Love And Fear Essay, Research Paper
We always say “Love conquers all” is commonly said and heard in our daily lives. Ironically, this is necessarily not true as James Baldwin views our society. He illustrates the stereotypes of both Blacks and Whites. In his argumentative autobiography, The Fire Next Time, the author brilliantly perceives the idea that love, instead of fear, liberates society. To truly “liberate” society, one must discover his/her individual and personal identity by learning to love.
Baldwin describes “fear” to be ignorance, and “love” as knowledge. He joined the congressional church due to fear. He was afraid to become involved with his friends who began to drink and smoke. To avoid such situations, Baldwin was driven into the church because he “supposed that God and safety were synonymous.” (16) Timidity blinded him to believe that following God?s words shielded him from the evils of society. However, because of Baldwin?s love for his church, he reads the Bible, only to realize that was strictly about the teachings of White people. He thought that going to the church will protect him, and shield him against what he feared. Instead of freeing the community from discrimination between Blacks and Whites, the Bible supported the existence of racial barriers by teaching one should behave. Realizing the hypprocarcy involved with Christianity, the author broke away from the congressional church, to search his own way of liberating the society.
Baldwin emphasizes that liberation is love, and “love is more important than color.” (71) The author states that fear creates the need for power. The Nation of Islam was fearful of the Whites dominating over the Blacks. Fear always dominated the minds of black people. This fear caused Elijah to strive for power to liberate the community. The Nation of Islam wanted absolute control of the White society. Baldwin was given the opportunity to become an influential figure in the Nation of Islam movement, he rejected Elijah Muhammed?s offer. He was totally against the belief that the movement held.
Baldwin says, “love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and we know we cannot live within.” (95) Whites cannot love because they fear “to be judged by those who are not white.”. Because Blacks are stereotyped to be “uncivilized”, whites have the “private fears to be projected onto the Negro.” (96) Fear only promotes further racism, and the labyrinth of attitudes. He states that the problem with racial oppression will never be resolved unless the white man gives up his power.
Baldwin states that “mirrors can only lie,” because they only reflect the surface of people instead of revealing the deep truth. The white people fear to see the reality, that Blacks “might bring new life to the Western achievements and transform them.” (94) Whites are afraid of giving up the power they have. Until this fear of sharing the superiority disappears, love will never arise.
Baldwin declares that Blacks must reveal their true identity to achieve true liberation. However, this task is merely impossible because Blacks are in a “endless struggle to achieve and reveal and confirm a human identity.” (98) He states that policies and laws in the past have cause fear by “humiliation” and “torture.” (98) Blacks only feed into the myth that White men are more superior by being dependent on Whites. The author states that Blacks, too, must “achieve authority” (99) to “play…and reveal more about America” (101), to be fairly recognized in society.