my first cigarettes, even my first reefers, I can’t remember…I was still country I know now, but it all felt so great because I was being accepted” (204). Malcolm also Miller 1
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goes through physical changes during this time. Seeking not only acceptance by his peers, but to look better in the eyes of white people, Malcolm “conks” his hair (straightens his hair in a manner that makes it look like a white man’s hair). This he reflects on with a sense of disgust:
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