The act of conking, which physically forces black hair to resemble white hair, is representative of the way that black people attempt to imitate white society.
“I know self-hatred first hand,” claims Malcolm after describing in grim detail the process of straightening his own nappy hair with a powerful lye solution.
Like the drinking and gambling in the ghetto and the pride and delusion of Roxbury Hill, Malcolm views the conk as yet another tactic blacks use to distract themselves from the real problems of their exploitation at the hands of white society.
Malcolm sees blacks, unwilling to accept their true appearance, doing themselves physical harm in order to make their hair fit a white ideal of beauty.
Malcolm soon dumps Laura and begins to date Sophia.
He contrasts the unadventurous dancing done in Michigan with the expressive dancing that goes on at the Boston parties.
By dating an attractive white woman who is not a prostitute, Malcolm becomes something of a celebrity at nightclubs and bars. Looking back, Malcolm blames himself for ruining Laura’s life.
This section shows how Malcolm’s strong criticism of prejudice within the black community develops early in his life.
Malcolm hates the middle-class atmosphere, but one patron named Laura, a studious high school student, stands out from the others.
Once his friendship with her develops, Malcolm confesses to Laura his old dream of becoming a lawyer, which she encourages.