Racism in “Stranger in Village”.



Racism is a term based on the perception that a group of people exists in minority  based on  the parameters of their religion, color or desirability ergo leading to  the existence of different races. The different races exist as a reflection of a group attribute in biology or power. Discrimination is a key aspect that fuels racism. Through discrimination, different groups prop from the context of a belief orchestrated or imposed.  Baldwin in his essay discusses the result and the eventualities of white supremacy against the blacks. He portrays a clear picture of the reason behind the whites’ purport of their superiority to the blacks and the results of their perception towards them. Even though, the term racism has an indistinct definition, Baldwin realizes that belief and power to enforce the latter coincide to lead to the birth of racism. This journal articulates the evolution and consequence of racism by referring to the article “strangers in the village” by Baldwin James.


Baldwin has the certainty that the only reason racism existed came from the perception of the whites that they were a far superior group to the rest of civilization. Evidence  of this comes from a quote in “strangers in the village” saying “The idea of white supremacy rests simply on the fact that white men are the creators of civilization (the present civilization, which is the only one that matters; all previous civilizations are simply ‘contributors’ to our own) and are therefore civilization’s guardians and defenders. Thus, it was impossible for Americans to accept the black man as one of themselves, for to do so was to jeopardize their status as white men. But not to accept him was to deny his human reality, his human weight and complexity, and the strain of denying the overwhelmingly undeniable forced Americans into rationalizations so fantastic that they approached the pathological” (Baldwin, 321).                                       Baldwin conviction is that discrimination plays a key role in the occurrence of racism. Through discrimination, groups of races form boundaries based on their belief where they seclude themselves from a group based on irreconcilable differences that in this case applies to physical differences.  According to the white race, the difference in color between the two races, white and black, translated into a difference in the definition of human beings.  Baldwin remembers the time when he visited a small town called Swiss village where he encountered a surprising reception. Natives in the town tried to rub off his skin in an effort to remove the black aspect of his skin in order to make him white like them. This portrays the extent that racism has especially to the misinformed who instead of treating it as a misconception, buy into the rules blindly for lack of information or choose to liaise with its terms regardless and consider its philosophy true.


Racism is an ever changing phenomenon considering that it has the capability to transit through time as evident from the above quote. Baldwin testaments to the fact that the white in other cases engaged in racism as a manifest of past deeds against a race. This shows that the concept of racism remains an unanswered question and that its definition only applies to the context in which it is an application. In another quote, Baldwin says “Americans are as unlike any other white people in the world as it is possible to be. I do not think, for example, that it is too much to suggest that the American view of the world… owes a great deal to the battle waged by Americans to maintain between themselves and black men a human separation which could not be bridged ” (Baldwin, 322). In-depth analysis of the quote suggests that the black community excited as  lesser  human beings compared to the white community. Even to this day the presence of racism in America remains but at an eminently low threshold. With time passing the only thing that both races can  rely on is the hope that the situation gets better.













Work cited

Baldwin, J. “Stranger in the village.” Chapter 8: Government, Politics, and social justice N.D:       316-323. Web. 28 Oct. 2012