Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.
Harry A. Blackmun
In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way.
Clement of Alexandria
We admit that the same nature exists in every race, and the same virtue.
When mainstream America makes an example of Paula Deen, it both turns her into a scapegoat and also creatively claims its own innocence, because it limits the definition of racism to individual acts.
More than any other segment of the population, white evangelical Christians demonstrate a blindness to the struggle of their African American brothers and sisters….This is a dangerous reality for the modern church.
Zora Neale Hurston
There’s no agony like bearing an untold story inside you.
Samuel L. Jackson
People know about the Klan and the overt racism, but the killing of one’s soul little by little, day after day, is a lot worse than someone coming in your house and lynching you.
The myth of race is, at its heart, about power relations, and in order to understand how it evolved, we must avoid vague theoretical and historical formulations and instead ask, Who benefited from these narratives of racial difference, and how, where, and under what conditions? Race signifies neither a biological fact nor a primal prejudice, and it lacks coherence of robust political ideology; rather, it is a collection of fluid, contingent mythologies born of (among other imperatives) fighting a war, assembling a labor force, advancing the designs of demagogues, organizing a labor union, and preserving voting and public schooling as privileges reserved for some, rather than as rights shared by all.
Racism springs from the lie that certain human beings are less than fully human. It’s a self-centered falsehood that corrupts our minds into believing we are right to treat others as we would not want to be treated.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the white citizen’s counciler or the ku klux klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.
Martin Luther King Jr.
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.
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.
We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.
“A Love without Condition,” History of the Early Church (blog),
The majority culture (which for a little while longer is still white) has the luxury of being oblivious to race (which would change in an instant, if we moved to Nigeria). But for minority peoples, race-related issues are a persistent part of consciousness. If these issues are silently ignored in our relationships, the resulting harmony will be shallow and fragile.
Be not proud of race, face, place, or grace.
For the cramped bewildered years we went to school to learn
to know the reasons why and the answers to and the
people who and the places where and the days when, in
memory of the bitter hours when we discovered we
were black and poor and small and different.
Race is about the American story, and about each of our own stories. Overcoming racism is more than an issue or a cause — it is also a story, which can be part of each of our stories, too. The story about race that was embedded into America at the founding of our nation was a lie; it is time to change the story and discover a new one. Understanding our own stories about race, and talking about them to one another, is absolutely essential if we are to become part of the larger pilgrimage to defeat racism in America.
To the world around me, I am black. And to respond with “I don’t see color” dismisses my lived experience.
Taken from Twelve Lies That Hold America Captive: And the Truth That Sets Us Free by Jonathan Walton Copyright (c) 2019 by Jonathan Walton. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com
If your success is defined as being well adjusted to injustice and well adapted to indifference, then we don’t want successful leaders. We want great leaders who love the people enough and respect the people enough to be unbought, unbound, unafraid, and unintimidated to tell the truth.
Quoted in Crystal Blanton, “Inspiration, Reflection and Justice: Spirituality through the Voices of Our Leaders,” Feb. 5, 2013, Daughters of Eve (blog), Patheos.
Still Looking for inspiration?
Consider checking out our illustrations page on Race.