The Autobiography of Malcolm X Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Describe Malcolm's parents.

Malcolm's father is a freelance Baptist preacher who spreads the word of Marcus Garvey, a man who stresses the need of Negroes to become free of the white man. His mother, who is from the West Indies, is very light skinned; Malcolm inherits lighter skin from his mother and he realizes from a young age that his parents treat him differently as a result.

2. What does Malcolm learn about skin color from a young age?

Malcolm realizes from a young age that his parents treat him differently as a result of his light skin. At the time, parents almost instinctively treat lighter skinned children better because the notion that white is better has been brainwashed into their thinking. From a very young age, Malcolm learns how a person's skin color has a direct effect on how he or she is treated.

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