On the Dial | I Am Not Your Negro
Two weeks ago the Wexner Center for the Arts was the only theater in central Ohio to screen the new James Baldwin documentary, I Am Not Your Negro. The film was scheduled for showings Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. After each screening sold out, they added a screening on Sunday in the afternoon, and when that sold out, they added one in the early-evening. That screening sold out as well. It was an inspiring turn-out, and was especially powerful to see/hear Baldwin speak. The man was so eloquent, intelligent, and effective. He was able to take issues that feel at times insurmountable, and make them approachable on a personal and national scale simultaneously. (Meanwhile, our current political leaders cannot even speak a sentence without stumbling into nonsensical reproach.)
"Leaving aside the bloody catalogue of oppression which we are, in one way, too familiar with already. What this does to the subjugated is to destroy his sense of reality. This means, in the case of an American negro, born in that glittering republic. And the moment you were born, since you don't know any better, every stick and stone, every face is white, and since you have not seen a mirror, you suppose that you are too. It comes as a great shock around the age of 5 or 6 or 7 to discover that Gary Cooper killing off the Indians—when you were rooting for Gary Cooper—that the Indians were you! It comes as a great shock to discover the country which is your birthplace, and to which you owe your life and your identity, has not in its whole system of reality evolved any place for you."