"I've always wondered why European politicians as a group seemed brighter than American politicians as a group. Maybe it's becausemany American politicians have the race issue to fall back on. They become lazy, suspicious of innovative ideas, and as a result American institutions atrophy."
"American cultural institutions seem so bent on preserving the values of "Western civilization," the mythical "Whitetown," that welearn about one another's cultures the same way we learn about sex: in the streets."
"During those years in Stamps, I met and fell in love with William Shakespeare. He was my first white love.... it was Shakespeare who said, "When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes." It was a state of mind with which I found myself most familiar. I pacified myself about his whiteness by saying that after all he had been dead so long it couldn't matter to anyone any more."
"The new grammar of race is constructed in a way that George Orwell would have appreciated, because its rules make some ideas impossible to express--unless, of course, one wants to be called a racist."
"Martin Luther King, Jr., was the conscience of his generation.... He and I grew up in the same South, he the son of a clergyman, Ithe son of a farmer. We both knew from opposite sides, the invisible wall of racial segregation."
"They were more than hostile. In the first place, I was a south Georgian and I was looked upon as a fiscal conservative, and the Atlanta newspapers quite erroneously, because they didn't know anything about me or my background here in Plains, decided that I was also a racial conservative."
"The North will at least preserve your flesh for you; Northerners are pale for good and all. There's very little difference betweena dead Swede and a young man who's had a bad night. But the Colonial is full of maggots the day after he gets off the boat."
"The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line--the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea. It was a phase of this problem that caused the Civil War."
"Today I see more clearly than yesterday that back of the problem of race and color, lies a greater problem which both obscures andimplements it: and that is the fact that so many civilized persons are willing to live in comfort even if the price of this is poverty, ignorance and disease of the majority of their fellowmen; that to maintain this privilege men have waged war until today war tends to become universal and continuous, and the excuse for this war continues largely to be color and race."