ON MY MIND | I Am Not Your American: Reviving James Baldwin’s Opposition to U.S. Empire

The figure of James Baldwin has been buoyed in recent years by a revival across the liberal wings of the United States’ political, cultural, and intellectual establishment. Most notably, during remarks given at the dedication ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2016, former President Barack Obama quoted from Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues.” That same year, Raoul Peck’s Oscar-nominated film I Am Not Your Negro enjoyed widespread critical acclaim over its solemn presentation of the Civil Rights-era writer’s saliency to the present-day (A. O. Scott of the New York Times dazzles readers with the headline “Review: ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ Will Make You Rethink Race”; Simran Hans in The Guardian remarks that “Baldwin’s words feel as urgent and articulate as ever”). In 2015, the Library of America published a volume of Baldwin’s later novels, which had “yet to receive the consideration given his earlier fiction.” This effort was mirrored in the academic sphere with the founding of an annual journal called the James Baldwin Review, dedicated uniquely to studies of Baldwin’s works of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. The trend continues into 2018: Barry Jenkins, of Moonlight fame, has directed a highly anticipated film adaptation of Baldwin’s novel If Beale Street Could Talk that is set to release in theaters on November 30. Little Man, Little Man, a children’s book written by Baldwin in 1976 (his only venture into the genre), is currently back in circulation with a new edition being published by Duke University Press — at a time when, according to the New York Times, “children’s book authors and publishers are more frequently placing black and brown children at the center of narratives about everyday life.” In August, on what would have been the writer’s 94th birthday, social media feeds on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram were awash with Baldwin quotes and commemorative posts by ordinary and verified users alike — from the rapper/actor Common to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

ON MY MIND | ‘C’ Stands for Colonizer, and Also Cornell

“Colonialism imposed its control of the social production of wealth through military conquest and subsequent political dictatorship. But its most important area of domination was the mental universe of the colonised.” – Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Decolonising the Mind
Intra-Ivy League bickering aside, Cornell University is widely regarded as one of the top institutions of higher learning in the world. Students who graduate from our school go on to become world leaders in their industry of preference: from Wall Street and Capitol Hill to Hollywood and Silicon Valley. The design and administration of our medicine, our mortgages, our software, our textbooks, our food, our jobs, our cities and our homes all bear the mark of a Cornellian somewhere in the fine print. This is not a matter of opinion; it is a fact of our society.


The following statement comes from a group of people from Islamic Alliance for Justice, Native American Students at Cornell (NASAC), Cornell DREAM Team, MEChA de Cornell and Asian Pacific Americans for Action (APAA) who were affected directly or indirectly by the events of this past week and decided to come together to organize. We’re a collective group of students, and this is our collective statement:

Over the past week, President Donald Trump issued a series of executive actions, some of which explicitly target marginalized communities including Muslims, refugees, undocumented peoples, Indigenous folx, Latinx folx, people who cannot access healthcare and working class people. One of these executive orders prohibits entry to the United States for citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations which include Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Syria. Since Trump has claimed that America’s shores are still open to Christian refugees from these countries, the ban rests on the presupposition that Muslims from these countries are terrorists and that Islam is an inherently violent religion. It is worth noting that each of these seven countries has either been directly bombed by the United States or hit with debilitating economic sanctions, and that their residents are being prevented from escaping the conditions created in these countries by US imperialism.