James Baldwin on the idea that he should trust the hearts of white people.
By Lisa Wade, PhD
In the clip above, James Baldwin powerfully explains why he, as a black man, has no reason to assume that white people care about him and his people.
Responding to Dick Cavett, he says, “I don’t know what most white people in this country feel, but I can only conclude what they feel from the state of their institutions.”
He goes on to present a devastating list of ways in which American institutions are segregated and biased. He concludes:
Now, this is the evidence. You want me to make an act of faith — risking myself, my wife, my woman, my sister, my children — on some idealization which you assure me exists in America, which I have never seen.
Hat tip to Tim Wise.
If I didn’t already love him enough.