The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
After reading Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, I was turned on to James Baldwin and specifically The Fire Next Time.
For very obvious reasons. Both are written the same way, deal with many of the same themes if not the same examples, and they're both written in a way that makes me feel like I'm the one it's written for. Gently, with love, consideration, and not a little wallop of anger against those who are perceived bad, but to the whole situation and how everyone deserves a small modicum of pity.
We are what we do, after all. We are as we are taught. It's up to all of us to think critically and don't ignore inconvenient facts.
In a lot of ways, this personal memoir-ish work of nonfiction is old-school. A lot of us have already internalized most of its teachings. But that shouldn't be so surprising... most of it is pretty universal and obvious. That's including the inherent anger.
A lot of us feel this way and it doesn't matter what your skin color is. The setup is just rotten.
The question is: where do we go from here?
I agree with Baldwin's sentiment: Understanding. It doesn't mean agreement, but it sure as hell means empathy.
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