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James Baldwin's Stranger In The Village

925 words - 4 pages

James Baldwin's Stranger in the Village

In paragraph three of James Baldwin's 'Stranger in the Village' (1955), he alludes to emotions that are significant, dealing with conflicts that arise in the Swiss village. Of these emotions are two, astonishment and outrage, which represent the relevant feelings of Baldwin, an American black man. These two emotions, for Baldwin's ancestors, create arguments about the 'Negro' and their rights to be considered 'human beings' (Baldwin 131). Baldwin, an American Negro, feels undeniable rage toward the village because of the misconception of his complexion, a misconception that denies Baldwin human credibility and allows him to be perceived as a ...view middle of the document...

There is no intelligence and no forgiveness behind the outrage of a slave?s ancestor, which is what Baldwin refuses to let the reader forget.

Baldwin gives the impression that no white man has ever had to walk a mile in a black man?s shoes. While the Negro was getting shipped to America without a pot to piss in, the white man remained hiding behind beliefs in ?white supremacy? (Baldwin 133). The concept of white supremacy has separated two different races for years. For Americans, whose heritage came from Europe, acceptance of the Negro was not considered due to the ?jeopardy? it could cause among their status as men (Baldwin 133). Baldwin knows his rage must have limitations so he begins to question how this type of ignorance could have evolved. Baldwin tries to associate this stupid form of hate with the Swiss village but cannot because he feels that the villagers remain innocent by their ignorance to anything that does not affect them, in their village, directly.

In spite of Baldwin?s sympathetic response to the villagers, there is no sympathy toward the white man?s ideas of religion. I believe Baldwin feels that these religious villagers, who have preached about God for years, are simply hypocrites. How could these vague white supremacists believe in the same religion as Baldwin and his ancestors when the Negro supposedly used to be ?identified with the devil? (Baldwin 134)? So the suppressed Negro must feel that religion to the white man really holds no true value. The white man?s religion becomes hypocritical when he looks at a colored face and denies it as a brother or sister. Perhaps, if the white man?s religion was not hypocritical, Baldwin?s ancestors could have been spared lifetimes of pain and...

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