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Support for this podcast comes from Marguerite Casey Foundation. They believe in leaders who shift the balance of power in their communities toward working people and families and have a vision to build a truly representative economy. Shifting power, powering freedom.

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Learn more about the foundation at WW w dot.

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Casey grants dog high code switchers. Cherine here. If you listen to the show a lot, one of the things you hear me say a lot is it's complicated.

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And that's because the stories we tell have a lot of nuance. They're messy and challenging and they force us to think in different ways. Way too often, stories about people of color strip all that nuance out and they just flatten us. The Code Switch team works hard to give these stories the dimensions and complexity that they deserve. And one of the reasons we're able to tell stories like this is because of support from our listeners.

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First of all, thank you for listening. And if you're hearing the kinds of stories and perspectives we bring on Code Switch has been meaningful to you, I'm asking you to support your local public radio station.

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Your donation makes programs like this and all the other podcasts you love possible. You can do that by going to donate that NPR dot org slash code switch. Donate Unpeg Code Switch. Thank you. This is Code Switch from NPR. It's me, Shereen, and a couple of weeks ago on the show, we traveled virtually around the country talking to independent PEOC run bookstores about what books they think might have gotten overlooked this year. One of those books was Begin Again, James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own Begin Again was written by Eddie Glaude.

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And on our episode, Aneka Asamoah Caesar, who owns Foltyn Books in Tulsa, Oklahoma, told us the now popular genre we're calling antiracist reading for white liberals will begin again. Is not that this is a book that I feel like was written for me as a black person who is walking through this experience right now in twenty twenty, I feel like the writing was more directed in a way where it didn't feel like this was for the education of white folks.

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But this is for the folks who are experiencing it and living it every day.

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Our friends at NPR's Throughline podcast spoke with Biggin against author Eddie Glaude about James Baldwin and his legacy. So today we're turning the show over to them. And just a heads up, this episode you're about to hear contains some strong language.

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Until the moment comes, when we, the Americans, we, the American people are able to accept the fact that I have to accept, for example, that my ancestors were white and black.

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That on that continent, we are trying to forge a new identity which we need each other until this moment, there is the only hope for the American dream because the people who are denied participation in it by their very presence will recognize that happiness is a very grave moment for the West Bank.

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Hey, I'm running on the fact that I'm Roentgen AWG and on this episode of Throughline from NPR, The Shadow of James Baldwin. For months, you may have noticed a quote making the rounds on social media. It goes Not everything that his face can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. Those words are written by James Baldwin, whose voice you heard at the top in an essay for The New York Times published in 1962. For many people, it rings as true today as it did then.

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The words have a power and clarity that seem to cut through time and space. It also shows how ideas reemerge and times when they seem most needed. And actually that's something we talk about a lot. When we develop episodes, historical figures and their ideas, they inspire us, challenge our assumptions and sometimes push us to ask questions we might not otherwise have asked. So what we're going to do is bring you with us into the conversations we have with historians and writers about historical figures and their philosophies.

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It's going to be a new occasional series, an experiment where we're going to trip into the history of an idea or a person that's urgent and vital to understanding our world. And what better way to start than to look at the philosophy of James Baldwin, a writer who used the power of his words to confront in order to connect something we can relate to today? Baldwin was an insightful commentator on black identity, American democracy and racism. He saw something deep and ugly and stubborn in American culture, and he never hesitated to call it by its name to bear witness, regardless of what it cost him.

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Baldwin was a black man. He was gay, and he was active. From the 1940s to his death in 1987, he still considered one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. His story is amazing, but that isn't what we're going to focus on in this episode. We're going to meet someone who spent his career diving into the meaning and purpose of James Baldwin's work, of his ideas, someone who can help us see the world through his eyes so that maybe, just maybe, we can gather a little more strength to face the things that must be changed in ourselves and our culture.

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Hello, my name is Lemongrass, I'm calling from Charlotte, North Carolina, and you're listening to Throughline from NPR with Sound after Pastor and from Team Atterbury. Keep up the great work, guys. Support for this podcast and the following message come from Marguerite Casey Foundation, creating greater freedom for change makers to create a truly representative economy. Marguerite Casey Foundation believes working people and their families should have the power to shape our institutions, our democracy and our economy.

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Shifting power, powering freedom. Learn more about the foundation at WWE.

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Casey grants dog and connect with the foundation on Twitter at Casey Grants and on Facebook.

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20-20 had a lot of us rethinking our lives. 2021 Life Kid wants to help you make those changes, whether they're big or small. All this January Life Kit will give you smart tips to think through your next decision. Listen now to the Life Kid podcast from NPR. Part one, confronting the lie. I started reading Baldwin seriously in graduate school. I fell in love with the sound of his voice, the power of his pen, his courage, the way he queered politics, how he inhabited his own Miss Fittedness, the way in which he balanced his rage and love.

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This is Eddie Glaude, the chair of the Department of African-American Studies at Princeton. And I'm the author of Begin Again James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own in Twenty Eighteen.

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Eddie was starting to write that book about Baldwin, but he was struggling. So he went to Heidelberg, Germany, on a fellowship to try and figure it out.

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I have been thinking I was going to write this intellectual biography of Baldwin and I was having all of this trouble. The archives weren't aren't yielding what I hope they would yield. I'm in Heidelberg and I experienced this horrible thing.

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He just arrived at the train station when he saw something disturbingly familiar. Here's how he describes it in his book.

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As we entered the station, I heard screaming. People in front of us stood still and stared at some kind of commotion. I followed their eyes. Four policemen were piled on. A black man. One officer had his knee in the man's back. The others twisted his arms. His pants were halfway down his legs. His bare ass was exposed. The police pressed his head down into the concrete as if they were trying to leave the imprint of a leash there.

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With each attempt to cuff him, the man let out a blood curdling scream. All eyes were on him as the crowd stood by and watched intently like spectators at a soccer game without any real attachment to the team's plane. I watched them as they watched the police and the black men. Their faces revealed nothing. They were inscrutable, at least to me. I had not been in Heidelberg for two hours, and police had a black man's face pressed down on the concrete with a knee in his back.

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The intensity of that scene snapped things into focus for Eddie. He wasn't going to write an intellectual history of James Baldwin as he had originally planned. He was going to try and write with Baldwin to try to put him in a deeper, more philosophical context and understand what his work offers us in our world. He went back to his room and the words just started pouring out. And to do it, he had to call back to when he started reading James Baldwin more than 30 years earlier.

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And I knew that when I started reading him in graduate school that he was going to help me deal with my own trauma as my own voice, my own pains. And I didn't have a philosophical language for that yet. He would, in effect, open me up and that I would have to deal with the fact and it is a disturbing fact in some ways that I am and remain a vulnerable little boy. But in order for me to say anything substantive about the world, I would have to confront that vulnerable little boy, you know.

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So just establish who was James Baldwin? He's this child of Harlem, not Sugar Hill, Harlem, but the ghetto of Harlem, born in August of nineteen twenty four, who had stories dancing around in his head, who was misfit it and the like, but whose mind was was unbounded by by circumstance and its environment. Yet he had to fight and work desperately to hold off with the world, set about him and all of its ugliness. And he killed himself into becoming one of America's most amazing and accomplished writers.

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I think he's this mixture of Henry James, Malcolm X and Freud. You know, this you know, this is his writing demands a kind of deep sea dive. He believes in the Socratic dictum that the unexamined life is not worth living.

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Before we can say anything, you know, about the world we inhabit, we need to say something about ourselves because the messiness of the world is actually a reflection of the messiness of our interior lives. So there's a kind of demand for self-examination. That's part of the dilemma of being an American Negro. One is a little bit colored, but white, and not only in terms of physical changes in the head and the heart and their days. One of them, when you wonder.

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What your role is in this country and what your future is in it. To my mind, he is perhaps the most insightful critic of American democracy and race we've ever produced. I'm terrified at the moral apathy, the death of the act, which is happening in my country. These people. Themselves for so long, they really don't think it, and this means that they have become themselves more monsters. In the book, you kind of refer to this notion that there's a kind of lie at the center of America's self-image and it's something that comes out in your voice and also in the kind of Baldwin's observations.

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What is that like and what how does it apply today? Yeah, so the lie is what I call the value gap, and that is the belief that white people matter more than others and that belief evidences itself and our dispositions are our habits, our practices, our social and political and economic arrangements, and they're protected by the lies we tell ourselves. Baldwin in 1964 wrote an essay entitled The White Problem, and he has this wonderful passage is so poignant where he and I'm paraphrasing here, where he says, you know, the founders of the country had a fatal flaw.

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They said that they were Christian. They say that they were founding the nation on these principles. But yet they they had chattel, they had us. And in order to justify the role that these chattel played in their lives, they had to basically say that these men and women were not human beings, because if they weren't human beings and no crime had been committed, then here's the line. That lie is the basis of our present trouble. And so we tell ourselves this story that we're the redeemer nation, that we're the shining city on the hill, as Ronald Reagan said.

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And we tell ourselves we're the example of democracy achieved as if we didn't do what we did in Haiti, as if we didn't do what we did in Cuba or what we did in Puerto Rico. We did in Hiroshima what we did in Nagasaki. Right. So we do all of that to protect our innocence. So Baldwin is insisting we have to confront the messiness of who we are, are ghastly failures in order to release ourselves into being otherwise. And that at the personal level also must happen at the societal level.

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So we have to tell the truth about who we are and what we've done. But the lies get in the way. You know, those lies that, as you say, we tell ourselves personally and socially, like as a society, we tell ourselves on the one hand, it's that sort of self-preservation reflex that we have on both that sort of micro macro level. And it just makes me think, you know, there's a certain vulnerability that it takes to own up to a lie and to look it straight in the eye and say this is not the truth.

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Yeah. And so in some ways, you know, that process of confrontation that you yourself, it seems, had to had to go through just to to tackle this subject is also sort of a process of confrontation that Baldwin was saying the country needed to experience. Yeah, you know, its confrontation is also a sign of maturity. You know, where we've grown into the resources requisite to do it honestly. He has this line, and I'm paraphrasing again, is that, you know, the trouble we're in is deeper than we thought because the troubles in us.

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You know, you so right to say that we have to confront it, it requires, you know, being willing to be vulnerable. There is this personal, very systemic tension in Baldwin's writings in that he deeply reflects on the personal impacts that America as a country has had on individual people in terms of what it does to their self-confidence. And and that actually brings me to one of the quotes from your book that really, really stuck with me. I want to really I want to read it real quick for you, if that's OK.

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Sure. America and its racist assumptions had indelibly shaped who Baldwin was, but he insisted we are not the mere product of social forces. Each of us has a say in who we take ourselves to be no matter what America said about him as a black person, Baldwin argued he had the last word about who he was as a human being and as a black man. Just as we must examine our individual experiences and the terrors that shape how we come and see ourselves together as a country, we must do the same.

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The two are bound together.

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What I do, what I love is while it is while it's deeply personal, it's very much examining the systemic of the broader responsibility of the country, of its government, of its policies. Today, there seems to be a real tension between those things for from for many people with with the popularity of a book like Robin D'Angelo, Dwight Fragility, where there is this very direct pointing at individuals around individual kind of responsibility. What what do you what do you think Baldwin would have made of that tension today?

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Well, you know, so one of the one of the most powerful things about Baldwin is that he goes to the interior not to stay there, but as the launching pad to to go outward. So the interior is is the basis for moving to a broader form of social criticism. Some people will move from social criticism to the interior. And you end up with this kind of narcissistic kind of account where it's just simply about the individual and their and their own pain and suffering.

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Right. For Jimmy, that individual pain as early as reading notes, you know, notes of a native son where you end with him at the funeral of his stepfather with the birth of his youngest sister and him leaving to get ready to go to Paris and of course, the riots in New York. So there's a way in which the autobiographical is the kind of point of entry to the broader social context. I think that's really important in our own because we live in a moment that's so driven by our own individual brands.

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You know, our social media platforms are micro reality shows that it's very difficult for us to move outside of our own selves into a broader understanding of our relation, genuine relationship with others. You know, what would he make of something like white fragility? You know, what would he make of something like how to be an anti-racist look? Those sorts of books have their place. But but we're talking about something deeper. Jim, what do you see deep in the recesses of your own mind as the future of our nation?

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Well, I'm glad I'm sorry you asked me that question. I'll do our best to answer it. I can't be a pessimist because I'm alive. To be a pessimist means that you have agreed that human life is an epidemic, that. When Jimmy says choose life, don't wallow in the illusion, don't settle for safety. That's not about a how to manual, that's not about a corporate strategy for dealing with difference in your midst. That is to choose life is a deeper, existential question about who you take yourself to be.

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But the artist, no matter how he is, by definition, a religious man, believing that we can create and transcend all our God, that is entirely up to us the work of human beings to make the world more human. We travel and we move around the surfaces because we're afraid of what's in the dark cellar. We don't want to look the terror squarely in the face. But, you know, America's like Never Neverland. You know, we all want to be lost boys and girls, but we don't want to be responsible or accountable.

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We'd rather be safe and secure in our innocence.

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One of the things which most afflicts this country is that white people don't know who they are, where they come from, and that's why you think I'm a problem. I am not the problem your history is. And as long as you pretend you don't know your history, you're going to be the prisoner of it.

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And, you know, it's that moment in Baldwin's to find next time where he says people either don't know or they don't want to admit, in effect, what's happened to thousands and thousands of their countrymen. And he said you can't be innocent.

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In the face of that, the innocence is the cry when, quote unquote, white people talk about progress to black people. All they are saying and all they can possibly mean by the word progress is how quickly and how thoroughly I become white. I don't want to become white. I want to grow up. And so should you. So America's not unique in its sense, we may be unique in the efficient way in which we deny them. When we come back, James Baldwin refuses to take the bribe and pays a heavy price.

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This is surely memories from Mesquite, Texas, and you're listening to three lines from NPR. At Planet Money, we are also grappling with what's going on in the world. We just don't know and you're still going to have to decide.

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So we call up economists like Emily Oster.

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It's like we're fighting the pandemic by having a bake sale or something. I mean, all due respect to bake sales, I listen and subscribe to Planet Money from NPR.

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Part two, the bribe during the 1960s, different groups emerged in the Movement for Black Liberation and Civil Rights. There was the Nonviolent Direct Action wing of the movement headed by groups like SNEEK, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and people like Martin Luther King and John Lewis.

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And then there was the more radical wing often called the Black Power Movement, with groups like the Black Panthers who vowed to defend themselves and their communities with arms if necessary. They were painted as extremist and dangerous by much of the mainstream media. And James Baldwin, who was a well-known figure by this point, kind of had a choice to make clearly pick a side or potentially lose support from the mainstream. Sometimes you got to sing off key to be heard.

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You know, when everyone was turning their backs on black power, Baldwin didn't and he knew the cost. He should have won a Nobel a long time. He knew the cost if we were Irish, if he were Jewish Poles, if we had, in fact, in your mind, a frame of reference, our heroes be your heroes to not to be heroes for you instead of a threat, Malcolm X might still be alive. He turned his back on the New York intellectuals, all of those white writers, the chattering classes of New York that gave him the platform that projected him out.

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He turned his back on them. But, you know, when the Israelis pick up guns or the Poles, the Irish or any white man in the world says, give me liberty or give me death. The entire white world applauds when a black man says exactly the same thing. Word for word is judged to be criminal and treated like one, and everything possible is done to make an example of this bad nigger so they won't be any more like him.

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When he told those young college students at Howard University in nineteen sixty three, if you promise your elder brother that you will never believe what the world is saying about what he says about you, I promise you that I will never betray you. And even when they questioned his manhood, his sexuality, right. His dedication to black folk, he never betrayed them. That doesn't mean he wasn't critical. He understood from whence these young folk came. And he was trying to tell a story about how they how their eyes darkened, how these once holy fools risked everything to transform the country in the bowels of the south as they organize nonviolently these same children who are now screaming black power and burning cities down.

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He said, no, no, these children are ours. We produce them. So what does it mean to do that in this moment? It's so I'm sorry I'm getting so emotional, you know, I guess passionate about it because we're constantly faced with taking the bribe. To me, he could have taken the bribe. And what is the bribe, the bribe is your silence, the bribe is, you know, just pursue your craft and make your money.

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The bribe is to adjust yourself to injustice. And then in the context of the world in which we inhabit that bribe involves the deformation of attention. So we don't so we start producing work that doesn't capture folks attention, it actually becomes a part of this white noise that. That leaves folks eyes blank, right? It's not doesn't force them to do much. I'm sorry.

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No, no, don't apologize. I mean, there's something in that emotion that you're expressing, just the literal feelings that are bubbling up that like come through in so many of Baldwin's writings. Right.

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Like he he had so much emotion packed into what he was saying because of the things he was seeing. Right. And now he was angry. And I wonder what you make of the what you make of that anger and how it related to the the country's anger. I mean, was he channeling it?

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You know, in an interview in 1968 in Esquire, the reporters asking him, how do we get black people to cool it? He says it's not for them to get it's not for us to cool it. But aren't you dying? You know, but aren't you the ones dying and he responds, No, we're just the ones dying the fastest. And the reporter didn't quite get what he was saying. We tend to think of the black power movement and the civil rights movement as if they were wholly separate, as if the people who inhabited black power, who advocated for black power weren't at some point risking their lives just a few years earlier engaged in nonviolent protest in Selma.

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Stokely Carmichael was one of the most brilliant, nonviolent organizers in the movement. What happened to. John Lewis wasn't just simply this man who risked everything on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. He was the chairperson of SNEEK from 1963 to 1966. But these movements are continue as they they're linked. The rage, the anger. If you want angry, what the hell was wrong with you? So I think for me, he gives me license to be rageful and then he says, if you're not rageful, then what is wrong?

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What is wrong? This we have to go through this fire to get to the other side. There's no going around. Throughout the book, just to follow up on that, there is this feeling that while he holds that rage, as you just said, he's also capable of simultaneously understanding that the white citizens of the United States who are responsible for the state of play a major role and responsible for the state of racism in the system in America.

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He also holds a deep love and a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood for those people. And do you think part of the reason he was able to do that so well beyond just his ability to write and think was that he was a witness and not necessarily a participant in the sense that he wasn't an activist. He intentionally chose to be a witness, to bear witness, to document in a lot of ways what he was seeing. What does that tell us about kind of where, you know, many of us sit?

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And do you think that was what really enabled him to kind of really be able to balance those heavy emotions?

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You know, I don't know, to be honest with you in it. There is a sense in which, you know, Baldwin is the poet and the Emersonian sense of. Baldwin never gave up on the fundamental sexuality of human being. We're oh, sacred. And then that line where he says, you know, I want us to do something unprecedented, and that is to create itself without the need for enemies. Oh my Lord, every time. I mean, that's just I just love that line.

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So part of what he's saying, I know I'm going around in circles. He's saying that what white supremacy does, it not only causes all of this hell for me and how I have to raise my children and live my life, it is literally deforming and disfiguring the character of the people who embrace it. Your character is fundamentally affected by all of this. Can't you see? I think that you and I might learn a great deal from each other if you can overcome the curtain, my color, this country's mine too.

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I paid as much forward as you write means that you are European still and black means I'm African. We both know we've both been here too long. You can't go back to Ireland or Poland or England. And I can go back to Africa. We will live here together or we'll die here together. It is not. I am telling you, time is telling you. You will listen or you will perish. And what he's warning us is not to fall into the trap, because if it disfigures them, if we buy into his logic, it will disfigure us.

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We can't release the trap. But we can't we also can't fall into this stuff, sentimentality. But anyway. Off to. What James Baldwin can teach us about dealing with our loneliness when we come back. Hey, what's up with you taking William, calling from Zurich, Switzerland, and you're looking through like an NBA. This message comes from NPR Sponsor, a diversity fund diversity fund offers the everyday investor an opportunity to build a diversified portfolio to protect against market volatility in traditional stocks and bonds.

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With the diversity fund growth rate, you can hedge against market uncertainty with alternative investing like commercial real estate assets. Start investing with the diversity fund at DIY IRS. Why few indie dotcoms NPR? Part three, the elsewheres. Throughout his life, James Baldwin felt the solitude of being an outsider, he was a nomad, spending many years living abroad in France and other parts of Europe, and whether it was because of the color of his skin, his sexuality, or his fiercely independent thinking, he could never escape being alone.

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And the more successful he became as a writer, the more the loneliness followed him. You know, the first thing I would say is that fame as a motherfucker.

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You know, but I chose the photo, the image for the for the cover precisely for this reason, it is it comes from Sa'adat because haunting and beautiful short film from another place. And he's sitting in an old tea house in Bebek in Istanbul. And in the film, he's surrounded by people, but his eyes betray the company. He's looking elsewhere. He's in a fragile place in that moment in his life, even though he's in the company of others.

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Loneliness is his companion because he has to get his work done. But I also say that we have to find our elsewheres. There's been we have to retreat to some of the country, but we certainly have to find communities of love, people, you know, who allow us to laugh for belly laughs, to rage, to be quirky, to be ourselves without cost, that people who hold us to account, we have to find the way to create the distance from the status quo so that we can develop resources to say no to the bride as it comes to us over and over again.

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So we avoid not necessarily the existential condition of loneliness, our persay, because it is. How can I say this, what I've chosen to do with my life is by definition, by definition, requires solitude. It requires a kind of loneliness, especially when people want you to sing in the chorus and you think what they're singing is wrong. I experienced that over from 2008 to 2016 with the Obama administration. But that's another story. Um, but finally, tell us more.

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We know in democracy and black, I was I was really critical of the Obama administration. I wanted him to do more. And people were many people were delighted to get invitations to the White House and. They were delighted by the symbolism of a black president and I was more distraught by what was happening to black communities, and so I wrote a book called him A Confidence Man in the Line of Melville. I'm still I'm still not living that well down along with some other things I wrote.

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But if you're going to speak the truth. If you're going to bear witness and make the suffering real, you're going to risk loneliness. But in the midst of it all, you have to find a community of love. That will love you to death no matter your faults. Who will give you the space to replenish so that you can join the fight again? You know what I love about the way that your. That you're talking about, James Baldwin is.

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Or Jimmy, you referred to him as Jimmy a few times, is this sense of intimacy? I feel listening to you talk about him that that you almost know him. I mean, do you feel that I mean, he has his words resonate so much today as you as you're as you're repeating them back to us. I mean, do you feel that he is his message and his ideas? You know. Apply just as much today as they did then.

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Oh, yeah, he got to the heart of the matter. You know, I call him Jimmy because his closest friends call him Jimmy, and even though I never got to know him, I feel like. You know, he walks with me. He has been constantly present. I mean, I could talk about images floating by from the side of my eye when I'm writing or when someone would show up in the middle of of a lull and give me an interview that would suddenly take me in a different direction or, you know, a mistake.

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Being caught is like he was editing the book as I was writing it.

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It was it was while not all that to say is that that's my personal journey. But, um, because he's the most it's like reading de Tocqueville on American democracy. You got wow. This man really got us when you read Jimmi on American democracy and race is like that. Cats, even people got us. He understood. He understands the contradiction at the heart of the country. What is it you want me to reconcile myself to? I was born here almost 60 years ago.

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I'm not going to live another 60 years, you always told me it takes time. It's taking my father's time. My mother's not. Mongul. And brothers and my sisters, my nieces and nephews, how much time do you want for your progress? Did he come? Come out of the civil rights movement feeling. Hopeful, because I, I, I look at the moment that we're in now and. And there's a lot of. Potential for change.

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There's a lot of potential for a real kind of awareness of reckoning. With our history. But there's also a potential for things to continue there, as they've been, and I guess I wonder is is is the ultimate kind of. Take away from Baldwin a sense of hope in where the country is headed, you know, that's a great question. And in some ways it's a question that that is in part the motivation for writing the book, because I focus on the later Tammy Baldwin.

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I will focus on his later work for reason. Because he witnessed the country turn its back on the civil rights movement. Something they murdered the apostle of love, the assassinated Dr. King. He collapsed. You know, tried to commit suicide in 69, so he was despairing, disillusioned, but he had to pick up the pieces, he had to bear witness because he also saw the country elect Ronald Reagan. And he you know, Reagan, for black activist during this period was as bad, if not worse than George Wallace.

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And they were calling him the Redeemer in chief. This was the man who who who led the hunt, you know, that destroyed the Black Panther Party, this was the man who put Angela Davis in effect on the FBI's most wanted list. This was the man who despise the poor in California, as Dylan put it. He was the he will he became the avatar of all of those who rejected it, resisted the Great Society and civil rights movement, and the country elected him.

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This being list Hollywood actor, he was the latest fantasy. He sounds like we live in a moment. And so Baldwin in that moment said the country had turned its back on it, on the possibility of being otherwise. And so he had to figure out how to pick up the pieces so that we could push this damn boulder up the hill again. In 1970, Ebony interviewer came to Istanbul, but Baldwin was trying to pick up the pieces and working on No-Name in the street and he asked him about hope.

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Benjamin, who is barely keeping it together, although he's in a community of love, offers the advice that I found in the ruins and in the rubble that I offer us today. Hope is invented every day. Hope is invented every day, and so I'll say this really quickly, there's no there's reason to to think that we are on the precipice of change. But there's no guarantee. But wherever human beings are, we at least have a chance because we're not only disasters, we're also Americans.

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We have to do everything right now and we have to try to be otherwise we have to risk everything to be otherwise, we have to figure out how to be together differently. I don't want to see another generation of Americans having to bear the burden of this lie. To use an image that Baldwin used, you know, we're all midwives trying to give birth to a new American. In the past, every time we came to the moment in which the new America could be born, white supremacy was the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby's neck.

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And we let it stuff the life out of. Let's be better midwives as we try to be better people. This is the man the artist makes of his society, which society inevitably, unsparingly and always resist resist because it knows that it could do it, but refuse to believe that what he can see and touch is all real and what it knows and feels at that moment. For example, when the baby is born, we are so responsible. The artists make you respect that moment above all others, to recognize that there is nothing under heaven, no creed and no plan and no more important than the single human life.

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Eddie Glaude is a professor at Princeton University and author of Begin Again James Baldwin's America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own. That's it for this week's show, I'm Robert AWB. I'm running Abdelfattah, and you've been listening to Throughline from NPR.

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This episode was produced by me and me and Jamie York, Lawrence Lane, Kalpen Levinsohn, Julie Kay here, myocarditis, Victoria Wetly, Barry Fact checking for this episode was done by Julia Ward and Gretta Pittenger from the NPR Ed team. Thanks also to Camille Smiley and Anya Grundmann and their special thank you to The Amazing Communities, who's been a part of the throughline team for the last six months. She's leaving us sadly. Well, sad for us to go be the co-host of the amazing NPR show, Invisibility.

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Congratulations, Kiya. You're an amazing storyteller and we're going to miss working with you every day.

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But we cannot wait to hear all the amazing stuff you make in the next chapter of invisibility.

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Our music was composed by Ramtane and his band Drop Electric, which includes Navid Marvy Show Fujiwara Onya Masani.

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We love hearing from you. If you like something you heard or you have an idea for an episode. Please write us at through line at MMORPGs or hit us up on Twitter at Throughline NPR.

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Thanks for listening.