“Not Be Judged by the Color…”: And Other Quotes

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Given today’s state of race relations, would Martin Luther King, Jr. still have hope?

Some pertinent quotes from him and others who’ve understood racism and/or strived to eradicate it, along with other related isms:

Racism is man’s gravest threat to man – the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason. Abraham Joshua Heschel

We hate some persons because we do not know them; and will not know them because we hate them. Charles Caleb Colton

Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything. Scott Woods

trust anyone
who says
they do not see color.
this means
to them,
you are invisible. Nayyirah Waheed

It demands great spiritual resilience not to hate the hater whose foot is on your neck, and an even greater miracle of perception and charity not to teach your child to hate. James Baldwin

All our silences in the face of racist assault are acts of complicity. bell hooks

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. Desmond Tutu

People of color, women, and gays — who now have greater access to the centers of influence that ever before — are under pressure to be well-behaved when talking about their struggles. There is an expectation that we can talk about sins but no one must be identified as a sinner: newspapers love to describe words or deeds as “racially charged” even in those cases when it would be more honest to say “racist”; we agree that there is rampant misogyny, but misogynists are nowhere to be found; homophobia is a problem but no one is homophobic. One cumulative effect of this policed language is that when someone dares to point out something as obvious as white privilege, it is seen as unduly provocative. Marginalized voices in America have fewer and fewer avenues to speak plainly about what they suffer; the effect of this enforced civility is that those voices are falsified or blocked entirely from the discourse. Teju Cole

Defeating racism, tribalism, intolerance and all forms of discrimination will liberate us all, victim and perpetrator alike. Ban Ki-moon


I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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