In Fifth Avenue, Uptown: A Letter From Harlem, Malcolm X describes the conscience and unconscious ways in which many African Americans reacted to oppression. In his early life he describes that many blacks that worked in the white neighborhoods came home to their children and tried to instill a sense of self pride despite the injustices they faced during their work day. He also describes that there are few minorities that make it out of the slums so many people believed that if one person of color could achieve success in the work force, then they all could. The fact was that there was so many more people that didn’t possess the will to do well and just because there were few examples of it does not justify the rise of only a few. Malcolm X points out that people would continuously remind him of how “wretched” white people were and that was supposed to console him as to why blacks were wretched as well.
Blacks that resided in Harlem’s ghetto’s were victim to unfair economic practices, for example he says, “go shopping one day in Harlem-for anything-and compare Harlem prices to and quality to those downtown.” (page 59) In Harlem they would keep the poor people poor, making it harder for them to make it out of the ghetto, whereas downtown the car insurance prices were cheaper for the people who could afford the expensive insurance. Another way in which they kept blacks in the projects was that they were to report their rise in earnings which would result in an increase of one’s rent. Alongside the fact that it was hard to make it out of the projects, they knew that whites felt as though blacks were worthy of residing anywhere else.
The police that patrolled the slums were an insult to the black community because they were a reminder that whites still held control, no matter where the blacks went. Many were victims of police brutality, which also led to a continuous ignorance and when a situation got worse they would only bring more police leading to no solution for either sides. The biggest point that Malcolm X makes that although many blacks migrated to the North, they would still end up living in the ghettos under suppression anyway. Many ignored the problems going on in the North because they looked at it as though, the South is worse off.