Video Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures & Magnet
By: Shawn D. Allison III
Releasing"White people do not care about anyone's humanity but their own." If I were a student in college writing a paper on social justice or injust-us, that statement would most likely be my thesis. As someone who was reared in the arts throughout life, the mind, spirit and rhetorical bravery of James Baldwin had never come across my person. Matter of fact, I have never even seen a physical copy of his literature which is to many, probably akin to a Black Shakespeare set to a verbose rhythm of Miles Davis' effervescent and necessary hornblowing capabilities. Duly noted, I have much reading to catch up on and this beautiful Black wordsmith has reignited a thirst for knowledge and awareness within my soul. In part, I feel ashamed for not indulging in his work earlier in my life. But as a writer, I do feel Baldwin is a necessary catalyst for my talents---especially on creating penned opinion of the Chocolate experience.
The film "I Am Not Your Negro" helped me solidify the notion that we must stop begging and pleading for white acceptance. How can we feel like upstanding men and women when the weight of their dominance pins us down only to react with a wide-toothed grin and to still cast them as the sole (or soul) hope for good fortune and success? I often think of the first wave of the Civic Rights Movement and ask myself, "If I lived during that era with the energy I have now, which path would I choose?" This film also helped me to understand just how prophetic Baldwin was---it was like exacted foreshadowing, broken down to a compound. Baldwin, to me, comes off as this bold recluse. Reserved and pertinent but unapologetically precise, poignant and prolific. Race is like a mirror that no one wants to gaze into--probably white folk more than anyone else. And with all of our imperfections in tow, if we are cracked just as being humans, then why should we fret when our reflection is shattered into several pieces? I'm under the notion that God doesn't like our ugly. Instead, He loves it. But we truly need to recontextualize and redefine what it means to be human. I for one am tired of all the constant Black versus White bickering. But I do understand that I cannot be passive, silent or obsequious when addressing these and other social-natured entities. We must be vigilant in our quest for freedom.
Shawn D. Allison is a self-professed "Cultural Connoisseur. Renaissance Man. A Cool, Calm, Collected, Chocolate Clown." He is a contributing Writer/Blogger at Radio Rehab and Curator/Contributing Writer at Pride Magazine