James Baldwin, one of the most illustrious American writer, poet, orator, novelist, took on this debate in 1965 at Cambridge University.
Needless to say that he was quite the underdog as he debated William F. Buckley, the father of modern conservatism, before a very White audience.
“In the case of the American Negro, from the moment you are born every stick and stone, every face, is white. Since you have not yet seen a mirror, you suppose you are, too. It comes as a great shock around the age of 5, 6, or 7 to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance, along with everybody else, has not pledged allegiance to you. It comes as a great shock to see Gary Cooper killing off the Indians, and although you are rooting for Gary Cooper, that the Indians are you.”
If the score matters more than the issue, just know that James Baldwin won the debate 540 – 160, with the predominantly White audience agreeing that:
Yes, indeed, the American Dream IS being achieved at the expense of the American Negro.
Worth the watch!
Question I have in 2017: Is there such thing as the American Dream for anyone anymore?
James Baldwin is also at the center of a powerful documentary film entitled “I Am Not Your Negro” directed by Raoul Peck, a famous Haitian-American director. The film is based on Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript “Remember This House” and narrated by Samuel L. Jackson.
See trailer below.
Black History Month all year long. ✊🏿