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Shirley Chisholm quotes Showing 1-30 of 39

“When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.”
Shirley Chisholm
“The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: "It's a girl.”
Shirley Chisholm
“If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
Shirley Chisholm
“In the end anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing: anti-humanism.”
Shirley Chisholm
“Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread, and deep-seated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.”
Shirley Chisholm
“You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.”
Shirley Chisholm
“Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth.”
Shirley Chisholm
“I am and always will be a catalyst for change.”
Shirley Chisholm
“Political organizations are formed to keep the powerful in power. Their first rule is “don’t rock the boat.” If someone makes trouble and you can get him, do it. If you can’t get him, bring him in. Give him some of the action, let him have a taste of power. Power is all anyone wants, and if he has a promise of it as a reward for being good, he’ll be good. Anyone who does not play by those rules is incomprehensible to most politicians.”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought And Unbossed
“No matter what men think, abortion is a fact of life. Women have always had them; they always have and they always will. Are they going to have good ones or bad ones? Will the good ones be reserved for the rich, while the poor women go to quacks?”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought And Unbossed
“My God, what do we want? What does any human being want? Take away an accident of pigmentation of a thin layer of our outer skin and there is no difference between me and anyone else. All we want is for that trivial difference to make no difference. What can I say to a man who asks that? All I can do is try to explain to him why he asks the question. You have looked at us for years as different from you that you may never see us really. You don’t understand because you think of us as second-class humans. We have been passive and accommodating through so many years of your insults and delays that you think the way things used to be is normal. When the good-natured, spiritual-singing boys and girls rise up against the white man and demand to be treated like he is, you are bewildered. All we want is what you want, no less and no more. (Chapter 13).”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought And Unbossed
“…My present attitude toward politics as it is practiced in the United States: it is a beautiful fraud that has been imposed on the people for years, whose practitioners exchange gilded promises for the most valuable thing their victims own, their votes. And who benefits most? The lawyers. (Chapter 4)”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought And Unbossed
“When the Kerner Commission told white America what black America has always known, that prejudice and hatred built the nation’s slums, maintains them and profits by them, white America could not believe it. But it is true. Unless we start to fight and defeat the enemies in our own country, poverty and racism, and make our talk of equality and opportunity ring true, we are exposed in the eyes of the world as hypocrites when we talk about making people free - (Chapter 9).”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought And Unbossed
“Women in this country must become revolutionaries. We must refuse to accept the old, the traditional roles and stereotypes…We must replace the old, negative thoughts about our femininity with positive thoughts and positive action affirming it, and more. But we must also remember that we will be breaking with tradition, and so we must prepare ourselves educationally, economically, and psychologically in order that we will be able to accept and bear with the sanctions that society will immediately impose upon us.”
Shirley Chisholm
“We must reject not only the stereotypes that others hold of us, but also the stereotypes that we hold of ourselves.”
Shirley Chisholm
“Be as bold as the first man or [woman] to eat an oyster. ”
Shirley Chisholm
“I am not the candidate of black America, although I am black and proud; I am not the candidate of the women's movement of this country, although I am a woman and I am equally proud of that. I am the candidate of the people of America. And my presence before you now symbolizes a new era in American political history.”
Shirley Chisholm
“It is incomprehensible to me, the fear that can affect men in political offices. It is shocking the way they submit to forces they know are wrong and fail to stand up for what they believe. Can their jobs be so important to them, their pres- tige, their power, their privileges so important that they will cooperate in the degradation of our society just to hang on to those jobs?”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed
“It is true that women have seldom been aggressive in de- manding their rights and so have cooperated in their own enslavement. This was true of the black population for many years. They submitted to oppression, and even condoned it. But women are becoming aware, as blacks did, that they can have equal treatment if they will fight for it, and they are starting to organize. To do it, they have to dare the sanctions that society imposes on anyone who breaks with its traditions. This is hard, and especially hard for women, who are taught not to rebel from infancy, from the time they are first wrapped in pink blankets, the color of their caste.”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed
“Lincoln didn’t just end slavery. King didn’t just dream segregation away. Parks didn’t just get tired one day. It is often the unrecognized actions of previous generations that push a society to eventually embrace mantras such as hope, equality, change, and other ideals, which transform the political landscape. Chisholm's actions remind us that there are hundreds of forgotten foot soldiers in history that helped to bring these watershed moments to fruition. For”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed
“The one thing you’ve got going: your one vote.”
Shirley Chisholm
“Liberty and justice for all" were beautiful words, but the ugly fact was that liberty and justice were only for white males.”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed
“The next time a woman of whatever color, or a dark-skinned person of whatever sex aspires to be president, the way should be a little smoother because I helped pave it”
Shirley Chisholm
“From the beginning I felt that there were only two ways to create change for black people in this country — either politically or by open armed revolution. Malcolm defined it succinctly — the ballot or the bullet. Since I believe that human life is uniquely valuable and important, for me the choice had to be the creative use of the ballot. I still believe I was right. I hope America never succeeds in changing my mind.  ”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed
“It is not female egotism to say that the future of mankind may very well be ours to determine. It is a fact. The warmth, gentleness, and compassion that are part of the female stereo- type are positive human values, values that are becoming more and more important as the values of our world begin to                                shatter and fall from our grasp.”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed
“The most tragic error into which older people can fall is one that is common among educators and politicians. It is to use youth as scapegoats for the sins of their elders.”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed
“Power and influence in Congress," he explained, "are not obtained by promoting one's own measures. They come either from blocking measures others want enacted or sup-                                     porting measures others oppose. As a member of the Agricul- ture Committee, Mrs. Chisholm would have been in an ideal position to make her presence felt. Without offending her own constituents, she could have voted against all of the bills introduced for the benefit of farmers. At the same time she could have introduced bills to scuttle price supports and other farm programs. Before long, farm belt congressmen would have been knocking on her door, asking favors." That kind of long-range Machiavellian strategy may be fine for a white, mid-western congressman whose district has more cows than voters, and who has all the time in the world to try to work himself up to that comfortable share of power that a House member can achieve if he plays by the rules, makes his district "safe," and lives long enough. What I can never forget, and what my friend the reporter apparently never knew, is that there are children in my district who will not live long enough for me to play it the way he proposes.”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed
“Some fine men are in Congress, too few, trying to do a responsible job. But they are surrounded and almost neutralized by a greater number whose instinct is to make a deal before they make a decision.”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed
“Botched abortions are the largest single cause of death of
pregnant women in the United States, particularly among
nonwhite women. In 1964, the president of the New York
County Medical Society, Dr. Carl Goldmark, estimated that
80 percent of the deaths of gravid women in Manhattan were
from this cause.”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed
“Thousands like me kept saying,
"Let us in a little. Give us a piece of the pie." What hap-
pened? Watts, Newark, Hartford. And what was the re-
action? We started to hear a new jargon about "the urban
crisis" and "law and order" and "crime in the streets.”
Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed

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