I think everyone can agree that race, especially racial issues, is a controversial subject. Personally, I am on the other side of the fence, fighting for equal rights and justice. But I know that not everyone believes as I do, and that’s why I usually try to make people understand both perspectives. And one of my key strategies is to bring up Between the World and Me quotes, as they perfectly explain the situation that minorities face.
You would be surprised to hear that I was not always like that. In fact, I was pretty oblivious to the struggles that other people endure daily. However, that all changed when I read Between the World and Me, a book that fundamentally shook me to the core. It is written as a letter to the author’s son, which describes everything related to being Afro-American in the US. As a result, the book itself becomes a letter to the reader, who may not know all that goes into their daily struggles.
I recommend this book to anyone that is looking to learn more about the societal differences between races. And while I can’t expect everyone to read it, I can at least share some Between the World and Me quotes that I will always remember.
22 Between the World and Me Quotes You Will Never Forget
Between the World and Me Quotes About Racism
#1. “But race is the child of racism, not the father.”
#2. “To yell ‘black-on-black crime’ is to shoot a man and then shame him for bleeding.”
#3. “Hate gives identity. The nigger, the fag, the bitch illuminate the border, illuminate what we ostensibly are not, illuminate the Dream of being white, of being a Man. We name the hated strangers and are thus confirmed in the tribe.”
#4. “Here is what I would like for you to know: In America, it is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage.”
#5. “Fully 60 percent of all young black men who drop out of high school will go to jail. This should disgrace the country. But it does not.”
#6. “Black-on-black crime’ is jargon, violence on language, which vanishes the men who engineered the covenants, who fixed the loans, who planned the projects, who built the streets and sold red ink by the barrel.”
#7. “You have been cast into a race in which the wind is always at your face and the hounds are always at your heels. And to varying degrees, this is true of all life. The difference is that you do not have the privilege of living in ignorance of this essential fact.”
#8. “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.’”
#9. “I kept thinking about how southern Manhattan had always been Ground Zero for us. They auctioned our bodies down there, in that same devastated, and rightly named, financial district. And there was once a burial ground for the auctioned there. They built a department store over part of it and then tried to erect a government building over another part.”
Iconic Between the World and Me Quotes
#10. “And for so long I have wanted to escape into the Dream, to fold my country over my head like a blanket. But this has never been an option because the Dream rests on our backs, the bedding made from our bodies.”
#11. “I did not tell you that it would be okay, because I have never believed it would be okay. What I told you is what your grandparents tried to tell me: that this is your country, that this is your world, that this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it.”
#12. “Soft or hard, love was an act of heroism.”
#13. “‘Good intention’ is a hall pass through history, a sleeping pill that ensures the Dream.”
#14. “And godless though I am, the fact of being human, the fact of possessing the gift of study, and thus being remarkable among all the matter floating through the cosmos, still awes me.”
#15. “The writer, and that was what I was becoming, must be wary of every Dream and every nation, even his own nation. Perhaps his own nation more than any other, precisely because it was his own.”
#16. “Anyone can make a baby, but it takes a man to be a father.”
#17. “I am ashamed of how I acted that day, ashamed of endangering your body. But I am not ashamed because I am a bad father, a bad individual or ill-mannered. I am ashamed that I made an error, knowing that our errors always cost us more.”
#18. “The need to forgive the officer would not have moved me, because even then, in some inchoate form, I knew that Prince was not killed by a single officer so much as he was murdered by his country and all the fears that have marked it from birth.”
Between the World and Me Quotes About Education
#19. “I was a curious boy, but the schools were not concerned with curiosity. They were concerned with compliance. I loved a few of my teachers. But I cannot say that I truly believed any of them.”
#20. “But a society that protects some people through a safety net of schools, government-backed home loans, and ancestral wealth but can only protect you with the club of criminal justice has either failed at enforcing its good intentions or has succeeded at something much darker.”
#21. “No one directly proclaimed that schools were designed to sanctify failure and destruction. But a great number of educators spoke of ‘personal responsibility’ in a country authored and sustained by a criminal irresponsibility. The point of this language of ‘intention’ and ‘personal responsibility’ is broad exoneration.”
#22. “If the streets shackled my right leg, the schools shackled my left. Fail to comprehend the streets and you gave up your body now. But fail to comprehend the schools and you gave up your body later.”
All in all, I believe that everyone should read Between the World and Me at least once. I am certain that it can change anyone’s point of view regarding racial issues. However, if you can’t do that, you can always reread some Between the World and Me quotes to brush up on the book.
Image source: Between the World and Me photo from pinterest.com