Monday, February 15, 2016

James Baldwin: The Conscience of the Civilized World

 Quotes from James Baldwin

The civilized have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their 'vital interests' are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death: these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the 'sanctity' of human life, or the 'conscience' of the civilized world.

If one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected - those, precisely, who need the law's protection most! - and listens to their testimony.

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

It comes as a great shock…to discover that the flag to which you have pledged allegiance…has not pledged allegiance to you. It comes as a great shock to see Gary Cooper killing off the Indians, and although you are rooting for Gary Cooper, that the Indians are you.

If the word integration means anything, this is what it means that we, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.

We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it.

- James A. Baldwin

No comments: