Nearly all African-Americans carry within them white blood, usually the result of white rape. White slaveholders routinely sold mixed-race children—their own children—into slavery.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2017-03-03 19:18Z by Steven

Nearly all African-Americans carry within them white blood, usually the result of white rape. White slaveholders routinely sold mixed-race children—their own children—into slavery. [James] Baldwin knew the failure to acknowledge the melding of the black and white races that can be seen in nearly every African-American face, a melding that makes African-Americans literally the brothers and sisters of whites. African-Americans, Baldwin wrote, are the “bastard” children of white America. They constitute a peculiarly and uniquely American race.

Chris Hedges, “James Baldwin and the Meaning of Whiteness,” Common Dreams: Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community, February 20, 2017. http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/02/20/james-baldwin-and-meaning-whiteness.

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James Baldwin and the Meaning of Whiteness

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Social Justice, United States on 2017-02-24 00:42Z by Steven

James Baldwin and the Meaning of Whiteness

Common Dreams: Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community
2017-02-20

Chris Hedges


The work of James Baldwin, pictured here in 1969, is as relevant today as in his time. The essayist, novelist, poet and social critic died in 1987. (Photo: Allan Warren / Wikimedia Commons)

Raoul Peck’s “I Am Not Your Negro” is one of the finest documentaries I have ever seen—I would have stayed in the theater in New York to see the film again if the next showing had not been sold out. The newly released film powerfully illustrates, through James Baldwin’s prophetic work, that the insanity now gripping the United States is an inevitable consequence of white Americans’ steadfast failure to confront where they came from, who they are and the lies and myths they use to mask past and present crimes. Baldwin’s only equal as a 20th century essayist is George Orwell. If you have not read Baldwin you probably do not fully understand America. Especially now.

History “is not the past,” the film quotes Baldwin as saying. “History is the present. We carry our history with us. To think otherwise is criminal.”

The script is taken from Baldwin’s notes, essays, interviews and letters, with some of the words delivered in Baldwin’s voice from audio recordings and televised footage, some of them in readings by actor Samuel L. Jackson. But it is not, finally, the poetry and lyricism of Baldwin that make the film so moving. It is Peck’s understanding of the core of Baldwin’s message to the white race, a message that is vital to grasp as we struggle with an overt racist as president, mass incarceration, poverty gripping half the country and militarized police murdering unarmed black men and women in the streets of our cities.

Whiteness is a dangerous concept. It is not about skin color. It is not even about race. It is about the willful blindness used to justify white supremacy. It is about using moral rhetoric to defend exploitation, racism, mass murder, reigns of terror and the crimes of empire…

…Nearly all African-Americans carry within them white blood, usually the result of white rape. White slaveholders routinely sold mixed-race children—their own children—into slavery. Baldwin knew the failure to acknowledge the melding of the black and white races that can be seen in nearly every African-American face, a melding that makes African-Americans literally the brothers and sisters of whites. African-Americans, Baldwin wrote, are the “bastard” children of white America. They constitute a peculiarly and uniquely American race.

“The truth is this country does not know what to do with its black population,” he said. “Americans can’t face the fact that I am flesh of their flesh.”…

Read the entire article here.

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