James Baldwin on the roles we construct

“The roles that we construct are constructed because we feel that they will help us to survive and also, of course, because the fulfill something in our personalities; & one does not, therefore, cease playing a role simply because one has begun to understand it.  All roles are dangerous.  The world tends to trap and immobilize you in the role you play; and it is not always easy- in fact, it is always extremely hard– to maintain a kind of watchful mocking distance between oneself as one appears to be and oneself as one actually is.”

from “the black boy looks at the white boy”

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