The Importance Of Racism In James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time

780 Words 4 Pages
In a society where people are judged by the color of their skin, it is extremely challenging for African Americans to live without fear. In the first section of James Baldwin’s novel, The Fire Next Time, he writes to his nephew to warn him of the dangers of America’s racism. Baldwin’s desire for equality is expressed as he challenges his nephew to be a catalyst of change. Baldwin believes his nephew, along with other African Americans, can unite to “make America what America must become” (Baldwin 10). The author’s choice in using the word ‘must’ instead of ‘should’ further demonstrates his passion for equal rights. Baldwin truly believes this change is imperative to society and must be accomplished as soon as possible. The second section …show more content…
Baldwin has realized black children living in harsh communities like Harlem are raised much differently than white children. The parents of African Americans feel as though they must prepare their children for their predetermined fate; however, they cannot always hide the fear in their voice. “Behind [parents’] authority stands another, nameless and impersonal, infinitely harder to please, and bottomlessly cruel” (Baldwin 26). This higher authority is society and the people who believe blacks are inferior to whites. Baldwin specifically remembers a moment where he noticed fear in his father 's words. At that moment, he was unsure of the reason for his father’s fear; however, Baldwin later learns that his father was frightened when he realized Baldwin truly “believed he could do anything a white boy could do, and had every intention of proving it” (Baldwin 26). Unlike Baldwin, most African Americans react to their parents peculiar fear and follow the rules of society. This reaction and raising of black children are imperative elements in racial issue in society. Just as African Americans are raised to be different from whites, it is likely that white children are raised the same way against black children. How do people expect racism to be resolved if parents are teaching their children that the color of their skin matters? Through The Fire Next Time, Baldwin uses experiences in his own childhood to explain how the way parents …show more content…
It is obvious that white people hold the power in America, and blacks have been taught “to despise themselves from the moment their eyes open on the world. This world is white and they are black” (Baldwin 25). Because whites absorb the power in America, whites must be the ones to change their actions and beliefs initially. Baldwin believes white people must learn to love themselves before they can accept people of a different color (Baldwin 22). Once with people are able to accept each other, then they are one step closer to accepting African Americans and ending the racial issue completely. After acceptance, people need to learn how to embrace others instead of rejecting them. Love is what is important in America, and that is exactly what America is missing. If people listen to Baldwin’s stories and utilize his wisdom, then America will easily become a single country instead of a country of divided by black and

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