The word “independence” in Africa and the word “integration” here are almost equally meaningless; that is, Europe has not yet left Africa, and black men here are not yet free. And both of these last statements are undeniable facts, related facts, containing the gravest implications for us all. The Negroes of this country may never be able to rise to power, but they are very well placed indeed to precipitate chaos and ring down the curtain on the American dream.
This has everything to do, of course, with the nature of that dream and with the fact that we Americans, of whatever color, do not dare examine it and are far from having made it a reality. There are too many things we do not wish to know about ourselves.
People are not, for example, terribly anxious to be equal (equal, after all, to what and to whom?) but they love the idea of being superior. And this human truth has an especially grinding force here, where identity is almost impossible to achieve and people are perpetually attempting to find their feet on the shifting sands of status. (Consider the history of labor in a country in which, spiritually speaking, there are no workers, only candidates for the hand of the boss’s daughter.) Furthermore, I have met only a very few people—and most of these were not Americans—who had any real desire to be free.
Fragmento de: Letter From a Region in My Mind
New Yorker – Noviembre de 1962
James Baldwin – 1924-1987
Escritor estadounidense, activista por los derechos civiles y uno de los primeros estudiosos de la interacción entre raza, sexualidad y clase.
Te recomendamos su debate de 1965 con William Buckley, accesible en Youtube, y el film de 1967 I am not your negro, realizado en base a su último libro, no finalizado: Remeber this house.