"I know that I will always be expected to have extra insight into black texts--especially texts by black women. A working-class Jewish woman from Brooklyn could become an expert on Shakespeare or Baudelaire, my students seemed to believe, if she mastered the language, the texts, and the critical literature. But they would not grant that a middle-class white man could ever be a trusted authority on Toni Morrison."
"No race has the last word on culture and on civilization. You do not know what the black man is capable of; you do not know what he is thinking and therefore you do not know what the oppressed and suppressed Negro, by virtue of his condition and circumstance, may give to the world as a surprise."
"You know, when these New Negroes have their convention--that is going to be the chairman of the Committee on Unending Agitation. Race, race, race!... Damn, even the N double A C P takes a holiday sometimes!"
"The notion that black folks have nothing to learn from scholarship that may reflect racial or racist biases is dangerous. It promotes closed-mindedness and a narrow understanding of knowledge to hold that "race" is such an overwhelming concept that it negates the validity of any insights contained in a work that may have some racist or sexist aspects."
"But I am not tragically colored. There is no great sorrow dammed up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes. I do not mind at all.I do not belong to the sobbing school of negrohood who hold that nature somehow has given them a lowdown dirty deal.... No, I do not weep at the world--I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife."
"So de white man throw down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He pick it up because he have to, but he don't tote it.He hand it to his womenfolks. De nigger woman is demule uh de world so fur as Ah can see. Ah been prayin' fuh it tuh be different wid you. Lawd, Lawd, Lawd!"
"For four hundred years the blacks of Haiti had yearned for peace. for three hundred years the island was spoken of as a paradise of riches and pleasures, but that was in reference to the whites to whom the spirit of the land gave welcome. Haiti has meant split blood and tears for blacks."
"In my state, on the basis of the separate but equal doctrine, we have made enormous strides over the years in the education of both races. Personally, I think it would have been sounder judgment to allow that progress to continue through the process of natural evolution. However, there is no point crying about spilt milk."
"...I cannot help being astonished at the furious and ungoverned execration which all reference to the possibility of a fusion of the races draws down upon those who suggest it, because nobody pretends to deny that, throughout the South, a large proportion of the population is the offspring of white men and colored women."
"Affirmative action was designed originally for "women and other minorities" but the phrase has become just another tortured euphemism. Female conscientiousness and eagerness to please have always made women good students and natural test takers. Jews have gloried in scholarship throughout the ages, and Asians of both sexes score so high on SATs and IQ tests that they regard affirmative action as an impediment. Affirmative action really means favoritism for blacks for the sake of racial peace, but the favor is pure chimera, and so, increasingly, is the peace."