Blacks Quotes

Quotes tagged as "blacks" (showing 1-30 of 58)
Ta-Nehisi Coates
“I would not have you descend into your own dream. I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“You are growing into consciousness, and my wish for you is that you feel no need to constrict yourself to make other people comfortable.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“You must resist the common urge toward the comforting narrative of divine law, toward fairy tales that imply some irrepressible justice. The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance—no matter how improved—as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children. Our triumphs can never compensate for this.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“You may have heard the talk of diversity, sensitivity training, and body cameras. These are all fine and applicable, but they understate the task and allow the citizens of this country to pretend that there is real distance between their own attitudes and those of the ones appointed to protect them. The truth is that the police reflect America in all of its will and fear, and whatever we might make of this country’s criminal justice policy, it cannot be said that it was imposed by a repressive minority. The abuses that have followed from these policies—the sprawling carceral state, the random detention of black people, the torture of suspects—are the product of democratic will. And so to challenge the police is to challenge the American people who send them into the ghettos armed with the same self-generated fears that compelled the people who think they are white to flee the cities and into the Dream. The problem with the police is not that they are fascist pigs but that our country is ruled by majoritarian pigs.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Toni Morrison
“Whitepeople believed that whatever the manners, under every dark skin was a jungle. Swift unnavigable waters, swinging screaming baboons, sleeping snakes, red gums ready for their sweet white blood. In a way, he thought, they were right. The more coloredpeople spent their strength trying to convince them how gentle they were, how clever and loving, how human, the more they used themselves up to persuade whites of something Negroes believed could not be questioned, the deeper and more tangled the jungle grew inside. But it wasn’t the jungle blacks brought with them to this place from the other (livable) place. It was the jungle whitefolks planted in them. And it grew. It spread. In, through and after life, it spread, until it invaded the whites who had made it. Touched them every one. Changed and altered them. Made them bloody, silly, worse than even they wanted to be, so scared were they of the jungle they had made. The screaming baboon lived under their own white skin; the red gums were their own.”
Toni Morrison, Beloved

James Weldon Johnson
“It’s no disgrace to be black, but it’s often very inconvenient.”
James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

Toni Morrison
“Those white things have taken all I had or dreamed," she said, "and broke my heartstrings too. There is no bad luck in the world but whitefolks.”
Toni Morrison, Beloved

James Baldwin
“In the context of the Negro problem neither whites nor blacks, for excellent reasons of their own, have the faintest desire to look back; but I think that the past is all that makes the present coherent, and further, that the past will remain horrible for exactly as long as we refuse to assess it honestly.”
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“By the time I visited those battlefields, I knew that they had been retrofitted as the staging ground for a great deception, and this was my only security, because they could no longer insult me by lying to me. I knew—and the most important thing I knew was that, somewhere deep with them, they knew too. I like to think that knowing might have kept me from endangering you, that having understood and acknowledged the anger, I could control it. I like to think that it could have allowed me to speak the needed words to the woman and then walk away. I like to think this, but I can’t promise it. The struggle is really all I have for you because it is the only portion of this world under your control.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Rudy Francisco
“Being black is one of the most extreme sports in America.
We don't need to invent new ways of risking our lives
because the old ones have been working for decades.”
Rudy Francisco, Helium

Michela Wrong
“Bantu Philosophy: People cling to life and are not yet at the stage where they wil fight for the quality of that life. They feel as long as they are surviving, that is enough.”
Michela Wrong, In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in Mobutu's Congo
tags: blacks

“To be black in America is a wild and endless assault on the senses. You can spend every day fighting off your spiritual and intellectual extinction.”
Carvell Wallace

James Baldwin
“Yet, if the American Negro has arrived at his identity by virtue of the absoluteness of his estrangement from his past, American white men still nourish the illusion that there is some means of recovering the European innocence, of returning to a state in which black men do not exist. This is one of the greatest errors Americans can make. The identity they fought so hard to protect has, by virtue of that battle, undergone a change: Americans are as unlike any other white people in the world as it is possible to be. I do not think, for example, that it is too much to suggest that the American vision of the world-which allows so little reality, generally speaking, for any of the darker forces in human life, which tends until today to paint moral issues in glaring black and white owes a great deal to the battle waged by Americans to maintain between themselves and black men a human separation which could not be bridged. It is only now beginning to be borne in on us, very faintly, it must be admitted, very slowly, and very much against our will--that this vision of the world is dangerously inaccurate, and perfectly useless. For it protects our moral high-mindedness at the terrible expense of weakening our grasp of reality. People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.”
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

George Saunders
“Sir, if you are as powerful as I feel that you are, and as inclined toward us as you seem to be, endeavor to do something for us, so that we might do something for ourselves. We are ready, sir; are angry, are capable, our hopes are coiled up so tight as to be deadly, or holy: turn us loose, sir, let us at it, let us show what we can do.

--thomas havens”
George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo

Cristina García
“There are white people who know how to act politely to blacks, but deep down you know they're uncomfortable. They're worse, more dangerous than those who speak their minds, because they don't know what they're capable of.”
Cristina García, Dreaming in Cuban

“Oh Maker, what did they really say about your black creation? I think you made a beautiful work of art on a canvass of rebellion. Hey, Maker! We are still selling out!”
Chinonye J. Chidolue

Kiese Laymon
“I swear that white folks need to just shut the hell up sometimes. Y'all make it hard for everybody.”
Kiese Laymon, Long Division

Nella Larsen
“How stupid she had been ever to have thought that she could marry and perhaps have children in a land where every dark child was handicapped at the start by the shroud of color! She saw, suddenly, the giving birth to little, helpless, unprotesting Negro children as a sin, an unforgivable outrage. More black folk to suffer indignities. More dark bodies for mobs to lynch.”
Nella Larsen, The Complete Fiction of Nella Larsen: Passing, Quicksand, and the Stories

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“There are no clean victories for black people, nor, perhaps, for any people. The presidency of Barack Obama is no different. One can now say that an African American individual can rise to the same level as a white individual, and yet also say that the number of black individuals who actually qualify for that status will be small. One thinks of Serena Williams, whose dominance and stunning achievements can’t, in and of themselves, ensure equal access to tennis facilities for young black girls. The gate is open and yet so very far away.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates

James Weldon Johnson
“I can imagine no more dissatisfied human being than an educated, cultured, and refined colored man in the United States.”
James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

James Weldon Johnson
“Whenever I hear protests from the South that it should be left alone to deal with the Negro question, my thoughts go back to that scene of brutality and savagery. I do not see how a people that can find in its conscience any excuse whatever for slowly burning to death a human being, or for tolerating such an act, can be entrusted with the salvation of a race.”
James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

James Weldon Johnson
“The Southern whites are not yet living quite in the present age; many of their general ideas hark back to a former century, some of them to the Dark Ages. In the light of other days they are sometimes magnificent. Today they are often cruel and ludicrous.”
James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

James Weldon Johnson
“I had made my mind up that since I was not going to be a Negro, I would avail myself of every possible opportunity to make a white man's success; and that, if it can be summed up in any one word, means "money.”
James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man

Nikki Giovanni
“I always thought that would be really neat if black people ever got control of the United States we would, of course, tear down some of the statues because we just don't like them...like all of Richmond would probably not have a statue standing.”
Nikki Giovanni, Shimmy Shimmy Shimmy Like My Sister Kate: Looking At The Harlem Renaissance Through Poems

James Baldwin
“To smash something is the ghetto's chronic need. Most of the time it is the members of the ghetto who smash each other, and themselves. But as long as the ghetto walls are standing there will always come a moment when these outlets do not work.”
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

James Baldwin
“Perhaps it now occurs to him that in this need to establish himself in his relation to his past [the African American] is most American, that this depthless alienation from oneself and one's people is, in sum, the American experience.”
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

James Baldwin
“The rage of the disesteemed is personally fruitless, but it is also so absolutely inevitable; this rage, so generally discounted, so little understood even among the people whose daily bread it is, is one of the things that makes history. Rage can only with difficulty, and never entirely, be brought under the domination of the intelligence and is therefore not susceptible to any arguments whatever.”
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

James Baldwin
“Most people are not naturally reflective any more than they are naturally malicious, and the white man prefers to keep the black man at a certain human remove because it is easier for him thus to preserve his simplicity and avoid being called to account for crimes committed by his forefathers, or his neighbors.”
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

James Baldwin
“For the history of the American Negro is unique also in this: that the question of his humanity, and of his rights therefore as a human being, became a burning one for several generations of Americans, so burning a question that it ultimately became one of those used to divide the nation.”
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

James Baldwin
“At the root of the American Negro problem is the necessity of the American white man to find a way of living with the Negro in order to be able to live with himself.”
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

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