Malcom X – Sigmund Freud – William James Comparison
Michael                         Malcolm Freud/James Theorist quiz           Malcolm Little, who became known as Malcolm X, one of the most influential leaders ever was born May 19, 1925 in Omaha Nebraska. His parents where Earl and Louise Little. Earl Little was a Baptist speaker but because of threats from the KKK the Little family was forced to move to Michigan. While in Michigan Earl Little was killed in a drag racing incident. The Little family was sure that Earl’s death was due a racist group called the Black Legion. Later on in life, Louise Little was dating a man who abruptly left her for no reason. This combined with the loss of her husband, Earl, caused her to go insane and she was checked into a hospital. Malcolm and his siblings were checked into foster homes. Malcolm grew up and started doing bad things such as drug dealing, robbery and pimping. In February of 1946 he was arrested and sentenced to 8-10 years in prison. While in prison Malcolm discovered the religion the Nation of Islam. Nation of Islam was a newly formed religion at the time that was lead by Elijah Muhammad. Malcolm reached out to Muhammad while in prison and Muhammad told Malcolm to basically to forget his past and give his life up to Allah, the single God of this religion, and start flowing the Nation of Islam. The Nation of Islam is a religion that tried to help spiritual, mental, social and economic conditions of African Americans in America and all over the world. This religion is a very radical towards the white population because of the past, involving slavery and racism. After parole, Malcolm met with Muhammad and became a minister. He started addressing himself as Malcolm X and he started to climb the ladder in terms of power in the status in the Church. He was the second most influential person in that religion other than Muhammad. From the time he joined the church in the early 1950’s to the early 1960’s, he is credited for a large increase in the religions population of the Nation of Islam.                 Now that there has been a back-story on Malcolm X, there can be interpretations on what theorists such as Sigmund Freud and William James would have thought about Malcolm’s transition to religion.         Sigmund Freud believed that religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world; religion is all in the mind and that it is basically a way for something to control people’s minds. Freud also believed almost everything had to do with the Oedipus Complex; the idea that we identify with our fathers, because they are bigger and stronger and we need them for protection, but at the same time we are jealous of them because of their relationship with our mother, and this jealousy makes us feel guilty. So Freud believed that religion is a way of having God be like our fathers; strong and protecting. He believed religion also creates guilt. In The Future of an Illusion, Freud basically talks about religion being an illusion people make up to make themselves feel better, to fulfill needs, overcome fear and make people feel like they have power over things in their lives.           How would Freud interpret the religious experiences and conversion of Malcolm X? Freud might say that it was the result of something that Malcolm originally wanted, a strong and protective father. Malcolm used the religion of the Nation of Islam and its God, Allah to protect himself while in prison and provide power over the white population that had influenced Malcolm’s life, the white hate group that killed his father and his teachers that didn’t believe in him because he was black. That all created bad memories in his head and when he was in prison he heard about the Nation of Islam and found about what they do and what they are and he used that religion to ease his mental pain. He used the religion to help black people, even if that meant hurting white people. Freud has said that the mind is the most powerful tool in the body to cure or make worse. So one could say that Malcolm had his mind take over and controlled what he physically did. Freud would say Malcolm’s father figure became the God Allah and Elijah Muhammad the leader of the Nation of Islam at the time. Freud may say Malcolm found this religion because of his need to feel safe and protected. Freud might even also say Malcolm felt guilt for not being “man enough” to actually step up and protect his mother and siblings after his father’s murder. He couldn’t become the “man” or “father figure ” and prevent his mother from breaking down. He might say that this guilt motivated Malcolm to use the Nation of Islam to motivate black people to fight against these same things. Freud could also maybe say Malcolm saw his own father as the Totem, in the Totem and Taboo.

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Sigmund Freud And James Theorist Quiz           Malcolm Little. (May 31, 2021). Retrieved from