Preview

James Baldwin's 'a Talk to Teachers

Good Essays
Open Document
Open Document
441 Words
Grammar
Grammar
Plagiarism
Plagiarism
Writing
Writing
Score
Score
James Baldwin's 'a Talk to Teachers
Ian Crum
9/26/10
AP Junior English
Bi-Weekly Journal #1

Though no idea of how this relates to the audience, the teachers, comes to mind, this speech by James Baldwin gave me some ideals to contemplate. It recounted the horrors that the American “way of life” afflicted the African American populous. Furthermore, Baldwin connects the American “way of life” to how “it is the American white man who has long since lost his grip on reality.”(p.128) Truly, this is not a speech intended for school teachers, but an explanation of how racism forced children to believe the lies; the lies about their humanity. Baldwin ties many of America’s problems to the foundation of the thought of society itself. Societies, according to Baldwin, want only one thing, a citizenry who will follow that society’s rules. Once this is achieved, the civilization as a whole breaks down. His message in this speech is conflicting. The beginning explains that rule breakers are a necessity to the continuity of civilization. However, later in the speech, it is made clear that deviants will be crushed under a socially depriving hammer. Yet again he contradicts himself, saying that the oppressors follow the rules of their society. Then why is it that our social structure stands? If the majority of the social classes follow the rules, and following the rules leads to destruction, how is it that our socially inept, ignorant, intolerant civil classes manage to stay somewhat stable? Baldwin recounts his experiences in life as a poor black child. He connects the socially depriving factors of the ghetto inflicted upon the people by themselves as well as those put on by their oppressors. He appeals to the audience’s sense of logos through his explanation of how many blacks thought they deserved the treatment they received. Baldwin lists many of the racial stereotypes used against the blacks in the ghetto, appealing to the audience’s sense of pathos. Finally, his previous works of literature and his

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    The main subject was the definition and purpose of black literature. Some black writers and poets preferred to promote positive images of black people, while others preferred to expose the reality of how poor black people lived. Racial reconciliation was another subject. While some felt the black people’s expressive culture was separate of the white people’s culture, others felt the two were identical in kind.…

    • 700 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Being black and gay in the 1950s wasn’t the best thing you could be, being a black male 6 feet tall wasn’t either. James Baldwin and Brent Staples both suffered from discrimination in the 1950s. James Baldwin was an African-American writer who was discriminated in the public for being black, while Brent Staples was discriminated in the public because of how he looked and dressed. Brent Staples moved to Manhattan where was treated wrong. Staples was called different things during his time in New York. His appearance scared the public wherever he went. Many people started to worry he was going to rob them or even try to kill them. Staples tried to change the way he dressed and acted but the public still acted the same. James Baldwin’s situation was different, he was discriminated while going to a restaurant. The restaurant didn’t serve to black people, Baldwin then lost his temper and started saying bad comments about the place, “I do not know why, after a year of such rebuffs, I completely failed to anticipate his answer, which was, of course, “We don’t serve Negroes here.” This reply failed to discompose me, at least for the moment. I made some sardonic comments about the name of the diner and we walked out into the streets.”(Baldwin, pg.58).…

    • 599 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Journalist, Brent Staples, in his narrative essay, “Just Walk on By: Black Man and Public Space” narrates a series of events when he was growing up. Staples purpose is to tell personal stories in chronological order of how he was viewed by society. Other people convey the idea of a black man as a dangerous man in society. By the work of other people stereotypes. He adopts a fearful but apathetic tone in order to appeal to what he is feeling by applying a set of rhetorical devices in his narrative essay to his readers.…

    • 1405 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    James Baldwin introduces the reader to Jesse. Jesse is a white male living in the American South. He is the town deputy, who is working during a time where there is unrest in this rural town. Considering Jesse work’s for local law enforcement, he is quite the bigot. Being racist entails this is idea that one race is superior to another. In this instance it is the Southern white American male versus the African American culture and society. Since he is town deputy, he is supposed to serve and protect one’s rights. Although definitely does not protect everyone’s rights equally. After having quite the rough day at work he proceeds to tell his wife, Grace of the events that have unfolded. The sound of her mumbling begins his version of how this day has occurred. “Goddamn the niggers. The black stinking coons. You’d think they’d learn” (1750). Jesse grew up in a generation beforehand that was deeply racist. Part of understanding Jesse and how he becomes this racist is to understand his past. There was an event known as the Picnic. An African American body had been brutally massacred for pleasure of the white families of the area. According to Jesse’s memory, his…

    • 1586 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Better Essays

    1.) Based on what I’ve learned about James Baldwin, I’d say he’s an optimist. James Baldwin has such a positive outlook on life and makes decisions knowing the risk factors, and anticipates a positive outcome. Based on his experiences, he is largely aware of the battle with identity, the adversity of being black in America, yet he unquestionably writes to expose these things to establish a path for individuals knowing the controversy behind it all. Baldwin’s writings’ were brutally truthful as it entailed things that were recurring within the black community and he continued doing so because he was hopeful it would establish some kind of medium. James Baldwin went above and beyond, as a black, homosexual writer he went “outside” the box and…

    • 1065 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Through his manipulation of relationships and religious tensions throughout his novels, James Baldwin effectively highlights his belief that true relations and trust can only be realized through acceptance of difficulties and differences. Baldwin promises redemption and relief through acceptance of divine justice and admission of sins. At the same time, the suffering was caused by the sin and oppression of thought are the sources of the suffering (Welsh). In "Everybody’s Protest Novel,” Baldwin writes:…

    • 224 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    The injustice of racism and its evident role in some of Americas most prominent political and social aspects have perpetuated rigorous and squalor lifestyles for those of non-Caucasian ancestry. Jacqueline Moore clearly states evidence how white people have such a long history of being the dominant group and why it is so hard for blacks to assimilate. In the book the writer simply told us a story of 2 men’s journeys for racial uplift and wanted us to decide the theme for ourselves, telling both sides of the story in order to let us choose which of them we might agree with more. The author did a good job letting us know Washington and Du Bois’s goals. The style of the novel is interconnected with its themes. In the novel, not only does Moore convey the ideas and concepts of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Dubois, but Moore also illustrates the theories of which consists of gradualism and immediacy.…

    • 968 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    As a man of faith, James Baldwin led a life different from his beliefs. An openly gay black man, he became a spokesmen condemning discrimination of gays and the Civil Rights of blacks. Nevertheless, Baldwin 's attributes as a writer are undeniable. Even the confused of souls serve the purpose of design; spiritually speaking. Oddly enough Jimmy was the epitome, or at least a constant advocate, of universal love and brotherhood. Baldwin, in his lifetime, was able to effect a large population through his works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and plays. The eyes of not only Blacks but also Whites where wide open to the issues of the times thorough this man 's creative articulation and imagination, bring his life to the world. James Baldwin 's personal life, in some ways, are revealed in writings throw the promise of a transparent sexual utopia grounded in a healing unveiling of a serenely accepted identity. Whether in terms homophobic or racist, or anti-homophobic or anti-racist (rarely, though more often with the former than with the latter, do the poles of either of these oppositions come together), critics have dwelt on a transcendence defined as a coming to terms with one 's identity. This transcendence relies on the transparency of revelation in the text and the assertion of this transparency 's liberatory potential, regardless of whether or not such liberation is a term of approbation. Such a reading allows "race" and sexuality to disappear from critical view; more precisely, it allows critics to cast them as mere obstructions littering the path of a surpassing transcendence, usually cast in terms of art.…

    • 3872 Words
    • 16 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Lesson Before Dying Racism

    • 1030 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Throughout history and in literature, Black has always been portrayed as evil, whereas White has represented purity and light. These oversimplified stereotypes of something so abstract as skin color has plagued our culture with prejudice and hatred. Ernest E. Gaines, author of A Lesson Before Dying, tells the story of a young black boy named Jefferson who is set to die for essentially being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and a schoolteacher who is faced with the task of making him a “man”. The novel takes place in Bayonne, Louisiana in the 1940’s, a time when racism prospered. At this time in history people faced extreme prejudice based on the color of their skin. Though slavery had been abolished almost eighty years prior, the repercussions of the concept of an inferior race prevailed. Racism is arguable the biggest social issue in A Lesson Before Dying, and this racism holds down the Black people of Bayonne, and makes them believe that they are indeed inferior, and that nothing will change for them. Gaines portrays this racism through Grant’s struggles as a teacher, the way the judiciary system treats Jefferson and through the colored people of Bayonne’s daily lives.…

    • 1030 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    James Baldwin Essay

    • 399 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The first time I spoke was the first time I actually felt how close language could be. I grew up with Spanish and English in my mouth, tasting every word before I spit it out. Now that I am older, there are new languages and different types of it. It can vary from slang to the most professional type of verbal communication. By having these types of dialects, it can either benefit your lifestyle or make it worse. I agree with Baldwin’s theory that language is key to a person’s identity and it unravels the making of the person.…

    • 399 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    All The Bones

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The African-American heritage has become a very influential part of the American culture of present times. It has a long and troublesome history that leads to fulfilling their “American Dream”; a dream of hard work filled success. This hard work was introduced to the United States initially in the form of slavery. Stories of the trials, tribulations, and hardships of those indoctrinated into slavery can be educational for students of today on many levels.…

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In Baldwin’s story, there a several hidden messages, but there are two important quotes that reveals the relation between the characters. At the beginning of the story, any reader can pick on what it is the status of the relation…

    • 448 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    His upbringing in Harlem really gave Baldwin a harsh reality of all that he would have to deal with for the rest of his life. Baldwin 's writings were very influential and inspiring, allowing the reader to understand how unfortunate segregation was for so many people. Through his writings, James Baldwin got to experience life. He spoke out and debated about the Civil Rights Movement and tried to help homosexuals deal with the hardships. He stayed strong and fought through all the obstacles life threw at him. James Baldwin wanted justice, not sympathy. Baldwin is still studied today and will always be remembered for his…

    • 1466 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Jesse’s cruelty towards and hatred of black people is, to him, validated because of his view of them as “animals, they were no better than animals” (1751) that he has to “tame” and subjugate. His description of the lynched man’s skin as “black as an African jungle cat” (1759) suggests that he thinks of blackness as foreign and animal, and his view of the man’s body as a “most beautiful and terrible object” (1760) implies that he cannot even see him as a human being. Jesse’s focus on the black body reveals that he views black people not as people, but as flesh, as body parts that he is free to assert his own humanity over. Jesse truly seems to believe that he is morally right in his beliefs and actions, as he still conceives of himself as a “good man, a God-fearing man” (1750). By inhabiting the mind of a white racist, Baldwin attempts to construct some psychological explanation for the senseless brutality against black people at the hands of white people. He argues that the hypersexualization and objectification of black people not only allowed white people to claim and assert dominance, but also made it seem justified and acceptable in their minds. The narrator’s memories are also used to pinpoint the moment that his racism takes form. By tying Jesse’s current ideology to this joyous childhood memory of the lynching, Baldwin portrays racism as a product of…

    • 570 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    I was first very interested by this essay. Then I first read it, I did not agree with most of what he had to say. There a few points that Baldwin brings up, but I am filled with conflicting ideas. Unfortunately for me, the three questions to answer imply that you agree with Baldwin’s opinion. Therefore, in order to answer them honestly, I must confess my disagreements.…

    • 633 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays