A Talk to Teachers Questions and Answers
by James Baldwin

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What is the "crucial paradox" mentioned in the second paragraph of James Baldwin's "A Talk to Teachers"?

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James Baldwin was an American writer and social critic. He grew up in Harlem and became disillusioned with American society and its racial inequalities. He moved to France but returned to the United States and became a political activist during the height of the civil rights movement. 

His speech, entitled "A Talk to Teachers," was published in The Saturday Review in December of 1963. In the speech, he talks about the change that responsible citizens must foster in order for society to move forward and heal the wounds of the past. The crucial paradox that he speaks of is found in the second paragraph of the speech: 

"It would seem to me that when a child is born, if I'm the child's parent, it is my obligation and my high duty to civilize that child. Man is a social animal. He cannot exist without a Society. A society, in turn, depends on certain things which everyone within that societv takes for granted. Now, the crucial paradox which confronts us here is that the whole process of...

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