Important quotes from ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ documentary

We still live in a world where racial narratives are clearly defined and blurred at the same time. Despite some progress in racial equality policy, some of the issues around race that were acute decades ago, are still poignant now.

Many black story tellers have pointed out the similarities and nuances between racial narratives past and present, but when I watched the documentary, I Am Not Your Negro at Block Party Cinema’s Film Club series, it remined me of how racism is driven by mindset. It’s these ideologies that drive the social structures built to oppress the powerless.

james baldwin
The Oscar nominated (2017), BATFA award winning (2018) documentary, based on James Baldwin’s last unfinished manuscript – Remember This House. Photo credit: Block Party Cinema

I was quite lucky to find The Film Club showing of this award-winning documentary, released in 2016. Upon arrival, there was a DJ’s, street food and the signature beanbags, and just before the film started a brief synopsis was given by the Block Party team. Some of the quotes from the documentary that will stay with me are below, if you’ve seen the documentary which quotes resonate with you? Comment below.


“I was not a Black Muslim, for the same vein, though for different reasons that I did not become a Black Panther, because I did not believe that white people were devils and I did not want the young Black people to believe that.


“If we were white, our heroes would be your heroes too. Malcolm X would still be alive…when the Israelis or the Poles pick up guns and say ‘give me liberty or give me death,’ the entire white world applauds. When a Black man says exactly the same thing, he is judged a criminal and treated like one. Everything is done to make an example of this bad n**ga so there won’t be anymore like him.”


“All of the Western nations have been caught in a lie: a lie of their pretended humanism. History has no moral justification and the west has no moral authority.


“History is not the past, “It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history.”


The world is not white. It can’t be, whiteness is just a metaphor for power“.


What white people have to do, is try and find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a nigger in the first place, because I’m not a nigger, I’m a man, but if you think I’m a nigger, it means you need it.

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