Breaking Silence Essay

1632 words - 7 pages

We live in a diverse society. We have a myriad of races, cultures, languages and beliefs. It is natural that we live different lives and we face different hardships and struggles. As human beings it is our obligation to be considerate of our differences and struggles. We have the responsibility to ensure equality and justice within our society. To have a society that ensures equality and justice there must be equal distribution of opportunities. Sadly that is not the case in America; certain groups in our society do not have access to the same opportunities that others do. In our society people of color and minorities are subjects to racism, poverty and discrimination. These barriers are extremely difficult and not a lot of people surpass them. Those who make it out of these harsh conditions must consider themselves responsible individuals who represent the struggle their people face. In the essay “Letter to my Nephew” James Baldwin discusses issues regarding racism and silence. Baldwin makes it clear that people of color are responsible to respond and resist when challenged with racism. Because we are the hope of our own struggle; we are all that we have. We must exploit and break the silence regarding racism and discrimination; and we must do that with solidarity.
In his text “Letter to my Nephew”, James Baldwin conveys strong messages regarding love, responsibility and guidance. The letter was written on the one hundredth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. This famous piece of history was written to Big James, Baldwin’s nephew; who was born and raised in Harlem, New York. Big James is not new to segregation and racism; growing up he has experienced all the adversities Harlem has to offer. Throughout the letter Baldwin talks about how racism works in our society and the misunderstanding white people have about racism. Baldwin stated to his nephew that he was not meant to make it in this society; the society is not structure for his success. He tells his nephew that he was meant to perish and disappear in this society; in fact they were all meant to perish and disappear. Baldwin expresses his love to his nephew: “To be loved, baby, hard, at once, and forever, to strengthen you against the loveless world. Remember that: I know how black it looks today, for you. It looked bad that day, too, yes, we were trembling. We have not stopped trembling yet, but if we had not loved each other none of us would have survived” (Baldwin 41). It is only through love and partnership that they have survived those dark times. He is saying how even though things might be gloomy and miserable at the moment, his nephew needs to stay strong and keep his head up in order to overcome the ongoing struggle and outshine the deplorable conditions that were given to him. Baldwin brings the same standpoint when he talks about white people and racism.
When we examine the history of white racism against African Americans, we see that there is a controversial...

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