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Malcolm_X_reading_essay[1] - Bouthilet 1 Robert Bouthilet...

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Bouthilet 1 Robert Bouthilet Professor Cordova Introduction to American Studies 11 February 2011 Malcolm X: Masked by Adolescence Few other names can bring about the kind of infamous connotation that Malcolm X does. The sound of the name alone can stir pent up emotion in every white and black American who grew up during the civil rights movement. Immediately, imagery of a militant black man, enraged by injustices of an elitist government, yelling at a crowd from a podium, comes to mind. However, contrary to popular thought of the American public, Malcolm X is purely a product of his own childhood choices and caged emotion that dwelled within him. During his teenage years, Malcolm Little, better known as Detroit Red, was a stereotypical hipster Negro living off the thrill of dancing and hustling. His hair was slicked back, straight as a white man’s, into a tightly greased conk. To further assimilate yet mock the accepted white culture, Malcolm Little dressed in a ridiculous zoot suit at every dance he attended. Detroit Red wore a deceiving mask of adolescence, and blinded by the glamor of a hustler’s lifestyle of pimping women and selling drugs, it was not long until he found himself behind bars, sentenced to ten years in prison. Overwhelmed with time, Malcolm Little studied books on Black Nationalism and Islam. During his schooling, a teacher told him “you’ve got to be realistic about being a nigger” and Malcolm later writes, “I began to change – inside” (Hoyt 109). This simple yet pervasive thought dug to the center of his mind, and coupled with the pent up rage of being imprisoned by an unfair justice system, the thought radically changed his outlook on himself and his country. The loved and loathed Malcolm X of the 1960s is a creation of the popular American “hipster” culture, the
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Bouthilet 2 ongoing struggle to live up to white standards, and the pressing civil rights movement of the
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Malcolm_X_reading_essay[1] - Bouthilet 1 Robert Bouthilet...

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