Analytical Essay on The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told by Alex Haley
African-American History, HIST 2450
In 1971, a psychologist by the name of William E. Cross, Jr, released his Black identity model. It's a model with the purpose of theoretically explains the process in which African Americans develop their cultural identity. There are five stages in which are the pre-encounter, encounter, immersion, internalization, and finally the internalization-commitment stage. In each stage there is something different that is developed to make someone certain that they are indeed in those stages. Using this psychology of “Blackness” this essay will assess the course of Malcolm X’s life and evolving view on questions of racial identity and justice through the lens of William E. Cross’s Nigresence Model using “The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told by Alex Haley”. I am a true believer that Malcolm went through each stage in his life. Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little to Louis and Earl little on May 19, 1925 in Omaha, Nebraska; His mother, Louis Norton Little, was a housewife that tended to the family's eight children. His father, Earl Little a reverend, a Baptist minister and a dedicated organizer for Marcus Garvey’s U.N.I.A. With this being said I believe that Malcolm X was born into the Pre-encounter Stage in which this stage Limited consciousness of self as “other.” Malcolm is Earl’s seventh and lightest-skinned child. He is the only son who escapes Earl’s beatings and gets to follow his father to UNIA meetings. Malcolm’s mother, Louise Little, is a fair-skinned, educated woman from the island of Grenada. She was conceived when her father, a white man raped her mother. I believe that although Malcolm had first sight on what was happening around him in his life, he didn’t get treated the same as others nor did he look like his other brothers and sisters. It was 1929, when the little moved to Lansing, Michigan, a white supremacist crowd burned down Malcolm families home that’s when Malcolm says that watching their home burn down taught him one of many early teaching about being black in America. Malcolm repeatedly notices that the success for blacks in Lansing for any type of income is to wait tables or clean shoes rather than working in an appreciated career and that the majority of black people are deprived and unemployed. I believe this is when he enters the second stage of black identifying which is Encounter. Encounter is the Impact of (usually negative) categozation is felt. When Malcolm also was six, white men who did not agree with his father Earl’s Black Nationalist work kill him. Malcolm’s father life insurance refuse to pay the family allegedly saying that Mr. Little’s death was due to suicide. During this time The Great Depression was in affect and forced Malcolm’s family to become members of the welfare society. After a few stolen goods here and there the welfare agents blame Malcolm’s mother in addition to calling her crazy and later splitting the kids up to go to live with different families. In 1937 Malcolm moves in with the Swerlins, a white foster family in Lansing. He thanks them for their generosity, but doesn’t feel too comfortable and doesn’t feel like a human being no he felt that he could be treated equally to those around him. Malcolm grows up quickly and racial barriers often frustrate him. He got very upset when people would call him “coon” and “nigger” on the basketball court. As Malcolm matures he gets a job washing dishes, and often visited his mother at the mental hospital, he also visits his brothers and sisters, who live in different cities. Although Malcolm and his siblings were split up they never lost contact. In 1940 Malcolm spent the summer in Boston, visiting his half-sister, Ella. She was a strong black woman with a deep sense of family loyalty. Frustrated by how he has been treated at school and at home, Malcolm decided to move to Boston in...
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