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Ta-Nehisi Coates Quotes
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Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The Civil War is a story for white people – acted out by white people, on white people’s terms – in which blacks feature strictly as stock characters and props.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “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.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Time would come when gold would outweigh blood. But this was still Virginia of old, where a dubious God held that those who would offer a man for sale were somehow more honorable than those who effected that sale.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others. Black America ever lives under that skeptical eye. Hence the old admonishments to be “twice as good.” Hence the need for a special “talk” administered to black boys about how to be extra careful when relating to the police.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “My understanding of the world was physical, and its moral arc bent toward chaos then concluded in a box.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “She’d gone from the warm quilt of memory to the cold library of fact.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “To be a black male is to be always at war, and no flight to the county can save us, because even there we are met by the assupmtion of violence, by the specter of who we might turn on next.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “There were distinct advantages to black atheism, to a disbelief in dreams and moral appeal. First, it removed the weight of believing that “white people,” en masse, were interested listeners. “White people,” en masse, are not. They are – like any other people – mostly self-interested, which is why mass appeals to conscience, minus some compelling, existential threat, generally end in disappointment.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The civil rights generation is exiting the American stage – not in a haze of nostalgia but in a cloud of gloom, troubled by the persistence of racism, the apparent weaknesses of the generation following in its wake, and the seeming indifference of much of the country to black America’s fate.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “But you are human and you will make mistakes. You will misjudge. You will yell. You will drink too much. You will hang out with people you shouldn’t. Not all of us can always be Jackie Robinson – not even Jackie Robinson was always Jackie Robinson. But the price of error is higher for you than it is for your countrymen, and so that America might justify itself, the story of a black body’s destruction must always begin with his or her error, real or imagined -.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I almost never danced, as much as I wanted to. I was crippled by some childhood fear of my own body.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “For it is not simply by slavery that you are captured, but by a kind of fraud, which paints its executors as guardians at the gate, staving off African savagery, when it is they themselves who are savages, who are Mordred, who are the Dragon, in Camelot’s clothes. And at that moment of revelation, of understanding, running is not a thought, not even as a dream, but a need, no different than the need to flee a burning house.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “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.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Humans also tend to find community to be pleasurable, and within the boundaries of community relationships, words – often ironic and self-deprecating – are always spoken that take on other meanings when uttered by others.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “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.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “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 Quote: “An equality that requires blacks to be twice as good is not equality – it’s a double standard.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “But he said that his general optimism about the shape of American history remained unchanged. “To be optimistic about the long-term trends of the United States doesn’t mean that everything is going to go in a smooth, direct, straight line,” he said. “It goes forward sometimes, sometimes it goes back, sometimes it goes sideways, sometimes it zigs and zags.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I don’t so much hope that any reader “agrees” with me, as I hope to haunt them, to trouble their sense of how things actually are.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Obama’s greatest misstep was born directly out of his greatest insight. Only Obama, a black man who emerged from the best of white America, and thus could sincerely trust white America, could be so certain that he could achieve broad national appeal. And yet only a black man with that same biography could underestimate his opposition’s resolve to destroy him.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “But I was grounded and domesticated by the plain fact that should I now go down, I would not go down alone.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Won’t reparations divide us? Not any more than we are already divided. The wealth gap merely puts a number on something we feel but cannot say – that American propserity was ill-gotten and selective in its distribution. What is needed is an airing of family secrets, a settling with old ghosts. What is needed is a healing of the American psyche and the banishment of white guilt.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “These were the days when I powerfully believed Breyers and Entenmann’s to be pioneers in the field of antidepressants.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Nothing in the record of human history argues for divine morality, and a great deal argues against it. What we know is that good people very often suffer terribly, while the perpetrators of horrific evil backstroke through all the pleasures of the world. There is no evidence that the score is ever evened in this life or any after.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Terrorism carried the day. Federal troops withdrew from the South in 1877. The dream of Reconstruction died. For the next century, political violence was visited upon blacks wantonly, with special treatment meted out toward black people of ambition. Black schools and churches were burned to the ground. Black voters and the political candidates who attempted to rally them were intimidated, and some were murdered.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I loved a few of my teachers. But I cannot say that I truly believed any of them.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Having preserved the Union and saved white workers from competing with slave labor, the North could magnanimously acquiesce to such Confederate meretriciousness and the concomitant irrelevance of the country’s blacks. That interpretation served the North too, for it elided uncomfortable questions about the profits reaped by the North from Southern cotton, as well as the North’s long strategy of appeasement and compromise, stretching from the Fugitive Slave Act back to the Constitution itself.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I propose to take our countrymen’s claims of American exceptionalism seriously, which is to say I propose subjecting our country to an exceptional moral standard.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “In a country authored and sustained by criminal irresponsibility.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “There are no racists in America, or at least none that the people who need to be white know personally.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Power makes slaves of masters, for it cuts them away from the world they claim to comprehend. But I have given up my power, you see, given it up, so that now I might begin to see.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I found that the same softness which once made me a target now compelled people to trust me with their stories.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Perhaps after a serious discussion and debate – the kind that HR 40 proposes – we may find that the country can never fully repay African Americans. But we stand to discover much about ourselves in such a discussion – and that is perhaps what scares us. The idea of reparations is frightening not simply because we might lack the ability to pay. The idea of reparations threatens something much deeper – America’s heritage, history, and standing in the world.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Dad had turned conservative, but not in the way of the demonologists who sold us out for tenure and crumbs. More like a man who spurns the false talk of revolution for the humbler mission of resurrecting one soul at a time.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Americans believe in the reality of “race” as a defined, indubitable feature of the natural world. Racism – the need to ascribe bone-deep features to people and then humiliate, reduce, and destroy them – inevitably follows from this inalterable condition.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “One cannot, at once, claim to be superhuman and then plead mortal error.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The rhyme pad was a spell book – it summoned asphalt elementals, elder gods, and weeping ancestors, all of whom had your back.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “But this moment here when you speak as such to those who loved you when you was most frail, you gonna regret. Boy like you should be more careful with his words. Never know when they the last ones he might put upon a person.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “To question what I see, then to question what I see after that, because the questions matter as much, perhaps more than, the answers.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The warlords of history are still kicking our heads in, and no one, not our fathers, not our Gods, is coming to save us.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Five years later, 750,000 Americans were dead. But the fact that such carnage had been wreaked for a cause that Ulysses S. Grant called “one of the worst for which a people ever fought, and one for which there was the least excuse” invited the damnation of history. Honor is salvageable from a military defeat; much less so from an ideological defeat, and especially one so duly earned in defense of slavery in a country premised on liberty.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “To secure the White House, Obama needed to be a Harvard-trained lawyer with a decade of political experience and an incredible gift for speaking to cross sections of the country; Donald Trump needed only money and white bluster.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “It was the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, not a private trade association, that pioneered the practice of redlining, selectively granting loans and insisting that any property it insured be covered by a restrictive covenant-a clause in the deed forbidding sale of the property to anyone other than whites. Millions of dollars flowed from tax coffers into segregated white neighborhoods.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “My enlightened racial consciousness demands that I reject the so-called greatness of William Faulkner and William Shakespeare. I don’t have time for any of that Hamlet jive – but Marvel superheroes are super cool.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “There is a notion out there that black people enjoy the Sisyphean struggle against racism. In fact, most of us live for the day when we can struggle against anything else. But having been, by that very racism, pinned into ghettos, both metaphorical and real, our options for struggle are chosen long before we are born.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Bored whites were barbarian whites. While they played at aristocrats, we were their well-appointed and stoic attendants. But when they tired of dignity, the bottom fell out. New games were anointed and we were but pieces on the board. It was terrifying. There was no limit to what they might do at this end of the tether, nor what my father would allow them to do.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Breathing. I just dream of breathing.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “If women, as a gender, must suffer the constant evaluations and denigrations of men, black women must suffer that, plus a broad dismissal from the realm of what American society deems to be beautiful. But Michelle Obama is beautiful in the way that black people know themselves to be. Her prominence as first lady directly attacks a poison that diminishes black girls from the moment they are capable of opening a magazine or turning on a television.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The universe was playing with loaded dice, which insured an excess of cowards in our ranks.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “You deserved so much more, little flower. You deserved a Wakanda that cherished you.”
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