Senior Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Thesis (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Political Science


Political Science

Faculty Advisor(s)

Nicholas Buccola

Subject Categories

American Politics | Political History | Political Science | Political Theory | Politics and Social Change | Race and Ethnicity


Gone is the optimism regarding race relations that dominated the early years of Obama’s presidency. Trump’s meteoric rise has given Americans pause, and in this time of potential reflection, it is important to re-examine James Baldwin. This essay analyzes Baldwin’s understanding of race from the inception of racism in America until its theoretical end, combining Baldwin’s novels and essays to propose practices that will help America move beyond the racial problem that has haunted its history. James Baldwin’s demand of individual reflection upon one’s system of reality necessitates the end of political demonology, as well as a reframing of rhetoric regarding American exceptionalism.