While researching the characteristics which should be obtained by a desirable cosmopolitan person it is necessary to examine the idea of cosmopolitanism in general and find out how James Baldwin regarded it in his essay Stranger In The Village. According to several dictionary definitions it is possible to define cosmopolitanism as a human ideology stating that all humans of different nations and from different parts of the world should be united into one community assembled by the common morality. The aspect of such morality considered by Baldwin in his essay was building relations between people of different races. The author tried to examine deeply the reasons of the great difference in social position of white and black people, and offered some decisions which would help to stop the human race conflicts. In such case, probably, creating a cosmopolitan society would be an appropriate way to soothe the conflicts. In order to create such society the citizens’ conscious should be influenced so that they can live together and in close proximity regardless their ethnicities, cultural or religious views and all the more regardless their appearance. Therefore, several characteristics of a cosmopolitan society citizen mentioned by Baldwin in his Stranger In The Village are to be regarded further.
The first one is the person’s identity. James Baldwin in his essay showed how lonely the member of the society can feel if he is different from others, especially if he is a black American. There are complicated reasons for this among which the first one is that the “American Negro slave remains related to his past”, which reminds about the slave-owners and slaves (Baldwin). He drew a parallel between the Swiss village and America and showed that the difference is very small: no matter that the black man is not a stranger, white people always meet him with hostility. Therefore, Baldwin states that the white people still try to show their eminence and behave as if they are masters while black people only after many generations will manage to finally “establish his identity” (Baldwin). Supporting his idea it is necessary to highlight that in every society nowadays a person’s identity is of great importance for his self-realization, self-esteem and finally behavior among other people and his attitude to them.
Except for the identity, which should be established and possessed by each citizen of the society and respected by others, hope is very important for a member of a cosmopolitan society. Baldwin stated that only hope can enable people to “triumph over life” and to “raise above themselves” (Baldwin). Though people should not raise over each other, they should raise above themselves to make the right choice in different situations, to perceive the norms and rules and to become aware of their place in the society. In the world which is often cruel and unfair hope can cause the moral values of a person appear or can not let them disappear; and only a person who has moral values can be tolerant and kind, and live in peace and conciliation with others.
The third characteristic of the cosmopolitan person according to Baldwin is being faithful to his beliefs. As it was already mentioned, morality is the basis of the cosmopolitan society; and Baldwin states that “morality is based on ideas” (Baldwin). Consequently, all actions are evoked by people’s beliefs and ideas. Nevertheless, he also states that to betray a belief and cease believing is not the same thing; ceasing to believe is inadmissible for a cosmopolitan person (Baldwin). Only those people, who believe and look in future, can create the united, solid society with a friendly and equal atmosphere.
Consequently, it is obvious that the members of a cosmopolitan society must be conscious and responsible. The religiously, racially, ethnically equality can be reached if the citizens have high moral values, have hope, follow their beliefs. Another important characteristic, as it was mentioned above, is established people’s identity. In order to be treated as equal people have to realize their moral and human obligations and have common for all beliefs and mutual respect.
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