Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.
An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future.
Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others.
I am not asking you as a white person to see yourself as an enslaver. I’m asking you as an American to see all of the freedoms that you enjoy and see how they are rooted in things that the country you belong to condoned or actively participated in the past.
What sets black people apart is not some deficit in personal responsibility. It’s the weight on our shoulders. That is what’s actually different. We have the weight and burden of history.
The best part of writing is not the communication of knowledge to other people, but the acquisition and synthesizing of knowledge for oneself.
What I’m talking about is more than recompense for past injustices—more than a handout, a payoff, hush money, or a reluctant bribe. What I’m talking about is a national reckoning that would lead to spiritual renewal. Reparations would mean the end of scarfing hot dogs on the Fourth of July while denying the facts of our heritage. Reparations would mean the end of yelling “patriotism” while waving a Confederate flag. Reparations would mean a revolution of the American consciousness, a reconciling of our self-image as the great democratizer with the facts of our history.
Never forget that we were enslaved in this country longer than we have been free. Never forget that for 250 years black people were born into chains-whole generations followed by more generations who knew nothing but chains.
[E]mpathy – not squishy self-serving conflict avoidance – is the hand-maiden, not the enemy, of reason and intellectual inquiry.
I did not know then that this is what life is – just when you master the geometry of one world, it slips away, and suddenly again, you’re swarmed by strange shapes and impossible angles.
I think the sad fact is, there’s a long history in this country at looking at African-American as subhuman. And I think that’s reflected in the fact that, when we have problems that really are problems of employment, that are really problems of mental health, that are really problems of drugs, our answer is the police.
Racism is, among other things, the unearned skepticism of one group of humans joined to the unearned sympathy for another.
When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse.
This feeling African-Americans have, this skepticism towards the police and the skepticism that the police show towards African-Americans is actually quite old. And it may be one of the most durable aspects of the relationship between black people and their country really in our history.
What I am telling you is that you do not need to know to love, and it is right that you feel it all in any moment. And it is right that you see it through–that you are amazed, then curious, then belligerent, then heartbroken, then numb. You have the right to all of it.
That’s not an accident that Donald Trump didn’t begin with, say, trade or jobs or anything, that he actually began by otherizing the first African-American president of the United States.
The essence of American racism is disrespect.
You can live in the world of myth and be taken seriously.
The standard progressive approach of the moment is to mix color-conscious moral invective with color-blind public policy.
When you have a policy of making sure that African Americans cannot build wealth, of plundering African American communities of wealth, giving opportunities to other people, it’s only right that you might want to, you know, pay that back.
Just because you came here in 1880, 1950, whenever, you became an American. You get to celebrate July 4th like every other American. You don’t just get the good part. You get the bad part, too. You get all of it.
To prevent enabling oppression, we demand that black people be twice as good. To prevent verifying stereotypes, we pledge to never eat a slice a watermelon in front of white people.
If George Washington crossing the Delaware matters, so must his ruthless pursuit of the runagate Oney Judge.
Barack Obama is the president of the United States of America. More specifically, Barack Obama is the president of a congenitally racist country, erected upon the plunder of life, liberty, labor, and land. This plunder has not been exclusive to black people. – Ta
The greatest reward of this constant interrogation, confrontation with the brutality of my country, is that it has freed me from hosts and myths.