Homeboy by Malcolm X

940 WordsApr 28, 20134 Pages
Modes Essay: “Homeboy” by Malcolm X In “Homeboy”, Malcolm X, a prominent leader during the Civil Rights era, discusses discrimination within the black community itself through the use of thoughtful imagery, eloquent diction, and symbolism throughout the essay. As Malcolm X describes the racial prejudice currently within the black community in his new home, he uses imagery to accurately portray the glaring discrepancies between the “ghetto” blacks and the Hill “elite.” For example, when he describes the arrogance and misguided haughtiness the Hill elite possess, he states that “foreign diplomats could have modeled their conduct on the way the Negro postmen...acted, striding around…” (Malcolm X 196). This comparison shows how prideful…show more content…
It was a symbol of how white oppression had made blacks think that in order to be beautiful, in order to be handsome, they had to straighten and flatten their natural hair into something a white man or woman would appreciate. In doing so, the black community was simply pleasing those who wished to oppress them, while thinking that the pain, the burning flesh, everything, was worth it. The conk, to Malcolm X, represents “the emblem of [people’s] shame that [they are] black” (Malcolm X 208). It is the ultimate symbol of the loss of black self-identity. It portrays the willingness blacks have to throw away their heritage, and to embrace the hairstyle that represents self-degradation so wholly and eagerly. In the end, Malcolm X concludes that he, as a past conk-wearer himself, believes that any black man or woman who “gave the brains in their head just half as much attention as they do their hair, they would be a thousand times better off,” perfectly summing up his feelings of discrimination and self-hatred within the black community (Malcolm X 208). Without subjecting themselves to the indignity and pain of the conk, and focusing on what they have been naturally blessed with, they can truly become a better person in the process. In all, Malcolm X’s essay strives to showcase the rampant racial prejudice inside the black community through the use of imagery, forceful diction,

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