Tuesday, January 26, 2021

We are Still Fighting the Race Battle: “The Fire is Upon Us”.

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(ThyBlackMan.com) There are too many people that would try to make black people in America feel the race argument is old. We are told by white Americans, and some POCs, that it is time to move on. There has been so much progress made in the area of race relations that talking about race is whining and pulling the race card. However, they are able to say such things because they don’t live with the reality, and fear, of the fallacy of their statements and thinking. There is not a constant push to prove one’s humanity…we can’t argue effectively about civil rights because the question of humanity has not been settled. Though some may disagree…they can chime in on it when America labels them Super Predators, and the issue of basic citizen rights are often debatable where they are concerned. When our people are murdered by those sworn to protect and serve, we must cringe knowing there may not be justice served us even if there is a conviction. There will be a compromise made somewhere that will remind us that we are citizens only in title but not right. The problem with forgetting history is we are still living it.

Debate Topic: “The American dream is at the expense of the American Negro”.

Nicholas Buccola’s “The Fire Is Upon Us” dissects the dynamic debate between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr. shows the reader what could be seen as the core of the race issue between black and white Americans. The depth of the opposition is complex yet simple, and two intellectual minds from two different parts of the country who are merely fifteen months apart, who group in two polarizing different Americas. Baldwin would see the American race problem as a moral ill in this country; Buckley would see a solution further restricting the rights of these people of which he struggles to see as human being let alone people deserving of the rights of a citizen. Though Baldwin and Buckley would debate each other on other platforms mentioned in this book…the text specifically looks at their initial debate February 18, 1965 in Cambridge, England. It is a debate that Baldwin would decisively win as he eloquently presents the complex problem surrounding the American dream and its relationship to black Americans. Buckley stood on the position that American ideals, which did not include full rights for the black American, needed to be safeguarded and protected. He saw Baldwin as one that perpetuated “Hate America” speech and felt the platform of the debate being in the UK was a stage by which America was being mocked.

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“From Baldwin’s point of view, Buckley’s moral failure was rooted in his unwillingness to see “the life, the aspirations, [and] the universal humanity hidden behind the dark skin.””

Buccola goes to length to show the dynamic differences in upbringing and environment that would give birth to the two men, that would rise to the forefront of their movement, colliding in Cambridge. Both would keep the same core arguments throughout their life. Unfortunately, it is a debate steeped in blood and disenfranchisement…a debate we are still having in this nation. The book shows Buckley as a representation of the conservative Elite that have gotten comfortable with the fact that “the price of power has been in a deal with the devil of white supremacy.” Baldwin is calling that price into question as a moral ill. The book is very well written and easy to follow. The author goes to great length to present, as evenly as possible, both sided the two men represent. There are many references, and notes in the back of the book, and a full transcript of the debate.

“The story of Baldwin and Buckley reminds us that moral righteousness is often not sufficient to gain political power. This is a sad truth, but it is a truth we ignore at our peril.”

This is a book I highly recommend all Americans read. The comparison allows us to see the argument of race in this country outside of merely self, and it allows us to acknowledge that the bate continues. We are not past the argument between these two scholars. One can only wonder if we will ever get to a place where we understand and address the moral ill of this country. Will it ever understand Baldwin primary argument?

“The Fire Upon Us” by Nicholas Buccola can be found on https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691181547/the-fire-is-upon-us, Amazon, and anywhere books are purchased.

Staff Writer; Christian Starr

May connect with this sister over at Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/christian.pierre.9809 and also Twitterhttp://twitter.com/MrzZeta.

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