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mardi 15 décembre 2020

What Truth Sounds Like - Robert F Kennedy, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America


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In 2015, BLM activist Julius Jones confronted presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with an urgent question: "What has changed in your heart that will change the direction of this country?" "I don't think you just change hearts," she protested. "I think you change the laws."

The fraught struggle between conscience and politics between ethics and authority did not begin to address race with Clinton.

In 1963, Attorney General Robert Kennedy asked James Baldwin to explain the outrage that threatened to engulf black America. Baldwin brought some friends, including playwright Lauren Hansbury, psychologist Kenneth Clark, and brave activist, Jerome Smith. It was Smith's relentless, unfiltered anger that put Kennedy in his wake, leaving him silent and sullen.

Kennedy walked away from the three-hour meeting in anger - because the assembled black folk did not understand the politics, and it was not easy to talk to them like Martin Luther King. But in particular, they were more interested in martyrdom than in politics. But Kennedy's anger quickly gave way to sympathy, especially for Smith. "I think if I were in his place ... I might feel differently about this country." Kennedy set out to change policy - the meeting changed his thinking in fundamental ways.

There was more: Every major race debate that has continued to this day got a hearing in that room. Smith declared that he would never fight for his country due to its racist leanings, and Kennedy being horrified by his lack of patriotism, traces the contempt for the black opposition of our time. His belief that black folk were ungrateful for the Kennedys' efforts to make things better today is demonstrated as the accusation black folklore casts aside in the politics of ingratitude and injustice. The contributions of gay blacks to racial advancement are still causing a buzz. BLM has been accused of harboring a strange secret agenda. The immigrant experience, such as the Kennedy experience - versus Baldwin's racial experience is a staple for criticizing blacks for their lack of clamor and finesse. The question of whether people in interracial relations are able to genuinely relate to the interests of blacks continues.

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