(The James Baldwin texts used for the motion picture by Raoul Peck)
This blog entry is written by a 13 year old, my son Melchior. I hope you enjoy the read and provide him with comments to accompany his reading adventure and encourage him to reflect further. Enjoy!
I have read the book “I am not your negro” and I found it extremely well written. This book also meant alot to me growing up in today's world as a coloured boy. I do see a lot of racism around me on the news and in books and reading about this topic made me very sad that so many young influential black people died so early. This book made me realise that in a way slavery was never really over. It also taught me a lot about James Baldwin and how amazing he is so I think we should talk more about him and study him in school. I strongly believe this book should be studied in schools.
One part of the book that struck me was when James Baldwin was describing the lives that average white rich families would live back in the 1960s, and there was a picture of a wife waiting for her husband to come back from work ; she was not sure what wine to get him. At the same time, black Americans were out there suffering, getting lynched.
Another part of the book that made me incredibly sad was photos of black girls finally going to school and people laughing and striking against them accessing an education. This made me sad because all the girls were trying to do was to learn.
One thing that Baldwin repeated a lot in the book was that he had no hate for white people and most black people did not have hate for white people, I found it incredible that after everything white people did to baldwin he still could not grow hateful. He watched his brothers die one after the other and still, no hate. Many people in today's world hold grudges for extremely long times and never forget and I was extremely influenced by James Baldwin's lesson of peace.
I also learnt that during this time there were too different approaches which were: Malcolm X's approach which was that the black communities should fight back and use violence if necessary, and Martin Luther King's which was to use peaceful methods to overcome oppression. Nowadays, in my opinion, people in power would often rather use war as a solution than peace therefore I think people should take an example from leaders like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.
Baldwin was in Paris and he saw oppression happening via the newspapers. He hopped on a plane back to America because he knew he had to do something to help his country. That is extremely courageous. I believe most people would not want to go back and might just watch the suffering unfold but Baldwin decided he needed to take action!
After reading this book Baldwin is now a thinker I look up to as a human being and an author. I read his fabulous book in two days and once I was holding it I could not drop it.
By Melchior Hughes, 13 years of age
20th of August 2019