It is out of all of this that the black son must say, finally, to his black father, and ignobly enough ‘You’re a colored man. I just want to be a man.’ Which means that a man exists only in the brutally limited lexicon of those who think of themselves as white, and imagine, therefore, that they control reality and rule the world. And the black son says this to his black father in spite of the fact that he, the wonder doctor, has had to become a living freak, a walking encyclopedia of rare medical knowledge, in order to have the question of his marriage to a white girl discussed….if even the wonder doctor must undergo such trials in order to touch his lady love, heaven help the high-school dropouts: so many of whom found themselves in Attica, for example, not impossibly for trying to be men. Heaven did not help those among the blacks who failed to master their pre-med courses…

James Baldwin on Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, in The Devil Finds Work.

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