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There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you. The terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them. And I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love. For these innocent people have no other hope. They are, in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. They have had to believe for many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men. Many of them, indeed, know better, but, as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know.


James Baldwin

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JAMES BALDWIN
Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love ...
JAMES BALDWIN
Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imita...
JAMES BALDWIN
You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you ...
JAMES BALDWIN
Money, it turned out, was exactly like sex, you thought of nothing else if you didn't have it and th...
JAMES BALDWIN
Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy...
JAMES BALDWIN
When one begins to live by habit and by quotation, one has begun to stop living.
JAMES BALDWIN
No one can possibly know what is about to happen: it is happening, each time, for the first time, fo...
JAMES BALDWIN
No one is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart: for his purity, by definition, ...
JAMES BALDWIN
I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on ...
JAMES BALDWIN
We cannot discuss the state of our minorities until we first have some sense of what we are, who we ...
JAMES BALDWIN
The establishment of democracy on the American continent was scarcely as radical a break with the pa...
JAMES BALDWIN
Words like freedom, justice, democracy are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. Peop...
JAMES BALDWIN
The future is... black.
JAMES BALDWIN
Any honest examination of the national life proves how far we are from the standard of human freedom...
JAMES BALDWIN
A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled.
JAMES BALDWIN
Be careful what you set your heart upon -- for it will surely be yours.
JAMES BALDWIN
He may be a very nice man. But I haven't got the time to figure that out. All I know is, he's got a ...
JAMES BALDWIN
The American ideal, after all, is that everyone should be as much alike as possible.
JAMES BALDWIN
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
JAMES BALDWIN
People can cry much easier than they can change.
JAMES BALDWIN
I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on th...
JAMES BALDWIN
A platitude is simply a truth repeated till people get tired of hearing it.
JAMES BALDWIN
Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.
JAMES BALDWIN
Other people cannot see what I see whenever I look into your father's face, for behind your father's...
JAMES BALDWIN
A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled. -James...
JAMES BALDWIN
If you're afraid to die, you will not be able to live.
JAMES BALDWIN
There appears to be a vast amount of confusion on this point, but I do not know many Negroes who are...
JAMES BALDWIN
I hope that nobody has ever had to look at anybody they love through glass.
JAMES BALDWIN
Confronted with the impossibility of remaining faithful to one's beliefs, and the equal impossib...
JAMES BALDWIN
I was in a terrible confusion. Sometimes I thought, but this is your life. Stop fighting it. Stop fi...
JAMES BALDWIN
Somebody," said Jacques, "your father or mine, should have told us that not many people have ever di...
JAMES BALDWIN
Perhaps, as we say in America, I wanted to find myself. This is an interesting phrase, not current a...
JAMES BALDWIN
People can't, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, anymore than th...
JAMES BALDWIN
If we know, then we must fight for your life as though it were our own-which it is-and render impass...
JAMES BALDWIN
Freedom is not something that anybody can be given. Freedom is something people take, and people are...
JAMES BALDWIN
In my experience - and this is a very awkward way to put it, since I don't really know what the word...
JAMES BALDWIN
The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to ex...
JAMES BALDWIN
Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, fo...
JAMES BALDWIN
It was not only colored people who praised John, since they could not, John felt, in any case really...
JAMES BALDWIN
She knows Daddy better than I do. I think it's because she's felt since we were children that our Da...
JAMES BALDWIN
There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for the...
JAMES BALDWIN
Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty o...
JAMES BALDWIN
The American Negro has the great advantage of having never believed the collection of myths to which...
JAMES BALDWIN
Do I really want to be integrated into a burning house?
JAMES BALDWIN
I know that people can be better than they are. We are capable of bearing a great burden, once we di...
JAMES BALDWIN
The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim: he or sh...
JAMES BALDWIN
You write in order to change the world ... if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look a...
JAMES BALDWIN
When one begins to live by habit and by quotation, one has begun to stop living.
JAMES A. BALDWIN
The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to ex...
JAMES A. BALDWIN
It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connect...
JAMES A. BALDWIN
No one can possibly know what is about to happen: it is happening, each time, for the first time, fo...
JAMES A. BALDWIN
Fires can't be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusias...
JAMES A. BALDWIN