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The History of Debate: James Baldwin Vs. William Buckley

James Baldwin and William F. Buckley debate whether “The American Dream is at the Expense of the American Negro.” Brought together by the Cambridge Union Society at Cambridge University in 1965, this video shows a bunch of twee British white boys introducing one of the 20th century’s greatest artists and one of the 20th century’s biggest pricks. In a packed room in which he is one of the only people of color, Baldwin makes a devastating speech and wipes those centuries-old floors with Buckley’s smug, idiotic grin.

If you’ve ever thought that Buckley deserved respect as an intelligent or worthwhile conservative, watch him tell Baldwin to his face that his experience as a black American is irrelevant to his argument, watch Buckley make an equivalence between the experience of Cambridge students and American slaves (they both work, after all), watch Buckley threaten that white Americans will do to black protesters what the Allies did to Nazi Germany in World War II (and in so doing equate the struggle for black liberation with Nazism).

Fuck Bill Buckley, he died too old. James Baldwin lives forever.

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