Liam's Reviews > The Fire Next Time

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
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M_50x66
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Apr 03, 12

Read from March 29 to April 01, 2012

"To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger. In this case, the danger, in the minds of most white Americans, is the loss of their identity. Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shining and all the stars aflame. You would be frightened because it is out of the order of nature. Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying becasuse it so profoundly attacks one's sense of one's own reality. Well, the balck man has functioned in the white man's world as a fixed star, as an immovable pillar: and as he moves out of his place, heaven and earth are shaken to their foundations." (8-9)

"We cannot be free until they are free." (10)

"[O]ne doesn't, in Harlem, long remain standing on any auction block." (28)

'Whether in private debate or in public, any attrmpt I made to explain how the Black Muslim movement came about, and how it has achieved such force, was met with a blankness that revealed the little connection that the liberals' attitudes have with their perceptions or their lives, or even their knowledge -- revealed, in fact, that they could deal with the Negro as a symbol or a victim but had no sense of him as a man." (57)

"One is responsible to life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return. One must negotiate this passage as nobly as possible, for the sake of those who are coming after us." (91)

"The tendency has really been, insofar as this was possible, to dismiss white people as the slightly mad victim of their own brainwashing. One watched the lives they led. One could not be fooled about that; one watched the things they did and the excuses that they gave themselves, and if a white man was really in trouble, deep trouble, it was to the Negro's door that he came. And one felt that if he had had the white man's worldly advantages, one would never have become as bewildered and as joyless and as thoughtlessly cruel as he." (101)

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