“A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”
— Malcolm X
For the most part, in today’s world, everybody is treated equally. Everybody has equal rights, responsibilities, and freedoms. Now visualize a time where it wasn’t like that. You were judged, segregated, split, by and from others from the time you were born to the time you die. It wasn’t something you could choose either. You were born a colour, a gender, and you were treated according to who you were, what you looked like, what you believed in, etc. My eminent person is Malcolm X. He was born into a time like that, and he decided to change something.
Malcom X, whose birth name was Malcom Little, spoke for blacks. He spoke about and for a controversial topic in a controversial time when society was against him. I admire this about him. Having an opinion different from everybody else’s, even in a light conversation, can be intimidating. Now what he did, I can’t imagine how much determination, courage, and effort it took. To say something contrary to the way society has lived for hundreds of years. I’d like to think I have some degree of that courage of “free expression”. For example, I can go up to anyone and speak my mind; complimenting or giving honest opinions to random people isn’t just something anyone can do. Another trait I share with him is our frequent relocations in our childhoods. Although mine weren’t negative like his were, they have happened nine times since my birth. He often moved due to harassment from white supremacists and other groups. Even through all that he pushed through “by any means necessary”. This can symbolize a goal I have in TALONS, which is to try my best. However, I don’t mean to go to extremes as he did. Some barriers I might have to face is some of our differences. He was a very religious person and had lot of problems, addressing religious matters. His race, cultures, and ethnic background is also different than mine. The fact that he lived in America; I don’t think that will be a problem, but Canada might’ve been different than or like America in those times. I will have to look further into that.
Looking around in the world, we can see dark-skinned people getting along with lighter-skinned people. Colour of skin doesn’t matter as much anymore. Back in time, not long ago, it was different. Malcolm X was a major contributor to the change that was brought about. Not judging instantly and putting differences aside are hard for humans to do. So, the fact that Malcolm X was able to stand up and supress the human instinct is commendable. He talked all over the world, talking to the elderly and the young, more so the latter. He spoke in universities, churches, and different communities in North America, Africa, and Europe. During his time speaking and living in general, he was faces with a lot of obstacles. When he was six his father was run over by a streetcar. It was believed that it was done by racial groups. His family became irate which influenced him to act towards his goal. His goal changed constantly throughout his life, but an underlying base never did. He believed in equality for everyone, no matter their differences. At age thirteen, his mother was placed in mental institution. This put him into a series of changes of foster homes. As a child, Malcolm X did very well in school. Some might even have called him gifted. One day, when a teacher had asked him what he wanted to be, he said, lawyer. The teacher flat-out said to have a more realistic goal like a carpenter. Having been said no just because he was black caused him to drop out the next year. At age 20, he got arrested for larceny. He was sentenced to 10 years of prison. During that time, he read a lot of books from the prison library to make up for his lack of education. He then spoke out despite all negativity towards him. He was inspired by a lot of people close to him like his parents, his wife, and his teachers. The person he was most influenced by was Elijah Muhammad. Elijah Muhammad was the leader of the Nation of Islam which is a movement organization for and of African-Americans. Malcolm X joined the NOI, but I don’t know a lot of his involvement in it. I will have to research this further.
Although all his (and others who spoke up for racism) efforts, I still wonder why racism is still being addressed today. Sure, society has come a long way, but racial acts for and against still exist. Why do they exist if we have already put that behind us? That is something I want to investigate further into.