The screening of this film and the ensuing discussions took place at the West African Research Center (WARC) in the afternoon of Friday, February 28th, 2020. The session was introduced by Professor Hilary Jones of Florida International University, Miami and the debate after the screening moderated by Prof Louis Mendy (UCAD) and Professor Ousmane Sene (WARC). Authored by the filmmaker Raoul Peck, the documentary features world-renowned african american novelist James Baldwin discussing many issues and problems challenging social harmony in the american nation. According to Baldwin, the word « white » cannot be seen as the color of a particular racial group. It is rather a metaphor for power and domination. Likewise, the word Negro and its underlying negative and stereotypical meanings and implications cannot possibly describe and categorize people like Baldwin (I am Not Your Negro!) Baldwin addresses the need for introspection and soul searching in the american society and concludes with the need for America to look at herself in the mirror because « nothing can be changed until it is faced ». Many other issues are also addressed in the film by the fiery and committed novelist visibly angered by the loss of the three M (Martin, Malcolm and Medgar): the notion of racial purity and superiority, the hatred and fear of the black man (considered as the dark double), pervasive social violence etc….. The audience including 61 people were mesmerized by Baldwin and his eloquence but also emotionally moved by certain images featured in the documentary.


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