“The Time is Always Now:” James Baldwin in Trump’s America

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Stowell, Chase
James Baldwin; political science; Donald Trump; U.S. politics; history; racism in America; ethics; American Politics; Political History; Political Science; Political Theory; Politics and Social Change; Race and Ethnicity
thesis / dissertation description
Gone is the optimism regarding race relations that dominated the early years of Obama’s presidency. Trump’s meteoric rise has given Americans pause, and in this time of potential reflection, it is important to re-examine James Baldwin. This essay analyzes Baldwin’s understanding of race from the inception of racism in America until its theoretical end, combining Baldwin’s novels and essays to propose practices that will help America move beyond the racial problem that has haunted its history. James Baldwin’s demand of individual reflection upon one’s system of reality necessitates the end of political demonology, as well as a reframing of rhetoric regarding American exceptionalism.