Malcom X "My First Conk"

Topics: Black people, African American, White people Pages: 3 (930 words) Published: October 7, 2014
Through the years African Americans have been growing their roots in the United States. It wasn't too long ago that they weren't accepted as a part of society. Since then the gap between them and the Caucasian community has begun to close. As both populations blend together we start to think of them as one nation with more similarities than differences. What happens when one society bleeds out its culture more than the other? African Americans have increasingly opted to ditch their natural selves and instead take on the task of manipulating themselves in order to appeal to the white man’s idea of beauty. Rather than revolt against the insults thrown at blacks they seem to have adopted them as true. Why is it that instead of defending their natural kinks they cover them up with wigs or chemically alter them? Although some beauty practices are commonplace throughout most African American communities engaging in these activities is the equivalent of validating the notion that blacks aren’t good enough. Malcom X illustrates for us in his piece titled “My first Conk” how his first conking went. For those unfamiliar with the term conking is a procedure in which black males concoct a gel, using mainly household ingredients, then apply it to the hair in order to straighten it. The incorporation of lye in the gel is what causes the bearer to feel as though the scalp burns. Malcom was at first a devoted conker but through the years has come to regret his old habit. At first he explains how good the conk made him feel, later in his life he mentions that conking was his first step towards self-degradation. He calls out all those who have or still sport a conk and urges them to stop. He even goes as far as saying it makes blacks look foolish. He also concludes that hair unimportant and it’s a shame that so much time has already been wasted on this. A compelling story I stumbled upon tells the drastic measures some are willing to take in order to shed themselves of the...
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