Racism concept. Stop hate and discrimination. Against prejudice and violence. Hand wiping off and erasing the word from blackboard.

Quotations on racism and racists: notable people weigh in on the reality of racism. Race is a biological myth. Ethnic heritage and genetic connections between people who lived in a place together for thousands of years are real, but no biological races exist. Racism assumes race exists and that races have different characteristics, roles, and capacities. Racist ideas and policies define who is “better” and who gets more of the social, economic, political and cultural goods in society. Here are some historical and current quotations on the topic of racism.

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I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsam and jetsam in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. 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.

— Martin Luther King Jr.

There is something strangely inconsistent about a nation and a press that would praise you when you say, ‘Be nonviolent toward Jim Clark,’ but will curse and damn you when you say, ‘Be nonviolent toward little brown Vietnamese children.’ There is something wrong with that press.

— Martin Luther King Jr.

We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing-oriented’ society to a ‘person-oriented’ society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

— Martin Luther King Jr.

I look forward confidently to the day when all who work for a living will be one with no thought to their separateness as Negroes, Jews, Italians or any other distinctions. This will be the day when we bring into full realization the American dream — a dream yet unfulfilled. A dream of equality of opportunity, of privilege and property widely distributed; a dream of a land where men will not take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few; a dream of a land where men will not argue that the color of a man’s skin determines the content of his character; a dream of a nation where all our gifts and resources are held not for ourselves alone, but as instruments of service for the rest of humanity; the dream of a country where every man will respect the dignity and worth of the human personality.

— Martin Luther King Jr.

We have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifices. Capitalism was built on the exploitation of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad.

— Martin Luther King Jr.

You may kill me with your hatefulness. But still, like air, I’ll rise.

— Maya Angelou

Prejudice is a burden that confuses the past, threatens the future, and renders the present inaccessible.

— Maya Angelou

A black person grows up in this country – and in many places – knowing that racism will be as familiar as salt to the tongue. Also, it can be as dangerous as too much salt. I think that you must struggle for betterment for yourself and for everyone.

— Maya Angelou

You cannot appease fascism by meeting it in the middle; you cannot beat racism by indulging or excusing it.

— Mehdi Hasan

It’s time we become comfortable with the uncomfortable conversations about race…. Instead of being color blind, we need to be color brave.

— Mellody Hobson

It’s time we become comfortable with the uncomfortable conversations about race…Instead of being color blind, we need to be color brave.

— Mellody Hobson

Take a little thought experiment. Imagine all the rampage school shooters in Littleton, Colorado; Pearl, Mississippi; Paducah, Kentucky; Springfield, Oregon; and Jonesboro, Arkansas; now imagine they were black girls from poor families who lived instead in Chicago, New Haven, Newark, Philadelphia, or Providence. Can you picture the national debate, the headlines, the hand-wringing? There is no doubt we’d be having a national debate about inner-city poor black girls. The entire focus would be on race, class, and gender. The media would doubtless invent a new term for their behavior, as with wilding two decades ago. We’d hear about the culture of poverty, about how living in the city breeds crime and violence. We’d hear some pundits proclaim some putative natural tendency among blacks toward violence. Someone would likely even blame feminism for causing girls to become violent in a vain imitation of boys.

Yet the obvious fact that virtually all the rampage school shooters were middle-class white boys barely broke a ripple in the torrent of public discussion. This uniformity cut across all other differences among the shooters: some came from intact families, others from single-parent homes; some boys had acted violently in the past, and others were quiet and unassuming; some boys also expressed rage at their parents (two killed their parents the same morning), and others seemed to live in happy families.

— Michael S. Kimmel, Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era

What I love about Juneteenth is that even in that extended wait, we still find something to celebrate. Even though the story has never been tidy, and Black folks have had to march and fight for every inch of our freedom, our story is nonetheless one of progress.

— Michelle Obama

Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it. It’s up to all of us — Black, white, everyone — no matter how well-meaning we think we might be, to do the honest, uncomfortable work of rooting it out.

— Michelle Obama

The plan is to invest permanently the powers of government in the hands of the people who ought to have them — the white people.

— Mississippi official in 1890, about the poll tax

Hating people because of their color is wrong. And it doesn’t matter which color does the hating. It’s just plain wrong.

— Muhammad Ali

For someone with a background of economic justice, what scared me about climate change is not just that the sea level will rise and we’ll have more storms – it’s how this intersects with that cocktail of inequality and racism.

— Naomi Klein

No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

— Nelson Mandela

You get racism crossing the street; it’s in the very fabric of American society.

— Nina Simone

Treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity.

— Noel Ignatin

The ending of white supremacy does not pose the slightest peril to the real interests of the white workers; it definitely poses a peril to their fancied interests, their counterfeit interest, their white-skin privileges.

— Noel Ignatin and Ted Allen

Simple peck-order bullying is only the beginning of the kind of hierarchical behavior that can lead to racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, classism, and all the other ‘isms’ that cause so much suffering in the world.

— Octavia E. Butler

The norm is white, apparently, in the view of people who see things in that way. For them, the only reason you would introduce a black character is to introduce this kind of abnormality. Usually, it’s because you’re telling a story about racism or at least about race.

— Octavia E. Butler

I am where I am because of the bridges that I crossed. Sojourner Truth was a bridge. Harriet Tubman was a bridge. Ida B. Wells was a bridge. Madame C. J. Walker was a bridge. Fannie Lou Hamer was a bridge.

— Oprah Winfrey

Wherever black people are in America, criminalization exists. Wherever there is a white-dominant space, deep racism exists as well – no matter how progressive. If you cut too far into that progressive, if you do something that’s too radical, white racism will emerge.

— Patrisse Cullors

We know that if we can get the nation to see, say and understand the Black Lives Matter, then every life would stand a chance.

— Patrisse Khan-Cullor

Black people are the only humans in this nation ever legally designated, after all, as not human. Which is not to erase any group’s harm to ongoing pain, in particular, the genocide carried out against the First Nations peoples. But it is to say that there is something quite basic that has to be addresses in the culture, in the hearts and minds of people who have benefited from, and were raised up on, the notion that Black people are not fully human.

— Patrisse Khan-Cullors

When the first settlers arrived in America nobody knew who was White and who was wrong. No Natives had ever seen a firearm before, or had a clue who could be the good guy with the gun.

— Péter Zilahy

Racism is a refuge for the ignorant. It seeks to divide and to destroy. It is the enemy of freedom, and deserves to be met head-on and stamped out.

— Pierre Berton

I am an invisible man. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids — and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.

— Ralph Ellison
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