You know, it's not the world that was my oppressor, because what the world does to you, if the world does it to you long enough and effectively enough, you begin to do to yourself.
Everything in life depends on how that life accepts its limits.
The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.
The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.
Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart; for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.
I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.
People are trapped in history, and history is trapped in them.
If the relationship of father to son could really be reduced to biology, the whole earth would blaze with the glory of fathers and sons.
People who shut their eyes to reality simply invite their own destruction, and anyone who insists on remaining in a state of innocence long after that innocence is dead turns himself into a monster.
The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.
Most of us, no matter what we say, are walking in the dark, whistling in the dark. Nobody knows what is going to happen to him from one moment to the next, or how one will bear it. This is irreducible. And it is true of everybody. Now, it is true that the nature of society is to create, among its citizens, an illusion of safety; but it is also absolutely true that the safety is always necessarily an illusion. Artists are here to disturb the peace.
Words like "freedom," "justice," "democracy" are not common concepts; on the contrary, they are rare. People are not born knowing what these are. It takes enormous and, above all, individual effort to arrive at the respect for other people that these words imply.
When the South has trouble with its Negroes when the Negroes refuse to remain in their "place" it blames "outside agitators" and "Northern interference." When the nation has trouble with the Northern Negro, it blames the Kremlin.
You don't realize that you're intelligent until it gets you into trouble.
I have never seen myself as a spokesman. I am a witness. In the church in which I was raised you were supposed to bear witness to the truth. Now, later on, you wonder what in the world the truth is, but you do know what a lie is.