Sample Essay on the White Privilege as Depicted by the Movie Malcolm X

Over the years being black has been a challenge in some states due to the racial discrimination against the white. One of the tools that would be expected to fight the racism in America is the regulations that the government but this was not the case. The Jim Crows regulations on segregation were evident that the vice was not about to end. The rules on the type of bathrooms, parks, schools, hospitals were clear and the black and the white people knew that they could not mix. The white people had the privilege of accessing the best social amenities that the blacks were denied. Their privilege is also evident in the way they were given the mandate to come up with the rules that were observed by all the citizens, including the blacks.

In view of Karl Marx, the society is not a perfect state and there are various divisions that occur that define the people according to their social and economic classes. There are also the oppressors and the oppressed such as the white and the black respectively. He suggests that in most cases, the oppressors do not see the need to fight for their rights because they do not realize that they are being oppressed. This was the case with the blacks and it explains the reason that they agreed to the Jim Crows rules at first but they later rose against it. The white privilege is also evident in the way the white were able to manipulate the law to suit their needs. The demonstration by the blacks in Birmingham led to the arrest of the black people who were against the racism.

The evils associated with racism have not been addressed adequately and people may never learn about the evils that the black people went through. Most of the texts in the libraries about the past occurrences contain good history of philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato but a few texts mention the atrocities that were committed against the blacks (Mills 6). According to the racial contract concept proposed by Mill, this is a form of white privilege where the wrongs done against the blacks are ignored and the whites are praised as good leaders. In his view, the aim of the white people in the United States is to maintain their supremacy by avoiding addressing issues of racism.

In most of the historic texts, one finds that the whites are depicted as the people who brought civilization to various parts of the world such as Africa. While part of this may be true, the factors such as how slave trades impacted their wealth as well as their oppressive rules against the Africans (Mills 29). The whites are mostly depicted as good leaders who advocate for human rights and equality. This is contrary to the reality going by the experiences that the black people had in the slavery era. The same argument is supported by the concept of systematic racism that shapes the ideologies of the people towards the different races (Feagin 2). The blacks have been mistreated in the past and the issue is still doing to continue if the systematic racism does not end.

The popular scholars in the United States have covered the history of the nation widely but they do not touch on the issues of racism against the blacks (Feagin 26). The reality is not well documented owing to this systematic racism. In cases where the people such as analysts have to give their opinion about racism, they use the past tense to imply that the same actions do not happen in the modern society (Feagin 26). The reality of the racism is discussed by James Cone as he cites the harsh world that the black people had to endure. Remembering the sufferings that they went through is difficult for them as they fail to understand how they got out of the misery (Cone 5). The value of the lives of the blacks was considered the same as that of cows and other material possessions that the white people owned (Cone 6). Lynching of the black people by the white was a common occurrence but most scholars have chosen to ignore this for the sake of white privilege. The blacks faced all forms of harsh treatment from the whites ranging from physical to emotional abuse.

There are various ways that the people can learn about the past apart from reading historical books. The use of movies to pass various messages to the society has been on the increase in the modern days. One of the movies that deal with the racism issue is Malcolm X as it shows some of the realities that happened in the past. The main character, Malcolm, is a victim of lynching of the blacks by the whites as he watched his family home burn into ashes having been set on fire by the whites. His father, a minister was murdered by the same white people and his mother was unable to raise him thus gave him up to a foster home.

Despite his brilliance in class, his white teachers always tried to put him down by telling him that he should aim for careers that suit the blacks better; those that required manual work. The racial segregation in the society is well depicted in the movie when the main character is arrested for burglary and associating with white girls. He is sentenced to one year in prison for burglary but had to serve seven years for associating with the white girls. The movie is appropriate for both the white and the black races because it does not condemn the whites for their actions but it helps one understand the evils of racism.

However, at the end of the movie, the blacks are depicted as a hero through the main character but this is an indirect way of showing the white privilege. It implies that eventually the whites turned from being bad to good. It gives an impression that the blacks were able to fight racism and it ended. However, this is not the case as the same continues in the modern world.  The impact of systematic racism is evident in the society as the issue of racism is not addressed publicly. The white privilege is still in the society and the race can be said to get more credit than it deserves. Although the experiences such as lynching are not evident in the modern era, there is still a notion among the majority people that the whites are superior to the blacks.


Works Cited

Cone, James H. The Cross and the Lynching Tree. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2011. Print.

Feagin, Joe R. Systemic Racism: A Theory of Oppression. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.

Mills, Charles W. The Racial Contract. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1997. Print.