I don’t have The Fire Next Time right in front of me, nor have I read it in years, nor do I remember it crystal clearly, other than the fact that I got a kick out of reading how Jimmy Baldwin was chasing Malcolm X around, trying to gain his favor by demonstrating his own commitment to the movement.
I remember initially giving the book only a 9 out of a possible 10 because I disagreed with the premise of the book’s first part, the part written in the form of a letter that Jimmy had composed to his nephew, similar to the style that current literary superstar Ta-Nehisi Coates would use for the important Between the World and Me.
But Jimmy’s letter seemed to urge his nephew towards patience with white people, but moreover, understanding, love and something close to forgiveness, but actually far more resembling, strangely, tolerance.
Well, at the age that I’d read the book, I couldn’t agree with that at all, proving thoroughly how much more advanced than me Baldwin would always be as a writer, thinker and ultimately, Black man.
Of course, yes, tolerance. The whites here in America are a group of brutal, vicious children, jealous of the beauty of black skin and intellectually incapable of expressing themselves in any other form than lashing out.
I get it now, Jimmy. That book of yours is a gem and a 10.
But the other part, the part that I got from the door, the part with Malcolm, was the warning in the title.
And it really says so much that Jimmy should use that particular biblical warning, the one issued right after Noah’s flood where in Genesis 9:11, God promised to never again destroy the earth with water, but picked up the thread of His thinking in 2 Peter 3:7.
And the funny thing is, we thought America burned during the 60’s. Every American city was in flames during that time of calling for revolution while revolution actually raged.
But what seems to be brewing right now has the potential to make the 60’s look like match embers in comparison to a blaze the scale of what Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes did to Andre Rison’s house.
I mean, it’s one thing to try to convince Black people that we’re a docile and eternally suffering lot, despite such an epic history of revolt and rebellion that history has to be re-written to avoid addressing, the crazy thing is that too many white people see Dr. King’s way as our rule and not our exception.
This is almost terrifyingly stupid, because it presupposes that we’ll let the body count mount indefinitely, adding ad nauseum to Trayvon and Eric and Sandra and Tamir…
Well, I personally think violence against people is the most insane, un-Godly and debased act any man can commit, but before I allowed anyone to harm someone I loved, I’d split their fucking foreheads open with a sledgehammer; and I’m a pacifist!
And I am not alone.
By the movements I’m watching form and the sentiments I’m seeing and hearing expressed, there’s a hostility that’s not just growing, it’s becoming contagious.
So white America, grow up!
This isn’t a warning, this is just a piece of advice from somebody who loves y’all.
Chill out with the indiscriminate killing of random Black people and things will go towards something close to normal.
Otherwise, what’s likely to happen right here in America will be worse than what you fled your European homelands to avoid.
It’ll be like God’s promise fulfilled.