Whites Quotes

Quotes tagged as "whites" (showing 1-30 of 37)
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 Baldwin
“And if the word integration means anything, this is what it means: that we, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it. 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.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“You have been cast into a race in which the wind is always at your face and the hounds are always at your heels. And to varying degrees this is true of all life. The difference is that you do not have the privilege of living in ignorance of this essential fact.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

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

Colson Whitehead
“White man trying to kill you slow every day, and sometimes trying to kill you fast. Why make it easy for him? That was one kind of work you could say no to.”
Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad

Thelonious Monk
“They tried to get me to hate white people, but someone would always come along & spoil it.”
Thelonious Monk

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

Sherman Alexie
“The white people always want to fight someone and they always get the dark-skinned people to do the fighting.”
Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“Through The Mecca I saw that we were, in our own segregated body politic, cosmopolitans. The black diaspora was not just our own world but, in so many ways, the Western world itself.

Now, the heirs of those Virginia planters could never directly acknowledge this legacy or reckon with its power. And so that beauty that Malcolm pledged us to protect, black beauty, was never celebrated in movies, in television, or in the textbooks I’d seen as a child. Everyone of any import, from Jesus to George Washington, was white. This was why your grandparents banned Tarzan and the Lone Ranger and toys with white faces from the house. They were rebelling against the history books that spoke of black people only as sentimental “firsts”—first black five-star general, first black congressman, first black mayor—always presented in the bemused manner of a category of Trivial Pursuit. Serious history was the West, and the West was white. This was all distilled for me in a quote I once read from the novelist Saul Bellow. I can’t remember where I read it, or when—only that I was already at Howard. “Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus?” Bellow quipped. Tolstoy was “white,” and so Tolstoy “mattered,” like everything else that was white “mattered.” And this view of things was connected to the fear that passed through the generations, to the sense of dispossession. We were black, beyond the visible spectrum, beyond civilization. Our history was inferior because we were inferior, which is to say our bodies were inferior. And our inferior bodies could not possibly be accorded the same respect as those that built the West. Would it not be better, then, if our bodies were civilized, improved, and put to some legitimate Christian use?”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Alice Walker
“We do not admire their president.
We know why the White House is white.
We do not find their children irresistible;
We do not agree they should inherit the earth.”
Alice Walker, Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful: Poems

Pascal Bruckner
“The critical spirit rises up against itself and consumes its form. But instead of coming out of this process greater and purified, it devours itself in a kind of self-cannibalism and takes a morose pleasure in annihilating itself. Hyper-criticism eventuates in self-hatred, leaving behind it only ruins. A new dogma of demolition is born out of the rejection of dogmas. Thus we euro-americans are supposed to have only one obligation: endlessly atoning for what we have inflicted on other parts of humanity. How can we fail to see that this leads us to live off self-denunciation while taking a strange pride in being the worst? Self-denigration is all too clearly a form of indirect self-glorification. Evil can come only from us; other people are motivated by sympathy, good will, candor. This is the paternalism of the guilty conscience: seeing ourselves as the kings of infamy is still a way of staying on the crest of history.”
Pascal Bruckner, The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism

“Only a few days after my encounter with the police, two patrolmen tackled Alton Sterling onto a car, then pinned him down on the ground and shot him in the chest while he was selling CDs in front of a convenience store, seventy-five miles up the road in Baton Rouge. A day after that, Philando Castile was shot in the passenger seat of his car during a police traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, as his girlfriend recorded the aftermath via Facebook Live.

Then, the day after Castile was killed, five policemen were shot dead by a sniper in Dallas. It felt as if the world was subsumed by cascades of unceasing despair. I mourned for the family and friends of Sterling and Castille. I felt deep sympathy for the families of the policemen who died. I also felt a real fear that, as a result of what took place in Dallas, law enforcement would become more deeply entrenched in their biases against black men, leading to the possibility of even more violence.

The stream of names of those who have been killed at the hands of the police feels endless, and I become overwhelmed when I consider all the names we do not know—all of those who lost their lives and had no camera there to capture it, nothing to corroborate police reports that named them as threats. Closed cases. I watch the collective mourning transpire across my social-media feeds. I watch as people declare that they cannot get out of bed, cannot bear to go to work, cannot function as a human being is meant to function. This sense of anxiety is something I have become unsettlingly accustomed to. The familiar knot in my stomach. The tightness in my chest. But becoming accustomed to something does not mean that it does not take a toll. Systemic racism always takes a toll, whether it be by bullet or by blood clot.”
Clint Smith

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“We are captured, brother, surrounded by the majoritarian bandits of America. And this has happened here, in our only home, and the terrible truth is that we cannot will ourselves to an escape on our own. Perhaps that was, is, the hope of the movement: to awaken the Dreamers, to rouse them to the facts of what their need to be white, to talk like they are white, to think that they are white, which is to think that they are beyond the design flaws of humanity, has done to the world.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates
“The black world was expanding before me, and I could see now that that world was more than a photonegative of that of the people who believe they are white. "White America" is a syndicate arrayed to protect its exclusive power to dominate and control our bodies. Sometimes this power is direct (lynching), and sometimes it is insidious (redlining). But however it appears, the power of domination and exclusion is central to the belief in being white, and without it, "white people" would cease to exist for want of reasons.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

Larry McMurtry
“Afterwards the members of the little war party felt fine. Torturing whites was a splendid way to spend the afternoon.”
Larry McMurtry, The Last Kind Words Saloon

Paul Beatty
“The bus here because they lost Rosa Parks's bus."

"Who lost Rosa Parks's bus?"

"White people. Who the fuck else? Supposedly, every February when schoolkids visit the Rosa Parks Museum, or wherever the fuck the bus is at, the bus they tell the kids is the birthplace of the civil rights movement is a phony. Just some old Birmingham city bus they found in some junkyard. That's what my sister says, anyway."

"I don't know."

Cuz took two deep swallows of gin. "What you mean, 'You don't know'? You think that after Rosa Parks bitch-slapped white America, some white rednecks going to go out of their way to save the original bus? That'd be like the Celtics hanging Magic Johnson's jersey in the rafters of the Boston Garden. No fucking way.”
Paul Beatty, The Sellout

Orlando Figes
“Whereas land reform was the first act of the Bolsheviks, it was the last act of the Whites: that, in a peasant country, says it all.”
Orlando Figes, A People's Tragedy: The Russian Revolution: 1891-1924

James Baldwin
“The only thing white people have that black people need, or should want, is power--and no one holds power forever. White people cannot, in the generality, be taken as models of how to live. Rather, the white man is himself in sore need of new standards, which will release him from his confusion and place him once again in fruitful communion with the depths of his own being.”
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

“The sure guaranty of the peace and security of each race is the clear, distinct, unconditional recognition by our governments, national and state, of every right that inheres in civil freedom, and of the equality before the law of all citizens of the United States, without regard to race. State enactments regulating the enjoyment of civil rights upon the basis of race, and cunningly devised to defeat legitimate results of the war, under the pretense of recognizing equality of rights, can have no other result than to render permanent peace impossible, and to keep alive a conflict of races, the continuance of which must do harm to all concerned.”
John Marshall Harlan

“Sixty millions of whites are in no danger from the presence here of eight millions of blacks. The destinies of the two races, in this country, are indissolubly linked together, and the interests of both require that the common government of all shall not permit the seeds of race hate to be planted under the sanction of law.”
John Marshall Harlan

Enock Maregesi
“Afrika imekaliwa na mizimu. Wazungu hawataweza kumaliza mali ya Afrika. Mali ya Afrika ni ya Waafrika wenyewe. Itamalizwa na sisi wenyewe.”
Enock Maregesi

Mokokoma Mokhonoana
“Chances are that there are white people who brag about being the first to move out of a suburb that has been intruded by blacks.”
Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Michael Blake
“There is no bitterness in Wind In His Hair's heart," he began. "Our minds may choose different paths, but some part of every heart will always be as one. All my life I have been a warrior, and I will not change. I will not die as anything else.
"The whites have taken much from me. They have taken my brothers, my wives, my children. Now they want to take me off the earth upon which I walk. Maybe they will kill me now, and if they do, so be it. I will not take their hands. I will keep my ponies' tails tied up for war."

- Wind In His Hair”
Michael Blake, The Holy Road

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

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

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

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