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Literature: Stranger in the Village

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Prove that James Baldwin Does not hate the Swiss, but the Western culture’s ignorance of him.

        In Stranger in the Village, James Baldwin does not hate the Swiss people, but the Western culture’s ignorance of him. He sees the Swiss villagers as a community with a little knowledge of the African American history, while they see him as a diverse person. Eventually, James Baldwin hates the Western culture’s ignorance of him because the African American culture is almost nonexistent in Europe due to their history without black people; white men in Western culture main goal was to be conquers and view everyone else as inferior; white men considered black men like Baldwin an “exotic rarity.”  

Proves of why Baldwin hates the Western culture’s ignorance of him.

  1. Certainly, Baldwin claims that African American will never truly be assimilated with the white people in the West because there was a long period in the European history without black people, which made them fictional.
  • “People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.” Baldwin supports this statement due to the example of American history when he says that “he was an inescapable part of the general social form and no American could escape having an attitude toward him.” Simply, because African American have been part of the American culture since the beginning. As African Americans were not part of the Western history, it was too late for people to alter their perspectives of the black nation. Therefore, Europeans saw Baldwin as a stranger and treated him with ignorance.
  1. Surely, Baldwin loathes the Western culture’s ignorance of him because their main goal is to be conquers and view everyone else as inhuman.  During that time, white men in Europe only wanted to fight battles and win battles. Baldwin could not doing anything about it since he was in Africa, but watch the conquerors arrive. This caused him to feel rage towards the white men illustrating that power can be achieved through ignorance by making the low-class individuals’ suffer. “They move with an authority that I shall never have; and they regard me,…not only as a stranger in their village but as a suspected latecomer, bearing no credentials, to everything they have.” This demonstrates that Western culture’s ignorance of Baldwin is due to his nationality and the color of his skin believing that he is a thief who came to the West with no purposes. Baldwin has control over himself as a person and his perceptions of being perceived, however, his outer appearance as an African man proves to be futile towards the Westerns. Alas, it frustrates him that Europeans ignore him because of his skin complexion.

  1. Assuredly, Baldwin scorned the Western culture’s ignorance of him because white men considered black men like Baldwin an “exotic rarity.” They would educate their children in telling them that a black man was a devil. Instead of being viewed as an “exotic rarity,” Baldwin wants to be known as a human being. He wants to be treated like a man instead of a stranger. “The black man insists, by whatever means, he finds at his disposal, that the white man cease to regard him as an exotic rarity and recognize him as a human being.” Baldwin claims that African American had the right to seize the white man’s attention to recognize him as a human being. It was accepted during that time period because they were dedicated to response in the cruelty of African American, which removed any condones or regret. White men were naturally virulent, keeping the black men in a certain level of humanity (or the lack of it) so they would not be accused of crimes by their forefathers. Thus, white men are aware of what is happening around them, however, they preserve on being ignorant about it.

Summary of Support:

Eventually, James Baldwin hates the Western culture’s ignorance of him because the African American culture is almost nonexistent over there due to their history without black people; their main goal is to be conquers and view everyone else as inferior; white men in Europe considered black men like Baldwin an “exotic rarity.”  

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