Do white and black people need one another?

André Holland, the actor who played Kevin in the Oscar-winning movie, Moonlight, told Terry Gross of the NPR show, “Fresh Air,” that when his school class exchanged valentine cards, a girl returned his with a scrawled note, “I hate you, n—–.”[1]  

W.E.B. Du Bois in The Souls of Black Folk tells of a similar experience and how for him it was “when the shadow first swept over me.” He describes being shut out of “their world,” though he never mentions race in this episode.

Jim Perkinson says Du Bois doesn’t have to mention skin color. We as readers fill in the blanks because our eyes are not innocent. This glance that knows is what Perkinson calls the “genesis of blackness and whiteness.”[4]

James Baldwin puts the question to white people. Why do white people need someone to put in a lower place, whether in a hateful way or a benevolent way? Baldwin says he is not a “n—–” but it is for the white person to learn why for hundreds of years white people have needed to think of whites as superior and to have inferior “n——.”

What do we do with this? For 1256 Movement, we use this as a reminder not to replace white supremacy hate with white supremacy benevolence. We are fellow humans making the world better, and we need one another.


[1] “‘Moonlight’ Actor André Holland : Fresh Air,” NPR.Org.

[2] Raoul Peck, Texts by James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro (Velvet Films)., 2017).

[3] W. E. B. (William Edward Burghardt) Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk, 1903, Kindle, 59.

[4] Perkinson,  94.