Ta-Nehisi Coates

“But race is the child of racism, not the father.”

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“Slavery is not an indefinable mass of flesh.  It is a particular, specific enslaved woman, whose mind is active as your own, whose range of feeling is as vast as your own; who prefers the way the light falls in one particular spot in the woods, who enjoys fishing where the water eddies in a nearby stream, who loves her mother in her own complicated way, thinks her sister talks too loud, has a favorite cousin, a favorite season, who excels at dressmaking and knows, inside herself, that she is as intelligent and capable as anyone.”

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“All my life I’d heard people tell their black boys and black girls to ‘be twice as good,’ which is to say ‘accept half as much.’ These words would be spoken with a veneer of religious nobility, as though they evidenced some unspoken quality, some undetected courage, when in fact all they evidenced was the gun to our head and the hand in our pocket.  This is how we lose our softness.  This is how they steal our right to smile.  No one told those little white children, with their tricycles, to be twice as good.  I imagined their parents telling them to take twice as much.  It seemed to me that our own rules redoubled plunder.  It struck me that perhaps the defining feature of being drafted into the black race was the inescapable robbery of time, because the moments we spent readying the mask, or readying ourselves to accept half as much could not be recovered.  The robbery of time is not measured in lifespans but in moments.  It is the last bottle of wine that you have just uncorked but do not have time to drink.  It is the kiss that you do not have time to share, before she walks out of your life.  It is the raft of second chances for them, and twenty-three-hour days for us.”

About unsolicitedtidbits

Philosophy, books, coffee, Mexican food enthusiast. View all posts by unsolicitedtidbits

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