How James Baldwin views the fear and love of racism

Essay by Anonymous UserA-, May 1996

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We always say 'Love conquers all' is commonly said and heard in our daily lives. Ironically, this is necessarily not true as James Baldwin views our society. He illustrates the stereotypes of both Blacks and Whites. In his argumentative autobiography, The Fire Next Time, the author brilliantly perceives the idea that love, instead of fear, liberates society. To truly 'liberate' society, one must discover his/her individual and personal identity by learning to love.

Baldwin describes 'fear' to be ignorance, and 'love' as knowledge. He joined the congressional church due to fear. He was afraid to become involved with his friends who began to drink and smoke. To avoid such situations, Baldwin was driven into the church because he 'supposed that God and safety were synonymous.' (16) Timidity blinded him to believe that following God's words shielded him from the evils of society. However, because of Baldwin's love for his church, he reads the Bible, only to realize that was strictly about the teachings of White people.

He thought that going to the church will protect him, and shield him against what he feared. Instead of freeing the community from discrimination between Blacks and Whites, the Bible supported the existence of racial barriers by teaching one should behave. Realizing the hypprocarcy involved with Christianity, the author broke away from the congressional church, to search his own way of liberating the society.

Baldwin emphasizes that liberation is love, and 'love is more important than color.' (71) The author states that fear creates the need for power. The Nation of Islam was fearful of the Whites dominating over the Blacks. Fear always dominated the minds of black people. This fear caused Elijah to strive for power to liberate the community. The Nation of Islam wanted absolute control of the White society. Baldwin was...