The Autobiography of Malcolm X

by: Malcolm X & Alex Haley

Chapters Three & Four

Malcolm uses his relationship with Sophia to escape the racial victimization of his youth by becoming a perpetrator of racism himself. Though Malcolm strongly criticizes the hypocrisy of his black neighbors, his relationship with Sophia makes him hypocritical in much the same way that his neighbors are. Malcolm’s role reversal is an attempt to steal back the power that is earlier robbed from him in Michigan, where he is treated more like a pet than a human being. Although Malcolm has a serious romantic interest in his quiet black girlfriend, Laura, he leaves her for Sophia, an attractive white woman for whom he feels no love, in order to look good in front of his friends and acquaintances around Boston. Disrespecting Sophia’s humanity is a way for Malcolm to enact revenge for the wrongs that white people have committed against him. His willingness to sacrifice his wholesome interest in Laura for his unwholesome abuse of Sophia represents the immaturity of his early attempts to combat racism.


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