“A Talk to Teachers” of James Baldwin (Rhetorical Analysis)

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In ¨A Talk to Teachers¨, James Baldwin describes 1963 as 'very dangerous.' James Baldwin’s main point is to make known how educators added to racism in society during 1963. At the time that Baldwin wrote, ¨A talk to Teachers¨, the society was ¨very dangerous” because that’s when the Civil rights movement was at its peak. Baldwin continuously pointed out that teachers can change the discrimination view on African-Americans by teaching them from a young age about racism and their history. James Baldwin’s perspicacity on race was so pinpoint-accurate that it’s still relevant even today.

The system of education representing a part of racial prejudice in America is affecting people of color. James Baldwin's subject pronouns such as 'We' indicate that the matter affects all Americans, despite their racial background. Baldwin emphasizes this point by describing how the educational system fails to include African American children as American history is explained; guiding them to feel lost, neglected and excluded from society, ¨Therefore it is almost impossible for any Negro child to know anything about his actual history¨. (Baldwin Pg3) Educators should teach kids that its important to acknowledge that people come from different ethnic backgrounds but don’t discriminate them based on it. From what I got in the reading, the system of education chose what to teach children about the ideologies they see as fundamental truths. Racism continues to show up on just about every level in our society.

It could be feasibly arguable that Baldwin's words are even more relevant today. For example, racial/ethnic groups within the United States often find themselves relying on state-provided benefits because they live in lower socioeconomic support; they also disproportionally tend to not have equal access to social resources, such as healthcare. Things are even worse now because the misinformed white people in the US willingly support a system that enslaves not just Blacks and Latinos, but themselves as well. Many issues he addressed in the essay have changed but life is still not equal for all. Test scores show that children in minority-dense, low-income areas tend to have different scores compared to others. This is all because schools in these areas simply have fewer funds than more wealthy areas. It’s an ongoing cycle that continues up to College (higher education).

In higher education, we often fail to ask hard questions about whether colleges are educating students well. This often ends up not succeeding and then the education system blames poor results on the student’s native language and earlier academic education. Even a person that is free of racist or ill-disposed intention inadvertently reinforces these perceptions. That leads to the never-ending fight for equality even though kids may “technically” have the same education. Education is an important aspect of people’s lives. Especially in today’s society where many jobs require a college degree that then makes it hard for those without access to higher education to get a job. But then education systems increase tuition fees causing college education to be out of reach for some students. The society also tells us that the more educated a student is, the easier it is to get almost any job you want. However, provided with the right education you become more qualified to find your calling in life.

In conclusion, we should teach others that it’s okay to look at the world for what it is — racist, sexist, homophobic,— and should use this awareness as a way to enact change. Educators should help children learn how to think rather than telling them what to think. In regards to high education, college instructors and administrators should increase overall learning environments on their campuses, where historical and current-day matters of race and racism can be addressed and questioned civilly and provocatively. I admit that higher education alone can’t proclaim all of the troubles of racism and hatred that come from our country’s racial history. I hope we can install an education system that is people-centered and not centered around the interests of white men.  

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"A Talk To Teachers" Of James Baldwin (Rhetorical Analysis). (2021, May 22). Retrieved June 19, 2024 , from

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