Summary Of The Fire Next Time By James Baldwin

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In American society today, we often represent minority communities, especially the black community, as less than. While we pride ourselves and our country for being a place where we accept all people and give all people opportunities, so many people and races are under-represented and ostracized in society. The book The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, is written in two essays, “Letter to My Nephew on the One Hundredth Anniversary of Emancipation” and “Down At the Cross Letter from a Region in my Mind”. The Fire Next Time was published in 1963, in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. Baldwin writes about the relationship between black and white men, including the problems and ways to solve these problems. In his book, Baldwin really forces…show more content…
He also writes about how black people are represented by fear, this being the fear in the white man. In this text, Baldwin paints a clear picture of how black people are portrayed in American society. He does this by highlighting the different standards that black and white people are held to. He also includes his representation of black people that belong to the church. Additionally, he adds his representation of white people as unwilling to commit to helping these racial struggles.
In Baldwin’s second essay, “Down At the Cross Letter from a Region in my Mind”, Baldwin uses the different standards that black and white men are held to in order to highlight the representation of black men in America. Baldwin says, “In the United States, violence and heroism have been made synonymous except when it comes to blacks”(58). When Baldwin adds this, it shows the reader the stark contrast between the lives of black and white
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He portrays white people as spineless, saying that they aren’t willing to help because they don't have the same motivation and experiences that black people do. In The Fire Next Time Baldwin adds, “…white Americans are in nothing more deluded than in supposing that Negros could ever have imagined that white people would ‘give’ them anything. It is rare indeed that people give”(86). Baldwin is addressing the fact that people view giving others rights is the same thing as losing some of their own. They have this idea in their head that rights are like a pie, that there’s only a limited amount and they have to have the biggest slice. In addition to this Baldwin adds, “The subtle and deadly change of heart that might occur in you would be involved with the realization that a civilization is not destroyed by weird people; it is not necessarily that people be wicked but only that the be spineless”(56). Baldwin highlights the difference between white people being wicked and white people being spineless. Wicked is evil, however, Baldwin describes white people as being spineless, as having no backbone because they are afraid and have no willpower or motivation to help
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