I Am Not Your Negro
I’m not your Negro!
And neither am I your n****r, Slave, Shine, Spook, Spade, Colored, African-American, Afro -American, Black, Soul Brother.
In my relatively short span of time on earth, I’ve been called everything above except one: “Slave.”
It’s the only one I ever truly was!
I had accepted Black and Soul Brother because I was either too young or too stupid to “get it.” I am not your any-of-the-above and that, from my viewpoint, is what James Baldwin was telling you.
Telling you? Yeah, you! Not me.
I believe this film was produced to educate. And like the general audience, I experienced emotions. But for myself and those enlightened people of color in attendance, it was nothing new. These were things I no longer needed to learn because I’m so polished from the coarse sandpaper rubs, grinding stone and sand blasting of the Hard Knox University Black life experience. I know that I am “Hue-man.”
I feel his film was produced for people of my era to review and direct the unknowing to view. This illustrative documentary reinforces that it needs to be seen. Humans need to know. They need to know what we learned the hard way.
I am blessed to have lived during many of the misfortunes depicted; to survive the deaths of those who might have rescued us from the terrorist acts of those with such hatred for us, they’ve convinced us to toss away pride and self-loathe as they do.
Martin, Malcolm, and Medgar — though with differing standpoints — died young fighting for a better world. A world that was never in agreement with any of them! These were men that stood for their beliefs, not for their bankroll.
James Baldwin walked it with them.
He had a better vantage point (than mine), though, and shares that in this film. For those who want a better understanding of that Black experience without the pain we endured, this is the film to see. For those that are open to changed perspective, this is the film to see. For those that need inspiration to step up, stand up and make a difference, this will certainly fuel your fire.
But it is a documentary about a different time: a struggle by a people segregated, misunderstood, proud and dignified in the midst of their suffering; more intelligent and humane than ever given credit; considered three-fifths or less human; yet arguably in greater possession of human spirit than those who would claim to be “their betters.”
It was said to me of this film: “It’s another movie talking of where we were. Now it’s time for them to talk on where we are, where we are going and how the hell we gonna get there. The road has been tread by these great people. What’s next?”
I suggest you and a few friends see this film and talk about it. Then you tell me.
The need for us to change how we see and treat each other, though altered by time and evolution, remains as it was for many Americans, Black, White and brown. Unless they have lived it or educated themselves or viewed this film and others like it, folks won’t know that “I’m not your Negro!”