The Ballot or the Bullet

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Malcolm X: His very name is a stab to the beliefs of the white supremacists of his time—"X" symbolizing "the rejection of ‘slave-names' and the absence of an inherited African name to take its place." Similarly, in his speech "The Ballot or the Bullet", Malcolm X denounces the actions of the white population, without any attempts to appeal to them; his approach to the civil rights issue is in complete opposition to the tactics of other civil rights leaders of his time, such as Martin Luther King, Jr. Rather than trying to integrate the black community into the white, he focuses on the complete separation of them: he doesn't want the blacks to integrate into the white hotels, he wants blacks to own the hotels. He believed that the black population had to break the psychological, cultural, economic, and political dependency on their oppressors. By using tactical phrasing of his sentences that connects to his audience emotionally, Malcolm X attacks the tendency of African-Americans to identify with White America, and insists they identify instead with Africans, their ancestors; thus, he promotes his purpose: to instill a feeling of self-respect and self-help in his fellow African-Americans, which in turn is the stepping stone to the liberation of the Black people. Malcolm X begins breaking down the bridge between Black and White America at the beginning of the speech, phrasing his sentences in such a way as to convince his audience of the fact that your place of residence does not determine who you are, and therefore blacks shouldn't identify with White America. Though blacks are considered "citizens" of the United States, Malcolm X asserts "Everything that came out of Europe, every blue-eyed thing, is already an American. As long as you and I have been over here, we aren't Americans yet." Malcolm X continuously refers back to the concept for the rest of his speech, stating that blacks are not Americans; rather, they are "just" Africans. He begins the...
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