James Baldwin On Politics

Here are a few quotations on politics (broadly defined) from James Baldwin. His novel, Giovanni’s Room, remains one of my favorites, and I think his nonfiction book, The Fire Next Time, remains one of the best extended essays written by an American. The quotations are from the site, brainyquotes.

Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.

Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated, and this was an immutable law.

People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.

The power of the white world is threatened whenever a black man refuses to accept the white world’s definitions.

You know, it’s not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.

[This one is certainly applicable to academia, and perhaps most especially applicable to politics.]


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