I Am Not Your Negro

Director: Raoul Peck
Year Released: 2016
Rating: 3.0

Director Peck takes American novelist James Baldwin's notes from his incomplete memoir Remember This House and uses it to cover racial issues in the United States and his connection to three champions of African-American rights that were assassinated: Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. It's an engaging film essay (with great narration by Samuel L. Jackson), done with empathy and care, as Baldwin's words reflect a great degree of introspection: he's measured in his analysis of Hate (he refuses to despise white people) and testy when confronted with ignorance (as one might reasonably expect). I would like to note, however, that Yale Professor Paul Weiss, when on the Dick Cavett show with Baldwin, has a fair point (despite the harsh tone): instead of emphasizing our differences and grouping people in various 'boxes,' why not focus on how our similarities? The answer, I'm afraid, is that we weren't and presently aren't at 'that point' in the discussion yet. Will we ever be? Based on activity in Ferguson and Chiraq and the rise of white nationalism (the "alt-Right" or whatever those shitheels call themselves) ... not anytime soon.