Review: Still Not Equal
James Baldwin once said “To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” What he is talking about in that very moment is to realize exactly what the world has done to black people as a whole and not knowing exactly how to react to this truth.
It becomes even more exacerbated when you see these prejudices exist in foreign countries you visit. Each culture has their own preconceived notions about another culture or race. I witnessed this the first time I went to France when I was in the military. The locals saw me and my friends as both Americans and people of color. At that particular place and time, neither helped our stay in their country. A few places refused us service. We got nasty looks from some old women. In that instance we knew no one wanted us there. This is also what Baldwin was talking about in the above quote. He found out, like we did, that no matter how far we progressed in the world, we were not equal. In Jordan Clark and Nicole Miles‘ brilliant Still Not Equal, the pair brings to life one of Baldwin’s most powerful accounts about being in Black in the world.
It’s December 1948. Baldwin has just moved to Paris into a depressing apartment as he needed space to write. Eventually, it becomes claustrophobic. He ventures out and finds the open-air cafes to be more of a fit. There he meets another American who gave him a glimmer of hope that everything will be okay. Everything changes when his new friend gets questioned by the police. From there, it’s an exploration of the French legal system and exploration of being Black and American within.
Overall, a commanding and sobering depiction of the atrocity that Baldwin faced 69 years ago that is depressingly still relevant. The story as interpreted by Clark is impactful, sensitive, and concise. The art by Miles paints these characters with heart and humanity. Altogether, an excellent interpretation of one of Baldwin’s demonstration of how the world doesn’t see us all as equal.
Story: Jordan Clark Art: Nicole Miles
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.6 Overall: 9.7 Recommendation: Buy