“In this Trump moment, James Baldwin comes back
with tremendous power, potency, vitality and vibrancy, in part, because
he’s willing to speak the truth not just about the country in the
abstract but the truth about legacies of white supremacy, the truth
about indifference, the truth about callousness, the truth about the
spiritual blackout, which is the relative eclipse of integrity, honesty
and decency in public life in the country.
That’s true for Democrats,
true for Republicans, true for right-wing, true for left-wing. It cuts
across the board. But Baldwin is one of the few black intellectuals who
was the darling of a slice of liberal elites for a while, and then,
becomes demonized by them later on. That’s why you get the narrative of
“the early Baldwin” and “the later Baldwin” as this decline, you see.
Baldwin went his own way.
Poverty, wealth inequality… ‘All you have
to do is work hard. All you have to do is sacrifice, defer
ratification.’ No, there’s structures and institutions in place that
make it very difficult for people to have access to the things requisite
for that quest for the American Dream that people are still valorizing.
Baldwin is hitting it head-on… Baldwin’s challenge is more relevant now than it’s ever been… Neo-fascism is unfolding before our very eyes.” – Cornel West