James Baldwin: On that Race Conversation (from “Too Late, Too Late” published 1949 in Commentary) :
“The full story of white and black in the country is more vast and shattering than we would like to believe, and like an unhindered infection in the body, it has the power to make our whole organism sick.”
He doesn’t say that our organism is sick. He says that racism–especially in the black/white form, through an ignoring of it, has the power to make the whole organism sick. What is he saying? We are not ‘originally’ with racism. Race theory is constructed. It was constructed in times of colonial expansion and white dominance world-wide. It has gone unchecked, largely, and has included most of the world’s dominant along the ethnicity/gender/sexuality/religion/class formulations of nation-state and colonial patterns–making a form of ‘whiteness’ as a global phenomenon. It is not just a ‘white/black’ issue but that issue informs the various divisions that we make in different communities and cultures, always needing to be overcome. It has been established. The organism is ‘becoming’ sick–as James Baldwin says, as we ignore it more and more, wanting it to be locked away in prisons and mental institutions –which is an internalized racism, if you think of it. Difference cannot continue to live this way. As we see our world now, and reflect, we should understand the growing sickness. As we become more diverse, we need more weapons of peace, weapons of justice, not weapons DISGUISED as weapons of peace–which we have in the dominant imagination now. What will it take? James Baldwin has given us words to reflect on.
Activist/Writer James Baldwin speaking to us today.
For the full article where the above quote is from, visit TheLoop21 at:
He eloquently points to the path of deconstruction, thought, and re-imaginations that are necessary for us to re-think ourselves and create possibilities for healing, mourning, and creativity.