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In the article “Growing up with poverty and violence: A North Lawndale teen’s story” by Daleen Glanten, a teen who is not named is in similar situations such as Malcolm is throughout his life as explained by Alex Haley in The Autobiography of Malcolm X. The teen lives in North Lawndale, Chicago with his great aunt Barbara. He lives in a poverty and violence stricken area where his life is at risk everyday. In one instance he was shot at on his way to school. He says “Auntie, somebody is shooting at me.” The distressed teen also adds “All the time, I was thinking, ‘I want to get home.’ Then I checked my body to see if I was wet (with blood) anywhere.” When Malcolm was only six years old his father was murdered by a group of men against his teachings, “Negroes in Lansing…streetcar to run over him”. The following connection I made between these two incidents is that the violence in the lives of these boys, cannot be controlled. For example the teen could not fix the issues with gang violence in his city, Glanten adds “The young man didn’t create the violent culture he lives in. He was born into it.” The teen was born when his mother was only 14 years old and he has never met his father. He was raised by his great grandmother and great aunt. Malcolm in a similar manner was born into cruelty. When his mother was pregnant with him, their family was terrorized by KKK members who were against Earl, Malcolm’s father’s teachings. In one occasion the KKK told the family to leave town “Surrounding the house, brandishing their shotguns…Marcus Garvey”. Malcolm could not change the views of the men who attacked his father, it was something completely out of anyone’s control.
When Malcolm grew up he committed armed robberies and was arrested, although the biggest issue was his involvement with white women “How, where, when had I met them? white man’s women”. The teen also had his share of jail time in 2015 “That year, he stole a car — twice, according to court records…from his candy sales, he said.” Not living in a stable household could have been what causes the negative outbreak in behavior from these young men. The teen did not live with his mother, or father and had to live with other family members, in a similar manner Malcolm lost his father at a young age and was separated from his mother who was sent into a mental institution, he had to live with a foster family and with his half sister Ella, and was surrounded by drugs, alcohol, prostitutes at a young age.
A final connection I have made between the two pieces of text are that both Malcolm and the teen longed to create a better life for themselves. Glanten explains the following “She insists that education…not the life she envisions for him.” Although the 15 year old has not completely decided on what he wants to do with his life, he knows that he wants a better life for himself and his future family, he says “’I think about being grown…the same environment I’m in. ” Malcolm in a likewise manner decided to turn his life around once he was in prison and become more educated “I saw the best thing I could do was get a hold of a dictionary- to study, to learn some words”.
In conclusion after analyzing both texts I believe that they both share the common subject of self improvement and how you are the only person that can change your life for the better. Malcolm states “In fact, once he is motivated… been at the bottom. I call myself the best example of that”. He tells the audience that you cannot change everything around you or the past, but you could strive and change yourself, Daleen Glanten adds “She insists that education is …neighborhood for decades.”
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