Why did Malcolm X resort to violence?  

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mkoren eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Malcolm X is often associated with violence. However, that view is not entirely accurate. Malcolm X certainly had a more aggressive view regarding African-American civil rights than Martin Luther King, Jr. had. However, he wasn’t calling for a race war like the Black Panthers were suggesting.

Malcolm X was not pleased with white society. He was very critical of it. Malcolm X called for African-Americans to use self-defense when needed. He also believed African-Americans should live separately from whites. It is important to note that self-defense is not the same thing as using violence to achieve one’s goals. There could be violence associated with the use of self-defense, but that is different than using violence for the sake of using violence. Because Malcolm X criticized white society and called for racial separation, many white people viewed him as a troublemaker.

The interesting point about Malcolm X is that after taking a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, Malcolm X changed his views to some degree. He began to realize that African-Americans and whites could live and could work together based on how he saw different Muslim groups working together in Saudi Arabia. He stopped calling for racial separation. He also broke away from the Nation of Islam, something that eventually led to his assassination.

Malcolm X believed in self-defense and racial segregation. He changed his view later in his life and began to believe that the different races could work and could live together.

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