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James Baldwin’s Woke Comments on the American Flag Are More Timely Than Ever

In the historic 1965 “Is the American Dream at the Expense of the American Negro?” debate, author James Baldwin spars with conservative William F. Buckley Jr. about the significance of the American flag at Cambridge University.

“… The flag to which you have pledged allegiance … has not pledged allegiance to you,” Baldwin starts the excerpt. “It comes as a great shock that … rooting for Gary Cooper to kill off the Indians — the Indians were you.”

The author adds that the country “spells out to you 24 hours of the day that you are a worthless human being.”

Furthermore, Baldwin states that the conditions of oppressed Black people are often felt by their children.

“At about that time you begin to see it happening in your daughter, son, niece or nephew,” he explains. “You are 30 by now and nothing you have done has helped you escape the trap… Nothing you can do will save your son or daughter from being in the same disaster.”

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