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Ta-Nehisi Coates Quotes
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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: “It’s like summer wear the world out, and by October everyone is just ready for a nap.”
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: “Breathing. I just dream of breathing.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Every Trump voter is certainly not a white supremacist, just as every white person in the Jim Crow South was not a white supremacist. But every Trump voter felt it was acceptable to hand the fate of the country over to one.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Whatever appeals to the white working class is ennobled. What appeals to black workers, and all others outside the tribe, is dastardly identitarianism. All politics are identity politics – except the politics of white people, the politics of the blood heirloom.”
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: “Even when she swung her broom at us, I sensed the depth of that loss, her pain, a rage that she, unlike the rest of us, refused to secret away, and I found that rage to be true and correct. She was not the meanest woman at Lockless, but the most honest.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The universe was playing with loaded dice, which insured an excess of cowards in our ranks.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Whatever Obama’s other triumphs, arguably his greatest has been an expansion of the black imagination to encompass this: the idea that a man can be culturally black and many other things also – biracial, Ivy League, intellectual, cosmopolitan, temperamentally conservative, presidential.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus?”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Still. There are parts of life that can’t be gotten out of, and I have had to learn, here, that we are all, at the end, held somehow. Just that up here you get to choose by who and by what.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “She alluded to 12 Years a Slave. “There he was,” she said, speaking of Solomon Northup. “He had means. He had a family. He was living like a human being. And one racist act took him back. And the same is true of me. I spent years developing a career, acquiring assets, engaging responsibilities. And one racist act. It’s all it takes.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Bored whites were barbarian whites.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane. 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.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Racism was banditry, pure and simple. And the banditry was not incidental to America, it was essential to it.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I had not been prepared for the simple charm of watching someone you love grow.”
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: “In 2001, the Associated Press published a three-part investigation into the theft of black-owned land stretching back to the antebellum period. The series documented some 406 victims and 24,000 acres of land values at tends of millions of dollars. The land was taken through means ranging from legal chicanery to terrorism.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Bored whites are brutal whites.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I felt in that moment something low and beautiful. Something born down here on the street and all the streets of America. Something nurtured and birthed out of the warrens. It was the warmth of the muck. It was the relief of the low born. The facing of the facts. The flight from quality. The gravity and excrement of the true world where we all live.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “In those days I imagined racism as a tumor that could be isolated and removed from the body of America, not as a pervasive system both native and essential to that body. From that perspective, it seemed possible that the success of one man really could alter history, or even end it.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “It did not occur to me that writing is always some form of interpretation, some form of translating the specificity of one’s roots or expertise or even one’s own mind into language that can be absorbed and assimilated into the consciousness of a broader audience.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “When President Roosevelt signed Social Security into law in 1935, 65 percent of African Americans nationally and between 70 and 80 percent in the South were ineligible.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I did not ask. Later I felt bad about this. I knew, even then, that whenever I nodded along in ignorance, I lost an opportunity, betrayed the wonder in me by privileging the appearance of knowing over the work of finding out.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The most precious thing I had then is the most precious thing I have now – my own curiosity. That is the thing I knew, even in the classroom, they could not take from me. That is the thing that buoyed me and eventually plucked me from the sea.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “It is insufficient to state the obvious of Donald Trump: that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this fact.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “But you cannot arrange your life around them and the small chance of the Dreamers coming into consciousness. Our moment is too brief. Our bodies are too precious.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I don’t ever want to forget, even with whatever personal victories I achieve, even in the victories we achieve as a people or a nation, that t he larger story of America and the world does not end well. Our story is a tragedy.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Addressing the moral failings of black people while ignoring the centuries-old failings of their governments amounts to a bait and switch.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “But I was a boy, seeing in him what boys can’t help but see in their fathers – a mold in which their own manhood might be cast.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “From the White House down, the myth holds that fatherhood is the great antidote to all that ails black people. But Billy Brooks Jr had a father,. Trayvon Martin had a father. Jordan Davis had a father. Adhering to middle-class norms has never shielded black people from plunder.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “But satire wasn’t within my grasp then; satire is itself a privilege – one that evidences a knowledge of its target.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “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.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “These were notes on how to write, and thus notes on how to think.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Black people are not the descendants of kings. We are – and I say this with big pride – the progeny of slaves. If there’s any majesty in our struggle, it lies not in fairy tales but in those humble origins and the great distance we’ve traveled since. Ditto for the dreams of a separate but noble past. Cosby’s, and much of black America’s, conservative analysis flattens history and smooths over the wrinkles that have characterized black America since its inception.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “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 Quote: “Love of country, like all other forms of love, requires that you tell those you care about not simply what they want to hear but what they need to hear.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Over the next twelve years, I came to regard Obama as a skilled politician, a deeply moral human being, and one of the greatest presidents in American history. He was phenomenal – the most agile interpreter and navigator of the color line I had ever seen. He had an ability to emote a deep and sincere connection to the hearts of black people, while never doubting the hearts of white people.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “To understand that the most costly war in this country’s history was launched in direct opposition to everything the country claims to be, to understand that this war was the product of centuries of enslavement, which is to see an even longer, more total war, is to alter the accepted conception of America as a beacon of freedom. How does one face this truth or forge a national identity out of it?”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “The low whites, men such as our own Harlan, were tolerated publicly by the Quality, but spurned in private; their names were spat out at banquets, their children mocked in the parlors, their wives and daughters seduced and discarded. They were a degraded and downtrodden nation enduring the boot of the Quality, solely for the right to put a boot of their own to the Tasked.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “From the 1930s through the 1960s, black people across the country were largely cut out of the legitimate home-mortgage market through means both legal and extralegal. Chicago whites employed every measure, from ‘restrictive covenants’ to bombings, to keep their neighborhoods segregated.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Lot of folks like to mock dumb history, and pretend it’s just a few idiots. Isn’t. It’s the country.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “It is as if the white tribe united in demonstration to say, “If a black man can be president, then any white man – no matter how fallen – can be president.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “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.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I felt a great rage, not simply because I knew they had been taken but because I knew how they had been taken, how they had been parted from eacch other, how I was born and made by this great parting. Better than before, I understood the whole dimensions of this crime, the entirety of the theft, the small moments, the tenderness, the quarrels and corrections, all stolen, so that men such as my father might live as gods.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Barack Obama governs a nation enlightened enough to send an African American to the White House, but not enlightened enough to accept a black man as its president.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Liberals today mostly view racism not as an active, distinct evil but as a relative of white poverty and inequality. They ignore the long tradition of this country actively punishing black success – and the elevation of that punishment, in the mid-twentieth century, to federal policy.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “I know now that that hunger is a retreat from the knotty present into myth and that what ultimately awaits those who retreat into fairy tales, who seek refuge in the mad pursuit to be made great again, in the image of a greatness that never was, is tragedy.”
Ta-Nehisi Coates Quote: “Among the Conscious, a man is only worth his latest reading.”
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