"It's not a question of what happens to the Negro," Baldwin said in an early [episode] of "The Dick Cavett Show." Eyebrows arched, he looked at Cavett, "The real question is what's going to happen to this country." The film cuts to cops arresting Black Lives Matters activists. Peck edits Baldwin speaking in the past, alongside today's protests throughout I Am Not Your Negro. It drives the overall theme that our nation is again at a turning point. The US will rise or fall to the degree it heeds Baldwin's warning. The film commands: Look beyond the self-serving stereotypes of Black people or collapse from the weight of your hypocrisy.
I left the hospital,” she said in jagged breaths. An hour earlier, my girlfriend texted me that she slipped and cut her hand. Friends rushed her to an emergency room but she left before treatment. I was confused and angry. “Why are you walking home in pain,” I asked her. “I. Can’t. Afford. Another. Bill,” … Continue reading Life in the Balance
"He won with a metaphor.” I pressed my hands against the air as if touching a surface. “He won with the image of a wall.” They looked at me, waiting for words to strike like a flint on reality, to spark a flash and make everything briefly visible. “We’re scared.” I walked to the stage’s … Continue reading How to Topple a Wall with a Heartbeat
Check out Episode 29: Unleash Your Carnival Potential with Nicholas Powers, on the Very Ape Podcast.
The blue morning painted my bedroom into a dark ocean. I was at the bottom of it. Sunken by fears that moved through shadows like cold currents. Drawing breath was work. Lifting my head was hard labor. I reached for my phone, typed in “NY Times.” The previous night, I met friends at a bar … Continue reading The Mourning After Waking Up in Trump’s America
"You’re not listening to me.” He gripped the steering wheel. “What the hell am I not hearing?” I stared at my friend Terrence, who stared at the road as we drove in silence. He blurted, “White guys feel like they’re always wrong. I’m white. Listen to me. I know. We’re being yelled at by everyone.” … Continue reading Pain is Pain
Dear Allies, You deserve praise. Yes, you. I imagine you thinking, “But I’m white or male, I’m straight or able-bodied, I’m liberal or middle-class. I’m some combination of privilege, I’m part of the problem.” No, you’re not. You deserve praise. Why? Because when I need help, you’re there. You’re the white woman yelling, “Hands up! … Continue reading In Praise of Allies: Wherever we’re going, we’ll only get there together
Donald Trump has made sexual assault a core motif of his campaign rhetoric, but he's not interested in women's safety. Instead, he exploits rape imagery to tap into our fear even as he promotes social policies that endanger women. The sexual anxiety he calls up in his speeches is part of the conservative tradition that … Continue reading Trump’s Rape Rhetoric Appeals to Male Anxiety
Police cars and armored vehicles sped by. We watched their bright alarms echoing down the street. It was Sunday morning in LA, I woke to news of a mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Here in California, police caught a young man with explosives and guns, on his way to the LA Pride … Continue reading Hetero-terrrorism: The Backlash Against Gay Liberation
In the decades since, everywhere you turn there’s a person of color holding a mirror. On TV, we hold up mirrors. In music, in newspapers and in college classes we hold up mirrors. In the riots of Baltimore and Ferguson and in the Black Lives Matters protests, we carry mirrors through the streets. The President, a black man at the highest office of the land, holds up a mirror. And in those many, many reflections, you and everyone can see the bloody grave upon which you built your history.