Happy Monday, Readers. I hope you all had a good weekend, and are ready to have an awesome week. I definitely am.
I’m committing to working on my dissertation, and have a set page count for each week. I’ve started already, and I’m feeling pretty good about it.
Today’s musing is about I Am Not Your Negro by James Baldwin, directed by Raoul Peck.
Have you seen it?
A month or so ago, I was very excited to find out that I Am Not Your Negro was playing at the small independent theatre in the town next to where I live. All I knew was that Peck put archival footage of James Baldwin in the context of modern black American life.
Before the film started, I Snapchatted my teenage brother, who, in his garrulous manner, said that the film was “interesting.”
Afterwards, T, our friend Liz, and I went across the street for a glass of wine. We chatted for a little while, mostly about modern contexts for James Baldwin’s commentary, which is what I imagine Peck intended with this film essay.
On our way home, in conversation with T, she suggested that maybe I Am Not Your Negro is not a movie with me as the intended audience. Upon a weekend of reflection, I think she may have been right. With a degree in English Literature, naturally I studied Baldwin in college (though only in Black Literature class). When I was prepping to teach Advanced Placement, I read even more. So I had some familiarity with Baldwin going in.
The biggest take away for me was the fact that the conversation around race relations, systemic racism, and discrimination really hasn’t changed. There are just more people as part of the conversation. I think that’s why I keep thinking about it.