This was the question pushed at Danté Stewart when he began to speak out in white spaces on the pain of the black community.
I love his answer in his book Shoutin’ in the Fire.
While it’s a very foolish question, at least people confronted him with it. I was never confronted with that question. I was shoved aside with silence.
Stewart has gone through worse, so I’m not complaining. I am only saying I wish people I considered friends were more up front with me.
Stewart’s answer is direct. He said at first his answer was “Jesus and James Baldwin.” He was affected by both of their teachings on love and liberation. But, he changed his mind in his response:
“Only thing is: it was a lie.
It wasn’t Jesus nor James Baldwin who radicalized me.
It was white people.
Apathetic white people.