'I Am Not Your Negro' Reflection

James Baldwin’s interpretation of American life in light of the turmoil surrounding civil rights comes at an advantage. Without disregarding the other important struggles of many Blacks, Baldwin’s absence in America allows him to view issues in a more global lens. In the recount of his time and the events surrounding this issue, Baldwin gives viewers every aspect he can of civil rights. Evers, King, and Malcolm X’s approaches to the issues provide various angles, giving a more well-rounded insight in which Baldwin accounts.

The undeniable history of America and Blacks has always been troublesome as well as costly. The lives that were lost paid the price that the nation refused to pay. When approaching this issue, Baldwin explores the various reasons that play into the mindset of American citizens, both Whites and Blacks. The embedded hatred of Blacks stemmed from slavery, but now that slavery is over, Baldwin raises the question of how this hatred is channeled. Baldwin calls out the underlying fear of American citizens. The fear of change, repentance, and Blacks rising to equality motivated many to behave in less than humane manners.

The power of media also fed into the fire. By incorrectly portraying Blacks, Whites often had misconstrued ideologies, and for Blacks, the lack of representation that were beneficial further isolated them in the land that was supposed to be their home. These disconnects in the lives of Blacks and Whites achieve the effect Baldwin defines as segregation. Both parties were separated by a wall while neither side desired to know or understand what was on the other side.

Baldwin’s refusal to host any type of hatred as well as fostering any collective group ideals, he was able to almost remain neutral while voicing facts and ideas that benefited the advancement of African Americans. While living in France, Baldwin’s lack of exposure to the disease running rampant in America, and his early childhood in northern America in NYC allowed Baldwin to avoid the natural hatred of Whites due to their unjust actions, while still identifying and moving with compassion to those that did. Baldwin’s understand of America’s problem was not a matter of How? But Why? Why were things still like this? Why is there little to no change? Why are our minds corrupted by this while the rest of the world seems to live peaceably? Through many literary works and eloquent spoken word, Baldwin, along with other key leaders in civil rights, began to scrape the surface to what we hope even today would be a solution to the American problem.