Malcolm: Discussion Questions

Chapter One:

  1. Name some events in Malcolm early upbringing that harden the reality of his existence and pretty much shaped his persona for the rest of the book?
  2. Name a major influence for Malcolm’s ideas on “internationalism” and “Pan-Africanism”?

Chapter Two:

1. What specific aspects of the Nation of Islam, and of Elijah Muhammad, led to Malcolm’s split with them?

2. Compare Malcolm’s racial attitudes after his split with the Nation of Islam with that of the Black Muslims.

3. Based on Malcolm’s description of his own experiences, discuss the hustler’s relationship to white America.

4. Using your own knowledge of world history, what aspects of it affirm or contradict Malcolm’s depiction of the racist role of the West?

5. Discuss the influence of Malcolm’s father and mother upon his later life and ideas.

6. Discuss the difference between “segregation” and “separatism.”

7. Would you call Malcolm a racist? How would you defend your answer?

8. What aspects of ghetto life might lead a hustler to accept the idea that “the white man is the devil”?

9. Compare Malcolm’s approach to the racial problem with that of Martin Luther King, Jr.

10. Discuss “Yacub’s History” as a symbolic expression of racial attitudes.

11. Discuss Ella’s role in the various stages of Malcolm’s life.

12. Discuss the influence of Elijah Muhammad upon Malcolm.

13. How do the attitudes of Alex Haley, M. S. Handler, and Ossie