I recently watched the movie, “I am not Your Negro”, a documentary based upon 30 pages of notes for a proposed novel that James Baldwin sent to his publisher about the lives of Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King and Malcom X. I do not recall a more powerful movie. James Baldwin directly asks, “Why do you need a nigger?” and suggests that white people live in a fantasy and maintain a standard of living that requires others to be subservient. And when they refuse to be subservient or stand up for themselves in any manner, they are faced with a rage and fear by white men that results in violence and death. He is surprised that African Americans have not been eliminated by genocide in the face of this fear by a morally bankrupt majority.
For me, it was like having a mirror held in front of me. It demanded that I not only take action, but that I enter into relationship with those that are in a more vulnerable place in our world. Not so that I can help them but so that I can face myself more clearly as a privileged white male and begin to take the steps to address the injustice necessary to support my standard of living.
If you have seen this movie, I invite your comments/reactions. If you have not I challenge you to do so.