Race Relations Quotes

Quotes tagged as "race-relations" Showing 1-30 of 509
Martin Luther King Jr.
“I have a dream that one day little black boys and girls will be holding hands with little white boys and girls.”
Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream

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

Audre Lorde
“Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

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

Malcolm X
“It's just like when you've got some coffee that's too black, which means it's too strong. What do you do? You integrate it with cream, you make it weak. But if you pour too much cream in it, you won't even know you ever had coffee. It used to be hot, it becomes cool. It used to be strong, it becomes weak. It used to wake you up, now it puts you to sleep.”
Malcolm X

Colson Whitehead
“And America, too, is a delusion, the grandest one of all. The white race believes--believes with all its heart--that it is their right to take the land. To kill Indians. Make war. Enslave their brothers. This nation shouldn't exist, if there is any justice in the world, for its foundations are murder, theft, and cruelty. Yet here we are.”
Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

Kathryn Stockett
“We are just two people. Not that much separates us. Not nearly as much as I'd thought.”
Kathryn Stockett, The Help

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

Colson Whitehead
“Slavery is a sin when whites were put to the yoke, but not the African. All men are created equal, unless we decide you are not a man.”
Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

James Baldwin
“There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them. And I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love. For these innocent people have no other hope. They are, in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. They have had to believe for many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men. Many of them, indeed, know better, but, as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Martin Luther King Jr.
“Three hundred years of humiliation, abuse and deprivation cannot be expected to find voice in a whisper.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Why We Can't Wait

Audre Lorde
“Some problems we share as women, some we do not. You fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you; we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs on the reasons they are dying.”
Audre Lorde

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 Baldwin
“There appears to be a vast amount of confusion on this point, but I do not know many Negroes who are eager to be "accepted" by white people, still less to be loved by them; they, the blacks, simply don't wish to be beaten over the head by the whites every instant of our brief passage on this planet. White people in this country will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this -- which will not be tomorrow and will not be today and may very well be never -- the Negro problem will no longer exist, for it will no longer be needed.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Ikkyu
“sick of it whatever it's called sick of the names
I dedicate every pore to what's here”
Ikkyu

Rebecca Skloot
“When he asked if she was okay, her eyes welled with tears and she said, “Like I’m always telling my brothers, if you gonna go into history, you can’t do it with a hate attitude. You got to remember, times was different.”
Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

James   McBride
“Whatever he believed, he believed. It didn’t matter to him whether it was really true or not. He just changed the truth till it fit him. He was a real white man.”
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird

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
“The time has come to realize that the interracial drama acted out on the American continent has not only created a new black man, it has created a new white man, too. No road whatever will lead Americans back to the simplicity of this European village where white men still have the luxury of looking on me as a stranger. I am not, really, a stranger any longer for any American alive. One of the things that distinguishes Americans from other people is that no other people has ever been so deeply involved in the lives of black men, and vice versa. This fact faced, with all its implications, it can be seen that the history of the American Negro problem is not merely shameful, it is also something of an achievement. For even when the worst has been said, it must also be added that the perpetual challenge posed by this problem was always, somehow, perpetually met. It is precisely this black-white experience which may prove of indispensable value to us in the world we face today. This world is white no longer, and it will never be white again.”
James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son

Paul Robeson
“This is the basis, and I am not being tried for whether I am a Communist, I am being tried for fighting for the right of my people, who are still second-class citizens in this United States of America”
Paul Robeson

James Baldwin
“For, you see, he had found his center, his own center, inside him: and it showed. He wasn’t anybody’s nigger. And that’s a crime, in this fucking free country. You’re suppose to be somebody’s nigger. And if you’re nobody’s nigger, you’re a bad nigger: and that’s what the cops decided when Fonny moved downtown.”
James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk

Dick Gregory
“I was learning that just being a Negro doesn't qualify you to understand the race situation any more than being sick makes you an expert on medicine.”
Dick Gregory

Paul Beatty
“I understand now that the only time black people don't feel guilty is when we've actually done something wrong, because that relieves us of the cognitive dissonance of being black and innocent, and in a way the prospect of going to jail becomes a relief.”
Paul Beatty, The Sellout

Clotye Murdock Larsson
“Intermarriage is one of the most provocative words in the English language”
Clotye Murdock Larsson, Marriage Across the Color Line

John             Lewis
“We are involved now in a serious revolution. This nation is still a place of cheap political leaders who build their careers on immoral compromises and ally themselves with open forms of political, economic and social exploitation. What political leader here can stand up and say, "My party is the party of principles?”
John Lewis, March: Book Two

James Baldwin
“The question is really a kind of apathy and ignorance, which is the price we pay for segregation. That’s what segregation means. You don’t know what’s happening on the other side of the wall, because you don’t want to know.”
James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro

Kay Redfield Jamison
“As best I could make out, having never heard the term until I arrived in California, being a WASP meant being mossbacked, lockjawed, rigid, humorless, cold, charmless, insipid, less than penetratingly bright, but otherwise---and inexplicably---to be envied.”
Kay Redfield Jamison, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness

“What does it mean when I say that 'I don't see race?' It means that because I learned to see no difference between 'white' and 'color,' I have white-washed my own sense of self. It means that I know more about what it is to be a white person than what it is to be Asian, and I am a stranger among both.”
Michi Trota

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