MBTI Type: ESTP
As a young man, Malcolm is all about setting and following sensory trends, and living a fast, hard life. He dyes his hair and straightens it to look more like a white man, picks up white women at bars for one night stands, and joins up with a group of gangsters, where he proceeds to “rip off” his boss, causing him to go on the run. He plans robberies, he pimps, he takes up con jobs on the side—and then he lands in jail, where he refuses to submit to authority and winds up in solitary confinement. Given time to introspect and find a new passion, Malcolm finds a larger purpose for his life (Ni) and attacks the civil rights movement with the same zeal, present-based-focus, and passion that he did his life of “meaninglessness.” He heads up a public movement that questions the establishment, he befriends powerful people, and he scares the powers that be. In his youth, he is careless, reckless, and hard-reasoning, questioning others and testing them, but also coming up with arguments against his “Bible upbringing” and the always-representation of Jesus as “a blue-eyed, blonde-haired white man.” Malcolm fiercely rejects anything that does not make logical sense to him, but is also sensing a community and tends toward fierce, objective opinions (he says slavery and the abuses waged on black women have made black men determined to “get their hands on the ultimate white man’s prize, a white woman”). He spends his time in jail reading and developing a stronger sense of factual reasoning, calming down his impulses, and becoming a thoughtful, deliberate, structured, and rational man who prefers guidelines. Though initially a supporter of Black Islam, Malcolm X continues to develop his ideas and beliefs over time, coming to question its radical racist basis in his belief that “all people of all colors” can actually live together in harmony. He develops his Fe into a more inclusive and less division-based mindset, but also expects others to share his views and uses his charisma to pass them on to others. He shows Ni in his desire to see a great future ahead of the black man, and to work toward that cause, though it took him awhile to find one due to his continual life of forward momentum.
Enneagram: cp 6w5 so/sp
Malcolm X displays many of the good and bad behaviors of a counter-phobic 6 – aggression, ruthless questioning of everything and the motives behind it, antagonizing of “superiors” and cheating his boss, which lands him on a hit list. He berates a pastor for spreading religious propaganda, but is also looking for something to believe in, that makes him feel safe, an external system that offers structure and meaning for his life – which initially, he finds in Black Islam. He adopts the rules, behaviors, and creeds of that faith and abandons his former fornication and misbehavior. But his 6 also causes him to then question and tear apart the inconsistencies and prejudices he sees in the leadership; finding faults in it, calling out priests for their behavior. This eventually leads to his assassination, because he had the courage to stand against something he once believed in but now felt was misguided and wrong. His 5 wing makes him trust his reasoning and withdraw from things in order to process them. When unhealthy, Malcolm is reckless and wants to intimidate other people, such as when he plays roulette with someone who wants to be “the boss of him” in order to see who has the courage to head up the gang (it’s doubtful whether the bullet was actually in the gun, but his bravado and excess won the argument).