Baldwin Response – Syed M. Shahmir Zaidi

James Baldwin, one of the most profound writers of his time, was not afraid to use his words to defend the black community against the tyrannies of white supremacists. Similarly, in this article, he spoke about the unimaginable condition of America, where the African Americans were not only considered inferior but were used as a scape goat on numerous occasions. Furthermore, he mentioned a particular account where six Harlem men were forcefully abducted, brutally persecuted and then got charged for murder. He informed his audience about the extreme maltreatment, these innocent people of color received. The black community was not safe anywhere in public, he thought that they were at risk at all times, even in their homes. Moreover, he also explained how on the slightest of doubts, the police used to assault black men and made them suffer on numerous occasions. Furthermore, this case of ‘The Harlem Six’ where a man was just beaten because he asked a question to the authorities, clearly provided firm evidence of what the police was capable of doing without an inch of realization or accountability. According to his interpretation, getting ill-treated, abused and misjudged had become a part of the culture in the black community, where no one felt safe. In addition to what Baldwin reported, a fieldworker might question the integrity of each policemen and their loyalty to the state, while trying to understand the polices’ stand on this havoc as well, in order to understand the root cause for all the hatred.

Furthermore, another significant highlight of Baldwin’s writing was his thought- provoking analysis of the career opportunities provided to the black community, where the people of color were only offered low lying, low paid jobs, with no technical skills required. This was predominantly maintained with the hope that the black community would never be autonomous and successful. Baldwin further analyzes how the six men on trial even did not trust their counsel, because in a society so corrupt, everyone worked towards a single goal, which included the persecution of African Americans. A fieldworker worker might try to find answers as to how can there be an end to this one-sided massacre? And in what ways can people attack the big corporations and ‘The Lobby’, Baldwin spoke about. Additionally, in order to get a better insider perspective, a fieldworker could relocate to a black majority area, in order to see the difference of how he gets treated by the local authorities, compared to other people of color. This would conspicuously lead to the indefinite facts and the unspoken truth of the ‘western civilized society’.

2 thoughts on “Baldwin Response – Syed M. Shahmir Zaidi

  • You gave a very detailed and accurate description of the article and I agree with your idea on how a fieldworker can get an insider perspective by focusing on interviewing a black community to understand what it was like from someone who was a victim of it.

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