Essay on The Fire Next Time By James Baldwin

Essay on The Fire Next Time By James Baldwin

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In “The Fire Next Time,” James Baldwin, uses two essays not only to examine racism during a time when the civil rights movement was just emerging, but also to present readers with the consequences America’s intolerance of the black population. During Baldwin’s lifetime, racial injustices plagued America, and, for blacks, equality was merely an idea, not a reality. Despite the racism, Baldwin sees that America still has a chance to right its wrongs by learning to love and accept those of different races. If blacks and whites learn to accept each other, Baldwin believes that America will become stronger as a nation.
In the first part of the book, “My Dungeon Shook: Letter to my Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation,” Baldwin warns his nephew of the harsh reality he has been born into and will face throughout his life. The author tells his nephew that simply because of the boy 's dark complexion, white America will try to hold him back. Baldwin tells his nephew that not only had white America destroyed the boy 's father and grandfather, but that the racism and prejudice could ruin him as he works his way toward adulthood.
After all of these warnings, Baldwin offers this challenges to his nephew, “You must accept them and accept them with love.” (Baldwin, 8) This challenge requires Baldwins kin to love people who do not love him in order to help blacks one day earn the respect and acceptance of white America. The author believes that if his nephew accepts and loves white America and the challenges that racial inequalities bring him, that the young man has the ability to make a difference in the way America perceives blacks. If Baldwin 's nephew falls into the clutches of racism, and accepts that he is...


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...the leaders of the Nation of Islam suggested would continue to pull America apart. Because of the hatred Malcolm X and Elijah Muhammad preached, Baldwin decided that the Nation of Islam was built on principles no more morally correct than those of racist white America. Baldwin believed his concept of love and acceptance was a the true solution to America’s problems, and, just as he had done to Christianity, decided to reject the Nation of Islam.
Baldwin 's work was not meant to condemn whites for being racist, nor to stake a claim that blacks should be superior to whites. During his lifetime Baldwin saw a country weakened by an inability to unite as one. He wrote the book in order to share his experiences and knowledge of racism and to send a message to current and future Americans that they should practice love and acceptance in order to strengthen our nation.

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