History Is Not The Past By James Baldwin

2045 WordsMar 8, 20179 Pages
James Baldwin once said: “History is not the past. History is the present. We carry our history with us. To think otherwise is criminal”. This quote stated by James Baldwin perfectly summarizes the many problems that people are acquainted within society. Throughout history, people are bunched up into groups where they are labeled certain things which carries on into today’s world. People are not viewed as individuals with the certain choice making abilities but rather subjected to being grouped by irrelevant factors into certain groups. By doing this, other people are able to take advantage of these people that are classified into groups by exploiting them for their own benefit. This is the unfortunate system which history has allowed to…show more content…
This change in racism is why both authors stress the need to understand the very specific brand of American racism as it changes throughout time. Looking backwards and forwards in time proves to be an integral method of displaying the concerns of history as it pertains to the future. The primary reason as to why racism is never-ending is because both races, black and white, generalize the other race, leading to a sense of illness. In other words, the white race tends to categorize the whole black race and vise versa instead of judging the individual within that race. This causes both races to be labeled things that they are not and lead to a substantial amount of tension between the two races. An example of this tension can be seen through Baldwin’s father’s experience with a white female teacher in which Baldwin was to be taken out by a white female teacher, all without the approval of his father. When the teacher decided to meet Baldwin’s father and discuss her plans with him, the father was put into a scary scenario. After the situation concluded, Baldwin acknowledged the following: “The fact that he did not dare caused me to despise him: I had no way of knowing that he was facing in that living room a wholly unprecedented and frightening situation” (591). Since the teacher is white and seen to be superior than Baldwin and his family, the father has no other option
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