BLACK VOICES

Nina Turner Quotes James Baldwin To Sum Up The Anger Among Black Protesters

“To be a negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time."

Tensions in Charlotte, North Carolina, swelled on Wednesday night as protests turned violent and exposed the frustration many residents feel about the police killing of Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday.

Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency and initiated efforts to deploy the National Guard and State Highway Patrol due to the high levels of unrest in the city Wednesday night. Nina Turner, former state senator of Ohio, appeared on a MSNBC live segment Wednesday evening and spoke with Brian Williams about her thoughts on the police killing and subsequent protests that followed. Turner called the situation “gut-wrenching.” She added that she wanted to share a powerful quote from the famous black novelist James Baldwin whose writing she said has helped to paint the reality and burden of being black in America. 

“It is as if he is speaking right now,” she said. “But there’s a quote in particular where he said, ‘To be a negro in this country is to almost always consistently... to be in a rage,’ and that is what we’re seeing in Charlotte but that is no different from how African Americans have been feeling in this country for quite some time.” 

Turner, who said the quote on live TV, admitted to paraphrasing it slightly. Baldwin’s official words were, “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”

It’s the perfect summation of the outrage that has been built up among African Americans who have been battling systemic oppression by speaking out against the constant killings of black people by police. Turner also talked about her own experience as the mother of a black son, who is a police officer that’s personally experienced racial profiling. Through it all, Turner said her “heart is heavy” and that it’s been heavy for quite some time.

“It takes incident after incident from Tamir Rice, to John Crawford to Sandra Bland, you name it is happening,” she said. “But it’s unfortunate that all of these things have to happen before America will sit up and pay attention. We only pay attention, Brian, for a little while and then the thrill is gone because these are black bodies and black lives.

“The African-American community has been crying out for a very long time and thank God for technology that now the camera begins to tell the story. We do need transparency, we need accountability.”

Turner was featured on MSNBC, again, Thursday where she reiterated her powerful message about the anger felt among black protesters in America. She also didn’t miss the opportunity to re-share Baldwin’s words with the world.

Watch the clip in the tweet below and check out her interview on Wednesday in the clip above. 

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