This isn’t a think piece. Neither is this a dissertation nor some kind of overdone academic analysis to make myself seem smarter than I am. What this is, is merely a more than a few words about a phenomenal documentary. James Baldwin’s I Am Not Your Negro is a must see film for EVERYBODY. As informed as I am about the Civil Rights movement and the leaders that faced adversity and ultimately sacrificed their lives for the greater good, Baldwin’s documentary presented the proper insight into the world of his era.
I only know of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., and Medgar Evers via stories told, old interviews, autobiographies, movies made by Spike Lee, Black History Month celebrations in Elementary school, and the most important source, my parents. All of these individuals were friends of Mr. Baldwin and Mr. Baldwin bore their stories well after their deaths. James was a cultural stenographer and used his voice to light the torches to see into the ugliness of America and we were made better because of that exposure. I Am Not Your Negro uses Baldwin’s fearless writing and imagery of the past and present to demonstrate that things haven’t changed that much. And with the current administration causing much distress, this film could’ve have come at more convenient time.
As much as I felt that the film was made for people like me, it needs to be seen by the world. I Am Not Your Negro seats you at the table to face one of America’s most devastating problems that spreads through generations like an inherited plague. For anyone that THINKS that race isn’t an issue or claims to “not see color”, this film is a reminder that ignorance isn’t bliss and the “see no evil hear no evil” mentality that many Americans have only worsens the conditions amongst the people. We shouldn’t run from race, after all it is as “american as cherry pie”.