I found a really cool interview that Francois Bondy did with James Baldwin. Here’s a portion that didn’t fit into my paper, but I thought was really great.
FB: … You have written that the Americans are not behind Europeans but rather in advance, because they had to face the real problem, while we Europeans often feel that we have solutions just because we don’t have that problem. Do you still think Americans are more advaced in this regard?
JB: I think that it is a great opportunity that America has right now–the trouble is our oppourtunity. What I was trying to suggest in that piece was that Americans, becausde they have lived with it for so long, know more abou tthe color problem than any European nation, because Europe never had its slaves on the mainland. But the price for waht one l might hope to call the American advantage would be an investigation of its own history, which America has never been willing to do. If we could tell the truth about what happened to Indians, what happened to the black man in America, and get rid of all those terifying myths which are all over TV, and books and textbooks; if we could tell the truth about what our real realationship was to the Mexiacans, for example, then we could begin to use this tremendous potential, and it might begin to save the world.
Wowza. Baldwin pretty much tells it like it is. I love it. I completely agree. Until we are able to face our history for what it was and stop covering the icky parts that we don’t like to admit to, growth won’t really be able to happen. I remember reading this same kind of idea in Malcolm X, too. He had thoughts about the origin of our country and how we started out as pillagers. We took this land by force, and force is what we based our existence on. This isn’t the pretty side of the U.S., however we can’t refuse to see the facts.