Malcolm X

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Learning to Read, by Malcolm X Seminar Questions


1. “The teaching of Mr. Muhammad stressed how history had been ‘whitened’—when white men had written history books”(P.213). From this sentence, I found the word “whitened” very interesting. It was rare to describe the history being “whitened”. Then Malcolm had explained, what he meant by “whitened” history. It was how the white races actually dominant and created history, since they were the people who wrote history, so history was written in the white’s point of views.

2. After reading the passage, I think the words rehabilitation (P. 212), articulate (P.210), whitened (P. 213), degrade (P. 215) and narcotize (P.216) are important to the passage. These vocabularies have made the tone critical. Malcolm used “degrade”, “whitened” and “narcotize” when writing about the white races. These words were with negative meanings. In the other hand, I think the word “articulate” is quite important since Malcolm had mentioned it for few times in the beginning. The intention of reading to him was to become articulate, this is the ultimate aim of Malcolm, that’s why I think it is important.

3. Comparing the vocabularies of “Idiot Nation” and “Learning to Read”, I came out with the result that, Moores had used relatively critical words and vigorous words to write the passage. The way he narrated was rather extreme, he used words such as ”idiots” and “stupidity” to insult the educational system in U.S.A. His tone was rather extreme and furious. He had even bolded some of the words in order to exaggerate his tone. In the other hand, Malcolm had used his own experience as the root of writing. The passage is to me more persuasive, since he had his own perspective and angles. Although the way Moores wrote could create a more remarkable impression, “Learning to Read” is more appealing to me since it doesn’t seem to strong and extreme.


4. Malcolm’s self-education in the prison assisted his later achievement on the society such as became a disciple of Elijah Muhammad and finding the Nation of Islam. The knowledge he had gained urged him to fight for right of the black.

5. B Bimbi was an inmate of Malcolm in the prison. He was always able to take over conversation. Malcolm was always envy of Bimbi’s stock of knowledge. Bimbi inspired Malcolm to read a lot of books in the prison in order to gain more knowledge. He said Malcolm should take advantage of the library in the prison and the time in the prison. At that point, Malcolm found out that he should improve his English by reading more books, so he started copying the dictionary. Bimbi had broadened the horizon of Malcolm’s. With his encouragement, Malcolm started to educate himself. Bimbi was a person whom Malcolm showed a lot of respect.

Malcolm showed his debut credit to Elijah Muhmmad, the leader of Nation of Oslam Malcolm (NOI) was a devoted disciple of Elijah Muhmmad. He assigned Malcolm as a minister and national spokesman for the NOI. He taught Malcolm a lot of political techniques and provided him a lot of chances to increase his authority. Without Elijah’s elevation, Malcolm could not be able to have such a big achievement on fighting for the rights of Africans. Although the relationship between them later broke down, Elijah still had a great influence on Malcolm, and was respected by Malcolm.

6. After doing handful researches on Fanny Kemble, Nat Turner, John Brown, Mahatma Gandhi and Frederick Olmsted, I have found a common fact of them. They are all fighting for rights. For Fanny Kemble, Nat Turner, John Brown and Mahatma Gandhi, the ultimate aim of them is most likely the same with Malcolm’s, which was slave revolt, they are all fighting for the rights of slaves. They insisted that, black race should have to same right as the white race. The white race should not have dominated the history. Fanny Kemble, John Brown and Frederick Olmsted were from the...
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