“I Am Not Your Negro”
Leonard Pierce writes:
There is a moment, late in I am Not Your Negro, where the great writer and thinker James Baldwin is appearing on Dick Cavett’s talk show to discuss the one subject that consumed him like no other during his life: America’s compulsive reluctance to address the reality of its treatment of black citizens. As Baldwin holds forth on the subject, as eloquent and expressive as he ever was, Cavett interrupts him. Displaying the same maddening determination to show ‘both sides’ of a one-sided issue that still plagues our media today, Cavett, or some well-meaning producer, or perhaps a meddling network S&P man, decides to bring on a professor of philosophy from Yale to provide an entirely unnecessary counter-argument. Why, this ancient and learned Caucasian demands, must Baldwin always focus on issues of race? We are all human, and surely we love or loathe one another on specific aspects of our hearts and souls, not by the color of our skins. Why do you, he asks of the impudent Mr. Baldwin, insist on making it all about black and white?