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Ta-Nehisi Coates Quotes
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Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “A year after I watched the boy with the small eyes pull out a gun, my father beat me for letting another boy steal from me. Two years later, he beat me for threatening my ninth-grade teacher. Not being violent enough could cost me my body. Being too violent could cost me my body. We could not get out.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The Dream thrives on generalization, on limiting the number of possible questions, on privileging immediate answers.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The writer, and that was what I was becoming, must be wary of every Dream and every nation, even his own nation. Perhaps his own nation more than any other, precisely because it was his own.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “All my life I’d heard people tell their black boys and black girls to “be twice as good,” which is to say “accept half as much.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I was a curious boy, but the schools were not concerned with curiosity. They were concerned with compliance. I loved a few of my teachers. But I cannot say that I truly believed any of them.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I remember being amazed that death could so easily rise up from the nothing of a boyish afternoon, billow up like fog.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The problem with the police is not that they are fascist pigs but that our country is ruled by majoritarian pigs.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The essence of American racism is disrespect.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I believed, and still do, that our bodies are our selves, that my soul is the voltage conducted through neurons and nerves, and that my spirit is my flesh.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The killing fields of Chicago, of Baltimore, of Detroit, were created by the policy of Dreamers, but their weight, their shame, rests solely upon those who are dying in them. There is a great deception in this. To yell “black-on-black crime” is to shoot a man and then shame him for bleeding.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “There are people whom we do not fully know, and yet they live in a warm place within us, and when they are plundered, when they lose their bodies and the dark energy disperses, that place becomes a wound.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “There is no them without you, and without the right to break you they must necessarily fall from the mountain, lose their divinity, and tumble out of the Dream. And then they would have to determine how to build their suburbs on something other than human bones, how to angle their jails toward something other than a human stockyard, how to erect a democracy independent of cannibalism. But.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “My mother and father were always pushing me away from secondhand answers – even the answers they themselves believed. I don’t know that I have ever found any satisfactory answers of my own. But every time I ask it, the question is refined. That is the best of what the old heads meant when they spoke of being “politically conscious” – as much a series of actions as a state of being, a constant questioning, questioning as ritual, questioning as exploration rather than the search for certainty.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “To yell “black-on-black crime” is to shoot a man and then shame him for bleeding.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I kept thinking about how southern Manhattan had always been Ground Zero for us. They auctioned our bodies down there, in that same devastated, and rightly named, financial district. And there was once a burial ground for the auctioned there. They built a department store over part of it and then tried to erect a government building over another part.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I was young and love to me was a fuse that was lit, not a garden that was grown. Love was not concerned with any deep knowledge of its object, of their wants and dreams, but mainly with the joy felt in their presence and the sickness felt in their departure.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I came to see the streets and the schools as the arms of the same beast. One enjoyed the official power of the state while the other enjoyed its implicit sanction. But fear and violence were the weaponry of both.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “It is truly horrible to understand yourself as the essential below of your country. It breaks too much of what we would like to think about ourselves, our lives, the world we move through and the people who surround us. The struggle to understand is our only advantage over this madness.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “In accepting both the chaos of history and the fact of my total end, I was freed to truly consider how I wished to live – specifically, how do I live free in this black body?”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “But her beauty and stillness broke the balance in me. In my small apartment, she kissed me, and the ground opened up, swallowed me, buried me right there in that moment. How many awful poems did I write thinking of her? I know now what she was to me – the first glimpse of a space-bridge, a wormhole, a galactic portal off this bound and blind planet. She had seen other worlds, and she held the lineage of other worlds, spectacularly, in the vessel of her black body.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “It’s a cruel thing to do to children, to raise them as though they are siblings, and then set them against each other so that one shall be queen and the other shall be a footstool.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “It began to strike me that the point of my education was a kind of discomfort, was the process that would not award me my own especial Dream but would break all the dreams, all the comforting myths of Africa, of America, and everywhere, and would leave me only with humanity in all its terribleness. And there was so much terrible out there, even among us. You must understand this.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “We are all our beautiful bodies and so must never be prostrate before barbarians, must never submit our original self, our one of one, to defiling and plunder.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I grew up in a house drawn between love and fear. There was no room for softness. But this girl with the long dreads revealed something else – that love could be soft and understanding; that, soft or hard, love was an act of heroism.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Unfit for the schools, and in good measure wanting to be unfit for them, and lacking the savvy I needed to master the streets, I felt there could be no escape for me or, honestly, anyone else. The fearless boys and girls who would knuckle up, call on cousins and crews, and if it came to it, pull guns seemed to have mastered the streets. But their knowledge peaked at seventeen, when they ventured out of their parents’ homes and discovered that America had guns and cousins, too.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “You still believe the injustice was Michael Brown. You have not yet grappled with your own myths and narratives and discovered the plunder everywhere around us.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “You cannot forget how much they took from us and how they transfigured our very bodies into sugar, tobacco, cotton, and gold.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The point of this language of “intention” and “personal responsibility” is broad exoneration. Mistakes were made. Bodies were broken. People were enslaved. We meant well. We tried our best. “Good intention” is a hall pass through history, a sleeping pill that ensures the Dream.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Do not speak to me of martyrdom, of men who die to be remembered on some parish day. I don’t believe in dying though, I too shall die. And violets like castanets will echo me. SONIA SANCHEZ.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world. –.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “But we must tell our stories, and not be ensnared by them.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “But you are a black boy, and you must be responsible for your body in a way that other boys cannot know. Indeed, you must be responsible for the worst actions of other black bodies, which, somehow, will always be assigned to you.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Americans deify democracy in a way that allows for a dim awareness that they have, from time to time, stood in defiance of their God. But democracy is a forgiving God and America’s heresies – torture, theft, enslavement – are so common among individuals and nations that none can declare themselves immune.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Is the Jewish race thriftier than the Arab race?”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Black is beautiful – which is to say that the black body is beautiful, that black hair must be guarded against the torture of processing and lye, that black skin must be guarded against bleach, that our noses and mouths must be protected against modern surgery. We are all our beautiful bodies and so must never be prostrate before barbarians, must never submit our original self, our one of one, to defiling and plunder.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I am ashamed of how I acted that day, ashamed of endangering your body. But I am not ashamed because I am a bad father, a bad individual or ill mannered. I am ashamed that I made an error, knowing that our errors always cost us more.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “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 Quote: “At the onset of the Civil War, our stolen bodies were worth four billion dollars, more than all of American industry, all of American railroads, workshops, and factories combined, and the prime product rendered by our stolen bodies – cotton – was America’s primary export.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I have no God to hold me up. And I believe that when they shatter the body they shatter everything, and I knew that all of us – Christians, Muslims, atheists – lived in this fear of this truth.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Then the mother of the murdered boy rose, turned to you, and said, “You exist. You matter. You have value. You have every right to wear your hoodie, to play your music as loud as you want. You have every right to be you. And no one should deter you from being you. You have to be you. And you can never be afraid to be you.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “When the journalist asked me about my body, it was like she was asking me to awaken her from the most gorgeous dream. I have seen that dream all my life... The Dream smells like peppermint but tastes like strawberry shortcake. And for so long I have wanted to escape into the dream, to fold my country over my head like a blanket. But this has never been an option because the Dream rests on our backs, the bedding made from our bodies.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “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.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “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.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Black people love their children with a kind of obsession. You are all we have, and you come to us endangered. I think we would like to kill you ourselves before seeing you killed by the streets that America made. That is a philosophy of the disembodied, of a people who control nothing, who can protect nothing, who are made to fear not just the criminals among them but the police who lord over them with all the moral authority of a protection racket.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “We would prefer to say that such people cannot exist, that there aren’t any,” writes Solzhenitsyn. “To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good, or else that it’s a well-considered act in conformity with natural law.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The tree of our family was parted – branches here, roots there – parted for their lumber.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Specifically, the host wished to know why I felt that white America’s progress, or rather the progress of those Americans who believe that they are white, was built on looting and violence. Hearing this, I felt an old and indistinct sadness well up in me. The answer to this question is the record of the believers themselves. The answer is American history.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I don’t ever want to forget that resistance must be its own reward, since resistance, at least within the life span of the resistors, almost always fails.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “In this way, racism is rendered as the innocent daughter of Mother Nature, and one is left to deplore the Middle Passage or the Trail of Tears the way one deplores an earthquake, a tornado, or any other phenomenon that can be cast as beyond the handiwork of men.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “For Americans, the hardest part of paying reparations would not be the outlay of money. It would be acknowledging that their most cherished myth was not real.”
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