Racism In America Quotes

Quotes tagged as "racism-in-america" (showing 1-30 of 180)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Race doesn't really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don't have that choice.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

Werley Nortreus
“This world that we live in would be perfect if there were less prejudice and people who think they are better than others.”
Werley Nortreus

“Conversations on racism should never be about winning.”
Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race

“There are turning points in everyone's life when we have to fight, even if we have to do it by ourselves and in public.”
Junius Williams, Unfinished Agenda: Urban Politics in the Era of Black Power

Jeanne Theoharis
“There has been a tendency to personify racism in the figure of a working-class white redneck who dislikes Black people and spouts hateful things, as opposed to a middle-or upper-class white person who might decry such hatefulness but still embraces racially unjust policies.”
Jeanne Theoharis, A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History

“I hope that if parts of this book make you uncomfortable, you can sit with that discomfort for awhile to see if it has anything else to offer you.”
Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race

Tahereh Mafi
“I was stuck in another small town, trapped in another universe populated by the kind of people who’d only ever seen faces like mine on their evening news, and I hated it.”
Tahereh Mafi, A Very Large Expanse of Sea

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“A separate society within America would depend on the mechanisms of American wealth creation, and wealth in America has never been created in absence of government policy, of banks willing to lend and a justice system willing to protect, and so this separatist nationalism revealed itself to be as flawed as integration, in that it, too, ultimately depended on the good graces of white people.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

Richard Wright
“Not only had he lived where they told him to live, not only had he done what they told him to do, not only had he done these things until he had killed to be quit of them ; but even after obeying, after killing, they still ruled him. He was their property, heart and soul, body and blood ; what they did claimed every atom of him, sleeping and waking...”
Richard Wright, Native Son

“Because it benefits us not to do so, we have a very limited understanding of racism.”
Robin DiAngelo, What Does It Mean to Be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy

Jeanne Theoharis
“Many white Northerners wielded their power and voting pressure at home, even as they might have pressed for desegregation in the South, understanding that you didn't need a governor at a schoolhouse door if you had the Board of Education officials constantly readjusting school zoning lines to maintain segregated schools. You didn't need a burning cross if the bank used maps made by the Federal Housing Authority to mark Black neighborhoods as "dangerous" for investment and deny Black people home loans. You didn't need white vigilantes if the police were willing to protect and serve certain communities while containing and controlling others.”
Jeanne Theoharis, A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History

Jeanne Theoharis
“But if racism is pictured as parents asserting their rights as taxpayers & questioning whether the Brown decision applies to "their schools"; if it is shown in calls for more "law & order" & "fiscal responsibility"; if it is demonstrated in the lack of public will to address differentials in resources & services in schools, streets, policing & housing; if it is revealed in the kinds of issues the news media chooses not to cover; if it is illustrated in who stays silent when inequality is brought to light--then it raises questions about where we are today.”
Jeanne Theoharis, A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History

“Denying that race matters is irrational in the face of segregation and all of the other forms of obvious racial inequity in society. It is even more irrational to believe that it is whites who are at the receiving end of discrimination. Maintaining this denial of reality takes tremendous emotional and psychic energy.”
Robin DiAngelo, What Does It Mean to Be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy

“Our police force was not created to serve black Americans; it was created to police black Americans and serve white Americans.”
Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race

“Our police forces were created not to protect Americans of color, but to control Americans of color.”
Ijeoma Oluo, So You Want to Talk About Race

“We see race as what people of color have (or are.) If people of color are not present, race is not present. Further, if people of color are not present, not only is race absent, so is that terrible thing: racism. Ironically, this positions racism as something people of color have and bring to whites, rather than a system which whites control and impose on people of color.”
Robin DiAngelo, What Does It Mean to Be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Jewish guy did not know this, but 'oppression olympics' is what smart liberal Americans say, to make you feel stupid and to make you shut up.”
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

“Religion is divisive. People kill because of it. I think one day religion will be seen as just as intolerant and wrong as racism.”
Oliver Markus Malloy, Bad Choices Make Good Stories - Finding Happiness in Los Angeles

Debby Irving
“The story emerging for me, however, tells a tale of black and brown people being held down so long that white folks have come to believe they got there on their own. The removal of legal barriers that once separated the races has done little to change the distorted belief system that lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of individuals. At this point, the only thing needed for racism to continue is for good people to do nothing.”
Debby Irving, Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race

Cornel West
“The new black conservatives assume that without affirmative action programs, white Americans will make choices on merit rather than on race. Yet they have adduced no evidence for this. Most Americans realize that job-hiring choices are made both on reasons of merit and on personal grounds. And it is this personal dimension that is often influenced by racist perceptions. Therefore the pertinent debate regarding black hiring is never "merit vs. race" but whether hiring decisions will be based on merit, influenced by race-bias against blacks, or on merit, influenced by race-bias, but with special consideration for minorities and women, as mandated by law. In light of actual employment practices, the black conservative rhetoric about race-free hiring criteria (usually coupled with a call for dismantling affirmative action mechanisms) does no more than justify actual practices of racial discrimination.”
Cornel West, Race Matters

“If, as a white person, I conceptualize racism as a binary and I see myself on the "not racist" side, what further action is required of me? No action is required at all, because I am not a racist. Therefore racism is not my problem; it doesn't concern me and there is nothing further I need to do. This guarantees that, as a member of the dominant group, I will not build my skills in thinking critically about racism or use my position to challenge racial inequality.”
Robin DiAngelo, What Does It Mean to Be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy

“Nowadays words like "Liberal" and "Muslim" are used by right-wing extremists in the same way as the word "Jew" was used by the right-wing extremists of Nazi Germany.”
Oliver Markus Malloy, Bad Choices Make Good Stories - Finding Happiness in Los Angeles

“There's a big overlap between conspiracy theorists, racists, gun nuts, doomsday preppers, fans of the rapture and poor white Republicans. They all have one thing in common: They feel like the oppressed underdogs.”
Oliver Markus Malloy, Bad Choices Make Good Stories - Finding Happiness in Los Angeles

James Baldwin
“For this is your home, my friend, do not be driven from it; great men have done great things here, and will again, and we can make America what America must become. It will be hard, James, but you come from sturdy, peasant stock, men who picked cotton and dammed rivers and built railroads, and, in the teeth of the most terrifying odds, achieved an unassailable and monumental dignity.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Walter Block
“In 1948, for example, when the effective minimum wage rate was much lower, and when racial prejudice was more widespread, marked, and virulent than today, white teenage unemployment in the U.S. was 10.2 percent, while black teenage unemployment was only 9.4 percent. Today [1979], in a much less discriminatory epoch, but where teenagers are “protected” by a more stringent minimum wage law, white youth unemployment is 13.9 percent, while black youth unemployment is an astounding and shameful 33.5 percent.”
Walter Block, The Case for Discrimination

Michelle Alexander
“Jim Crow and mass incarceration have similar political origins...both caste systems were born in part, due to desire among white elites to exploit the resentments, vulnerabilities and racial biases of poor and working-class whites for political or economic gain. Segregation laws were proposed as part of a deliberate and strategic effort to deflect anger and hostility that have been brewing against the white elite away from them and toward African Americans. The birth of mass incarceration can be traced to a similar political dynamic. Conservatives in the 1960s and 1970s sought to appeal to the racial biases and economic vulnerabilities of poor and working-class whites through racially coded rhetoric on crime and welfare. In both cases, the racial opportunists offered few, if any, economic reforms to address the legitimate economic anxieties of poor and working-class whites, proposing instead a crackdown on the racially defined "others." In the early years of Jim Crow, conservative white elites competed with each other by passing ever more stringent and oppressive Jim Crow legislation. A century later, politicians in the early years of the drug war competed with each other to prove who could be tougher on crime by passing ever harsher drug laws- a thinly veiled effort to appeal to poor and working-class whites who, once again, proved they were willing to forego economic and structural reform in exchange for an apparent effort to put blacks back "in their place.”
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Michelle Alexander
“Segregation laws were proposed as part of a deliberate effort to drive a wedge between poor whites and African Americans”
Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

“Patriotism is a gateway drug to fascism. Tribalism is the gateway to racism.”
Oliver Markus Malloy, Inside The Mind of an Introvert

Harriet Ann Jacobs
“I passed nearly a year in the family of Isaac and Amy Post, practical believers in the Christian doctrine of human brotherhood. They measured a man's worth by his character, not by his complexion.”
Harriet Ann Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself

Malcolm X
“American society makes it next to impossible for humans to meet in America and not be conscious of their color differences. And we both agreed that if racism could be removed, America could offer a society where rich and poor could truly live like human beings....The white man is not inherently evil, but America's racist society influences him to act evilly. The society has produced and nourishes a psychology which brings out the lowest, most base part of human beings.”
Malcolm X, The Autobiography of Malcolm X

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