Modes Essay: “Homeboy” by Malcolm X
In “Homeboy”, Malcolm X, a prominent leader during the Civil Rights era, discusses discrimination within the black community itself through the use of thoughtful imagery, eloquent diction, and symbolism throughout the essay.
As Malcolm X describes the racial prejudice currently within the black community in his new home, he uses imagery to accurately portray the glaring discrepancies between the “ghetto” blacks and the Hill “elite.” For example, when he describes the arrogance and misguided haughtiness the Hill elite possess, he states that “foreign diplomats could have modeled their conduct on the way the Negro postmen...acted, striding around…” (Malcolm X 196). This comparison shows how prideful the blacks in the Roxbury area acted, as if they were better than foreign diplomats themselves. They considered those who lived in the ghetto, which was “no further away than you could throw a rock,” to be classless and far inferior while priding themselves on being far superior and classy, just like the white man they so hated (Malcolm X 196). In addition, when Malcolm describes the way that people called measly servants and menials, he compares the descriptions to people such as Rockefeller and Mellon. The imagery provided with this comparison supports Malcolm’s point that although they worked menial and lowly jobs, they considered themselves to be as important and influential as some of the two most famous (white) men in the world. With the use of such strong imagery, Malcolm X is able to provide some insight for his audience into the prejudice that was heavily prevalent within the black community itself.
In addition to insightful imagery, Malcolm X employs powerful word choice in order to convey his point of prejudice. When describing the blacks who found themselves far superior, even though they usually owned less than those they looked down upon, he uses words such as “snooty” or “brainwashed” in order to accurately...
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