[VIDEO] Baldwin on the American Dream

28 February 2018

James Baldwin is one of the most extraordinary thinkers of the 20th century. His writings are a must-read for anyone interested in issues of race in America.

This video is an excerpt from a 1965 debate between James Baldwin and William Buckley at Cambridge University. Baldwin tackles the question, "Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?" More than fifty years later, Baldwin's answer to this question is still very relevant today. In addition to being a fabulous writer, Baldwin is an incredible orator as well. Do see for yourself!

The direct link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUBh9GqFU3A

Comments (3)

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Thursday, March 1, 2018 -- 1:32 PM

Much has happened since 1965.

Much has happened since 1965. The next twenty years were, by any measure, tumultuous. Race relations have never really recovered (in my humble estimation), and now we contend with leadership incompetence; more sexual harassment than most of us could have ever imagined; the proliferation of premeditated murder by unhinged and/or unhappy gun-wielding miscreants; fanatics and mentally ill malcontents. Not the least of our worries lies a world laughing at our pain and eager to see to our demise, by any means available or necessary. The American Dream (if it is even possible) now comes at the expense of ALL Americans, race, color, sex, age or national origin notwithstanding. Baldwin was a brilliant man, living in those tumultuous times many of us managed to survive. All that said, those times were a microcosm of what we're encountering today. Look out for the summer of 2018, people. You ain't seen nothing yet...

M.'s picture


Friday, March 2, 2018 -- 2:35 AM

Literally registered just to

Literally registered just to reply to you :)

Your post sounds like we are in a worse place today than in 1965, at least in respect to sexual harassment and murder (and by extension other violent crime). I think it definitely seems that way because we are more "exposed" to all the horribleness of the world because of the internet really and because that is news that "sells". I hate the news because all day every day since forever, the news is only about suffering and just generally negative things.
We are bombarded with how bad the world today is, while we get nearly zero news of the positive and "happy" events around us. We are always kept in fear and anger (research shows this state increases our propensity to consume more and spend more, which is what a capitalist society wants to happen but that's another story).
The fact of the matter is Mr. Numan that we are living eclipsed by negative news, while at the same time living in a time of the lowest violence and crime in the history of human existence. There has never been less sexual harassment than there is now. It is just a bit more open to public's eyes now (and what is and what is not harassment is another story, making comments is not sexual harassment). Similarly, we have the lowest murder and crime rate, globally, fewest wars and territorial conflicts. I live in England, and it is absolutely unthinkable that any of the neighboring countries would attack us. Go back a few hundred years and there was the constant threat of even your allies attacking you and taking your land if they sensed weakness. And yet, our political leaders go on about how we are living in times of "unprecedented danger", so they can limit our personal freedoms and gain more and more control over the masses (whole other story). I would highly recommend watching any of the talks by Professor Steven Pinker. (https://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pinker_on_the_myth_of_violence). Watch this Sir and be a bit more at ease. Look for more positive news, especially around your own neighborhood. Don't get corrupted by negative people.

Harold G. Neuman's picture

Harold G. Neuman

Friday, March 2, 2018 -- 10:12 AM

Thanks, M. I am familiar with

Thanks, M. I am familiar with Mr. Pinker's work, specifically his treatise on violence (THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE). I would like to be more optimistic, really I would. Mostly, I live as well as I can and treat people accordingly. I also write philosophy and am fascinated with the human condition we call consciousness. HGN.