Initially, I was not very enthusiastic about the idea of writing a blog post and a response every week. It has always felt like forced conversation to me. Every Sunday I would dread the reminder for the blog post that I set on my phone, and wait till the last hour before I would finally sit down to write it. However, my view on the blog posts changed dramatically after I was preparing for my presentation.
I did not know what I should present on. My thoughts were quite scattered, and I needed to do something to streamline them, so that I could pick a topic. I went over my blog posts for Native Son and found that my posts for week 1 and 2 had a common thread – anger. This made it easy for me to find a topic that I could begin researching.
I feel that anger was an omnipresent thread for me in our readings for this semester. From Native Son, where Bigger is an angry character full of rage against the white people that have oppressed him and anyone else belonging to his race, to Baldwin’s conversation with Audre Lorde that generated anger within me for the way even marginalized men can treat or ignore women, anger was always there. After taking this class, I think my major takeaway has been that even anger can be expressed calmly. In The Dangerous Road Before Martin Luther King Baldwin is clearly angry about the situation that America is in, and how black people from his community have been treated. That is why he is so invested in King and the movement that King is leading. Yet, Baldwin’s essay barely mentions any hate, but talks about his love for the man that is doing his best to fight that very hate. Similarly, Audre Lorde, in her conversation with Baldwin, is angry at the ignorance of black men when it comes to black women. However, she responds to Baldwin’s ignorance calmly, without losing her temper.
I often hesitate to talk about things that make me angry. The class is called James Baldwin: From the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter. I have never spoken much with the people around me about Black Lives Matter, simply because it enrages me enough that I think I will not be able to get my point across. After this class, I hope to change that. I feel like I should be able to find a way to coherently express my anger with calm.