Black Power of Malcolm X

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The importance of this research paper is to compare and contrast the two speeches made by Malcolm X. The speaker, Malcolm X, constructs himself as a member of the movement. Malcolm X wanted equality among the two races, negroes and caucasians. In the history of the United States, we have had many years of segregation due to race. Unfortunately, we even see race issues in today’s world. For a long time our country has experienced racism and this has caused ethnic groups to be suppressed and forced to deal with unequal opportunity, as well as poverty. Malcolm X is an example of an African American man who worked hard to unite people to promote the advancement of colored people and change. He not only fought for his own people, but other oppressed races also. Malcolm X was well spoken and laid the groundwork for the black power movement in the late 1960’s. The analysis of these two speeches has helped to change the lives of negroes and other oppressed races in that Malcolm X brought attention to the issues his people were facing back in the 1960’s, such as low employment, and poor treatment in general by the white people.The speaker’s treatment of the themes I chose to analyze I find beneficial to achieving social change because I believe all people are created equal, regardless of sex or race.

In the speech `Message to Grassroots,’ Malcolm X is rallying up his people, the black people in America, to put unite together against the American racist and defend themselves so that they may be able to form a black nation. An example of this is when he states “forget our differences and come together,’’ which included putting their religions and conflicts aside. He also calls the black people ‘the same family’, and that they must defend their own people to show a united front against the oppressive white man. When in Bandung back in 1954, this was the first unity of the black people, due to the white man/men not allowed to to attend the Bandung conference. He claimed that the white people were not apart of ‘the family’ and that whites were the ‘enemy to all.’ Malcolm X’s use of the first person helps to engage the listener and grab their attention, therefore his language is quite clever in that it captures the audience and has a profound effect on them. Each of the listeners of his speech feel included and that the speech is directly for them. Malcolm X’s opinions were highly regarded by his people, therefore his opinions were true in their minds. He was a very persuasive speaker in that this speech really did not use facts, but emotions to tug on the heartstrings of his fellow followers regarding the Civil Rights Act. This speech focuses around justice for blacks and not allowing religion to stand in the way. During this time, black people were not as educated as white people and Malcolm X was well aware of this when speaking to his people. Malcolm X uses many language devices and rhetorical devices to engage the reader. His use of alliteration, emotive language, list, rhetorical questions, repetition, short sentences, opinions, and first person style of writing helps to engage the reader and make his speech very effective. My own personal judgment of the speech is that it was very effective in advancing the goals of the social movement, by motivating the people to realize that they need to stand up to the oppressive racists and that they are just as good as a people as any other race regardless of what others think of them. I also feel that the speech was problematic in that it also included violence and Malcolm X believed it was okay to be violent by encouraging the black people to have a real revolution, due to the nature of our country being violent overseas. Malcolm X also believed that if a Negroes master’s house caught fire, that the Negro would work harder than his master in order to put the fire out. He goes on to state that the white man is a wolf and black people are the sheep.

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In the speech “The Ballot or the Bullet,’’ Malcolm X addresses his people about equality and how congress was dragging its feet, so to speak, when it came to passing the Cithat. Malcolm X states that he is a Muslim and that his religion is Islam, but states that religion is his personal business, between him and God. Malcolm X felt that religion should stay private and not get in the way of solidarity. Malcolm X talks about `black nationalism’ and how to develop a healthy black community and not whites and relies on black membership in order to find a stable economic society for blacks. Black Nationalism means that the black man should control the politics, as well as the politicians of his own community. Malcolm X called Black Nationalism a self-help philosophy and claimed that the black man could be atheist, be in a civic organization, or be God fearing and still be able to take black nationalism as his/her philosophy. Malcolm goes on to explain how important nationalism is and how other people in other countries brought about independence through nationalism. Malcolm states that black people have become disillusioned due to false promises and lies from the white man for far too long. Malcolm explains that the government at that time is white supremists, racists, who disguise themselves as Dixiecrats. Malcolm wants his people to wake up and realize that they have been “hood-winked’’ by the government and white man. Malcolm does not trust the white man and he wants his people to understand why. Malcolm X wants to let whites know that ‘this doesn’t have to be a bloody revolution if the black man has his country and everything else that is due to him, everything.’ Malcolm believes ‘Uncle Sam’ is a crook and a hypocrite and that Uncle Sam has blood on his hands. Malcolm brings up Billy Graham and how he preaches white nationalism and how the black people need to do the same thing, except they will be preaching black nationalism. “It will be the ballot or it’ll be the bullet. It’ll be liberty or it’ll be death.’’ Malcolm explains that if his people are not willing to pay the price, they should not use the word ‘freedom’ in their vocabulary. He goes on to say he wants black to become politically mature and not buy into politicians that do not have the black person’s interests in mind. Malcolm wants black people to be able to control their own economic wealth. For example, have them spend their own money in the communities where they live, and stop giving money to Whites who own stores because then the blacks are simply making the White men richer. The speech goes on to say that White liberals and the government have failed the Black community and that Blacks need to turn to each other and support each other. The Black people need to open their own stores and develop businesses that can them employ other Blacks. Malcolm does not want Black people to have to go to their oppressors for jobs. Malcolm thinks that the Blacks have not experienced ‘The American Dream’, as the Whites have, and Blacks have not benefited from America’s democracy. Malcolm states that Blacks must vote as a unified group in order to get their people elected. In my opinion, this speech was effective in advancing the goals of this social movement in that it was trying to enlighten Blacks that equality and ‘The American Dream’ can be attained by all regardless of color. Malcolm was motivating his people to unify together and make some serious changes so they were not oppressed by other races and could live the life that all people should be able to attain. Malcolm wanted every man to be equal regardless of race and wanted his people to be given the freedom that others had in order to give them better lives.

My analysis of both speeches is significant because it shows how far Black people have come from the 1960’s to secure equal rights. Malcolm X fought hard for his people to stand up and take control of their lives and not allow other races to oppress them like in the past. We have learned that we are stronger together and self-esteem is a huge part of who we are as a people. His people took action, and did not allow others to order them around or suppress them. Malcolm X turned his race around by letting them know that they are just as good as anyone else and they can also attain ‘The American Dream’, which encompasses owning their own businesses, land, freedom, justice, equality, and running their own lives. We have benefited by this in that I believe there is more peace racially now than there ever was in the past. Of course, we are still dealing with racial issues, but not like we did in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I do not agree with all of Malcolm X’s ideas, such as turning to violence and saying to his people that is okay because America goes to other countries and turns violent on them. Malcolm X believed that no revolution is non-bloody, but explained that in America revolutions can be non-bloody, as America is in a position to get into a non-bloody revolution. This is much different from the revolutions of the Chinese, French, Cuban revolutions which were nothing but bloodshed. However, Malcolm X did have a lot of positives for his people and wanted the Blacks to see that they can be in control and stand up for themselves. I also think we have all benefited from this social movement in that there is much more peace and harmony now between races than there ever was years ago. I also believe we will keep striving to teach our children not to hate and to embrace others that do not look or sound like themselves. In today’s world, we are more of a melting pot than we ever have been, especially here in the United States. In our schools, we strive for equality, respect and understanding more than ever when it comes to our differences as people. Social divisions are not as deep as they were back in the 1960’s, so therefore, I think we have come a long way to overcoming hate and allowing acceptance. I am not saying there is no room for improvement, but it could be a lot worse racially then it is. Racism is taught, not inherited or instinct. It is important to teach the ones that will at one time rule this country that learning to work with others and accept others is the only way we will survive as a nation.

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Black Power of Malcolm X. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from
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