Using Richard Dyer's theories in The Matter of Images and White, critically analyze Malcolm X's 1963 interview at Berkeley. As a visual media piece how is Malcolm X’s self-presentation? Consider how his glasses, his suit, his calm, even manner of speaking all help to create a compelling character.

To analyze Malcolm X’s self-presentation in the 1963 Berkeley interview, think about how his look diverges from the presentation of Black people in The Birth of a Nation, which Richard Dyer discusses in The Matter of Images.

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To analyze Malcolm X’s self-presentation in the 1963 interview at Berkeley, think about how it relates to Richard Dyer’s analysis of D. W. Griffith’s film The Birth of a Nation. In his discussion of Griffith’s notoriously racist movie, Dyer notes how Griffith uses black face, ministerial affectations, and clothing to convey a derisive, contemptuous representation of Black people. Dyer concedes that the film's elements can lead to an interpretation of race as “performance and mask.”

Putting Dyer’s focus on race and performance in conversation with Malcolm X’s interview, it’s possible to posit that Malcolm X’s glasses, clothes, and manner challenge historically racist representations of Black people. With his style and disposition, Malcolm X could be creating alternate significations for Black people—ones that relate to respectability and not ridicule.

To put Malcolm X’s interview in conversation with Dyer’s book White, it might be best to set aside his appearance and focus on what he’s saying. In the interview, Malcolm X calls out white people. He comments on their halfhearted attempts at desegregation and the way in which their oppression of Black people is what provokes violence from Black people, and not the other way around.

Consider analyzing how Malcolm X’s presentation of white people disrupts the presentation of white people that Dyer discusses. Dyer talks about the unthinking power that white people possess. Whether they intend to or not, white people can effectively create and circulate self-serving images almost at will. When Malcolm X talks about white people in a negative light, he's possibly exposing cracks in this white representation apparatus.

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