The Fire Next Time By James Baldwin Essay

The Fire Next Time By James Baldwin Essay

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In The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin depicts the relationship of African Americans to the United States-and the society on which it stands-in a way that reinforces this idea: Blackness is defined and problematized by the white society in order to define their identity. This is shown by the inhumane treatment of African Americans since their arrival in this country, the recurring label of criminal thrust upon Black people in their ongoing quest for civil rights, and the psychology of inferiority perpetuated among Black people in their dealings with whites.
Baldwin poses that Blackness determines your circumstances from birth. “This innocent country set you down in a ghetto in which, in fact, it intended that you should perish…. You were born where you were born and faced the future that you faced because you were black and for no other reason.” Birth into a Black body makes your problematization inevitable, as America has deemed Blackness as only that. The birth of a Black person into the condition of white racism declares his fate as a problem. “America’s problem is us. We’re her problem. The only reason she has a problem is she doesn’t want us here. And every time you look at yourself, be you a black, brown, red or yellow, a so-called Negro, you represent a person who poses such a serious problem for America because you’re not wanted.” The country acts as if Black people are a burden to bear on society, when it seems that Black people carry more woes from being in America than America does from having them here. To be an American Negro is to be a kidnapped pagan, sold like an animal and treated like one, who was once defined by the American Constitution as “three-fifths of a man” and had no real rights in comparison to whites. A...


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.... This purity is sustained through the denial of structural racism in the United States.
In conclusion, the relationship of African Americans to the United States, as depicted by James Baldwin in The Fire Next Time, shows the ways in which the white identity is dependent on the Black identity. The themes that are addressed in the novel, including the psychological effects of racism on Black people and the denial of white people to address the issue of race reinforce the idea that psychological inferiority, just like the white and Black identity, are creations that perpetuate a society that will benefit one group and work to the destroy the other. Without the moral consciousness and accountability of the rulers of America’s society, the relationship of African Americans to the United States will continue to be spiritually, psychologically, and physically oppressing.

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