One of America’s most perceptive writers rejected the politics of division. He has much to teach us about race and injustice today.
This is a terrific essay and I am glad you wrote it. James Baldwin is one of the greatest American's who ever lived. Among other aspects, his life was a heroic struggle to show us by example how to challenge ourselves with deep and nuanced (and at times therfore tortured and painful) thinking about America, race and what it means to be American. I remember reading that NYT critique in the late nineties....at the time it seemed to me that the author was basically criticizing JB for being too complex what with all the inconsistances, contradictions moral imperfections and <gasp> emotion. If Baldwin appeared to be "trapped in suspension" I can see how that may be exactly how he felt as he spent his life pushing on a rope. And I'm so glad he did. His work is a treasure for us all.
Powerful - Sahil captures the essence of James Baldwin. A tortured soul who knew the fundamental powerful of love. For me this says it all - James Baldwin: “..... I know that what I am asking is impossible,” he wrote. “But in our time, as in every time, the impossible is the least that one can demand.” This is still so true today. In our polarized world, we need to channel James Baldwin's vision of the "impossible".