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Trevor Noah quotes Showing 271-300 of 358

“I prided myself on being the ultimate prankster. Every teacher at school used overhead projectors to put their notes up on the wall during class. One day I went around and took the magnifying glass out of every projector in every classroom. Another time I emptied a fire extinguisher into the school piano, because I knew we were going to have a performance at assembly the next day. The pianist sat down and played the first note and, foomp!, all this foam exploded out of the piano. The two things I loved most were fire and knives.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“It’s easy to be judgmental about crime when you live in a world wealthy enough to be removed from it. But the hood taught me that everyone has different notions of right and wrong, different definitions of what constitutes crime, and what level of crime they’re willing to participate in. If a crackhead comes through and he’s got a crate of Corn Flakes boxes he’s stolen out of the back of a supermarket, the poor mom isn’t thinking, I’m aiding and abetting a criminal by buying these Corn Flakes. No. She’s thinking, My family needs food and this guy has Corn Flakes, and she buys the Corn Flakes.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime
“So many black families spend all of their time trying to fix the problems of the past. That is the curse of being black and poor, and it is a curse that follows you from generation to generation. My mother calls it "the black tax.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“Why show him the world when he’s never going to leave the ghetto?”
“Because,” she would say, “even if he never leaves the ghetto, he will know that the ghetto is not the world. If that is all I accomplish, I’ve done enough.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“In Germany, no child finishes high school without learning about the Holocaust. Not just the facts of it but the how and the why and the gravity of it—what it means. As a result, Germans grow up appropriately aware and apologetic. British schools treat colonialism the same way, to an extent. Their children are taught the history of the Empire with a kind of disclaimer hanging over the whole thing. “Well, that was shameful, now wasn’t it?”
In South Africa, the atrocities of apartheid have never been taught that way. We weren’t taught judgment or shame. We were taught history the way it’s taught in America. In America, the history of racism is taught like this: “There was slavery and then there was Jim Crow and then there was Martin Luther King Jr. and now it’s done.” It was the same for us. “Apartheid was bad. Nelson Mandela was freed. Let’s move on.” Facts, but not many, and never the emotional or moral dimension. It was as if the teachers, many of whom were white, had been given a mandate. “Whatever you do, don’t make the kids angry.”
Trevor Noah
“Relationships are build in the silences.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“It’s such a strange thing, but in two years of hustling I never once thought of it as a crime. I honestly didn’t think it was bad. It’s just stuff people found. White people have insurance. Whatever rationalization was handy. In society, we do horrible things to one another because we don’t see the person it affects. We don’t see their face. We don’t see them as people. Which was the whole reason the hood was built in the first place, to keep the victims of apartheid out of sight and out of mind. Because if white people ever saw black people as human, they would see that slavery is unconscionable. We live in a world where we don’t see the ramifications of what we do to others, because we don’t live with them. It would be a whole lot harder for an investment banker to rip off people with subprime mortgages if he actually had to live with the people he was ripping off. If we could see one another’s pain and empathize with one another, it would never be worth it to us to commit the crimes in the first place.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime
“My mom never gave me an inch. Anytime I got in trouble it was tough love, lectures, punishment, and hidings. Every time. For every infraction. You get that with a lot of black parents. They’re trying to discipline you before the system does.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“In America, the history of racism is taught like this: 'There was slavery and then there was Jim Crow and then there was Martin Luther King Jr. and now it's done.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“That was my mom. Don’t fight the system. Mock the system.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“Now, when you shit, as you first sit down, you’re not fully in the experience yet. You are not yet a shitting person. You’re transitioning from a person about to shit to a person who is shitting. You don’t whip out your smartphone or a newspaper right away. It takes a minute to get the first shit out of the way and get in the zone and get comfortable. Once you reach that moment, that’s when it gets really nice. It’s a powerful experience, shitting. There’s something magical about it, profound even. I think God made humans shit in the way we do because it brings us back down to earth and gives us humility. I don’t care who you are, we all shit the same. Beyoncé shits. The pope shits. The Queen of England shits. When we shit we forget our airs and our graces, we forget how famous or how rich we are. All of that goes away. You are never more yourself than when you are taking a shit. You have a moment where you realize "This is me, this is who I am". You can pee without giving it a second thought, but not so with shitting. Have you ever looked in a baby's eyes when it's shitting? It's having a moment of pure self-awareness.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“Because I don’t know how to hit a white child,” she said. “A black child, I understand. A black child, you hit them and they stay black. Trevor, when you hit him he turns blue and green and yellow and red. I’ve never seen those colors before. I’m scared I’m going to break him.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“I soon learned that the quickest way to bridge the race gap was through language.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“I cried so hard that if my present crying self could go back in time and see my other crying selves, it would slap them and say, “That shit’s not worth crying for.” My cry was not a cry of sadness. It was not catharsis. It wasn’t me feeling sorry for myself. It was an expression of raw pain that came from an inability of my body to express that pain in any other way, shape, or form. She was my mom. She was my teammate. It had always been me and her together, me and her against the world. When Andrew said, “shot her in the head,” I broke in two.”
Trevor Noah
“My mother’s greatest fear was that I would end up paying the black tax, that I would get trapped by the cycle of poverty and violence that came before me. She had always promised me that I would be the one to break that cycle.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“[I]t is easier to be an insider as an outsider than to be an outsider as an insider...You will face more hate and ridicule and ostracism than you can even begin to fathom. People are willing to accept you if they see you as an outsider trying to assimilate into their world. But when they see you as a fellow tribe member attempting to disavow the tribe, that is something they will never forgive.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to. “What if …” “If only …” “I wonder what would have …” You will never, never know, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days.”
Trevor Noah, Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“To maintain power in the face of the country’s rising and restless black majority, the government realized they needed a newer and more robust set of tools. They set up a formal commission to go out and study institutionalized racism all over the world. They went to Australia. They went to the Netherlands. They went to America. They saw what worked, what didn’t. Then they came back and published a report, and the government used that knowledge to build the most advanced system of racial oppression known to man. Apartheid was a police state,”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“It's a powerful experience, shitting. There's something magical about it, profound even. I think God made humans shit in the way we do because it brings us back down to earth and gives us humility. I don't care who you are, we all shit the same. Beyonce shits. The pope shits. The Queen of England shits. When we shit we forget our airs and our graces, we forget how famous or how rich we are. All of that goes away. You are never more yourself than when you're taking a shit. You have that moment where you realize, 'This is me. This is who I am.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“Relationships are built into the silences.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
“They’ve sent him to a decent school; maybe he’s even matriculated. He has been given more potential, but he has not been given more opportunity.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“So, for many young men in South Africa’s townships, freedom looks like this: Every morning they wake up, maybe their parents go to work or maybe not. Then they go outside and chill on the corner the whole day, talking shit. They’re free, they’ve been taught how to fish, but no one will give them a fishing rod.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“There was an undercurrent of terror that ran through the house, but the actual beatings themselves were not that frequent. I think if they had been, the situation would have ended sooner. Ironically, the good times in between were what allowed it to drag out and escalate as far as it did.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“What I do remember, what I will never forget, is the violence that followed. The triumph of democracy over apartheid is sometimes called the Bloodless Revolution. It is called that because very little white blood was spilled. Black blood ran in the streets.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” He was so right. When you make the effort to speak someone else’s language, even if it’s just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them, “I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“Racism exists. People are getting hurt, and just because it’s not happening to you doesn’t mean it’s not happening. And at some point, you have to choose. Black or white. Pick a side. You can try to hide from it.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“My family had been denied the things his family had taken for granted. I had a natural talent for selling to people, but without knowledge and resources, where was that going to get me? People always lecture the poor: “Take responsibility for yourself! Make something of yourself!” But with what raw materials are the poor to make something of themselves? People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“I think God made humans shit in the way we do because it brings us back down to earth and gives us humility. I don’t care who you are, we all shit the same. Beyoncé shits. The pope shits. The Queen of England shits. When we shit we forget our airs and our graces, we forget how famous or how rich we are. All of that goes away.”
Trevor Noah, Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“For the first time in my life I had money, and it was the most liberating thing in the world. The first thing I learned about having money was that it gives you choices. People don’t want to be rich. They want to be able to choose. The richer you are, the more choices you have. That is the freedom of money.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
“And that’s the problem with the world. We have people who cannot police themselves, so they want to police everyone else around them.”
Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood


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