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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When we blame private prejudice, suburban snobbishness, and black poverty for contemporary segregation, we not only whitewash our own history but avoid considering whether new policies might instead promote an integrated community.

— report by the non-profit Economic Policy Institute

We Black folk, our history, and our present being are a mirror of all the manifold experiences of America… If we Black folk perish, America will perish.

— Richard Wright

But suppose God is black? What if we go to Heaven and we, all our lives, have treated the Negro as an inferior, and God is there, and we look up and He is not white? What then is our response?

— Robert F. Kennedy

In aversive racism, the concept of racism is abhorrent to that person. But they’re filled with racist conditioning and bias, as we all are. Because that conflicts with their identity as good people, they suppress it and are even more in denial about it. They are even more likely to erupt in defensiveness if it gets called out.

— Robin DiAngelo

Racism has two primary functions: the oppression of people of color, which most people recognize, but also the simultaneous elevation of white people. You can’t hold one group down without lifting the other up.

— Robin DiAngelo

The most effective adaptation of racism over time is the idea that racism is conscious bias held by mean people.

— Robin DiAngelo

Racism, as we would characterize it today, was explicit in the writings of virtually all the major anthropologists of the first decades of this [20th] century, simply because it was the generally accepted world view. The language of the epic tale so often employed by Arthur Keith, Grafton Elliot Smith, Henry Fairfield Osborn, and their contemporaries fitted perfectly an imperialistic view of the world, in which Caucasians were the most revered product of a grand evolutionary march to nobility.

— Roger Lewin

Sometimes moving forward requires looking backward. Institutions also need to hold themselves accountable and increase their awareness of how government agencies, systems, and leaders have enacted harm toward marginalized populations in the near and distant past.

— Rohit Bhargava, Beyond Diversity

So here comes this black guy from the Bay Area talking about peace, feminism, challenging racism, challenging the priorities of the country, and talking about preserving the fragile nature of our ecological system. People looked at me as if I was a freak.

— Ron Dellums

Racism is still with us. But it is up to us to prepare our children for what they have to meet, and, hopefully, we shall overcome.

— Rosa Parks

Racism is a grown-up disease, and we should stop using our kids to spread it.

— Ruby Bridges

Racism is a form of hate. We pass it on to our young people. When we do that, we are robbing children of their innocence.

— Ruby Bridges

We don’t realize how much racism has tainted our self-image as human beings.

— Ruby Dee

Racism is an ism to which everyone in the world today is exposed; for or against, we must take sides. And the history of the future will differ according to the decision which we make.

— Ruth Benedict

In world history, those who have helped to build the same culture are not necessarily of one race, and those of the same race have not all participated in one culture.

— Ruth Fulton Benedict

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.

— Samuel L. Jackson

A racially integrated community is a chronological term timed from the entrance of the first black family to the exit of the last white family.

— Saul Alinsky

There’s no other race, to me, that has such a tough history for hundreds and hundreds of years, and only the strong survive, so we were the strongest and the most mentally tough, and I’m really proud to wear this color every single day of my life.

— Serena Williams

Racism is a disease. Go to your doctor with an ailment, and let the doctor tell you, ‘Well, look, I’m not going to treat you; we’re just not going to talk about it. It’s going to go away.’ You would look at him like he’s crazy. By not talking about racism, it’s not going to go away.

— Shannon Sharpe

Right now I’m thinking a good deal about emancipation. One of our sins was slavery, another was emancipation. It’s a paradox. In theory, emancipation was one of the glories of our democracy — and it was. But the way it was done led to tragedy, turning four million people loose with no jobs or trades or learning. And then in 1877 for a few electoral votes, just abandoning them entirely. A huge amount of pain and trouble resulted. Everybody in America is still paying for it.

— Shelby Foote

Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deepseated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.

— Shirley Chisholm

In the end, anti-black, anti-female, and all forms of discrimination are equivalent to the same thing — anti-humanism.

— Shirley Chisholm

This is the time for the creative
Man. Woman. Who must decide
that She. He. Can live in peace.
Racial and sexual justice on
this earth.

This is the time for you and me.
African American. Whites. Latinos.
Gays. Asians. Jews. Native
Americans. Lesbians. Muslims.
All of us must finally bury
the elitism of race superiority
the elitism of sexual superiority
the elitism of economic superiority
the elitism of religious superiority

So we welcome you on the celebration
of 218 years Philadelphia. America.

— Sonia Sanchez, Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems

We continue to confront racism from our past and our present, which is why we must hold everyone, from the highest offices to our own families, accountable for racist words and deeds and call racism what it is – wrong.

— Stacey Abrams

The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.

— Stephen Biko

I am, somehow, less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein’s brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops.

— Stephen Jay Gould

It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union.

— Susan B. Anthony

Narratives start with words and are reinforced by symbols, and many symbols involve remembering the dead. Which heroes do we valorize, which victims do we mourn? The United States has hundreds of monuments depicting a noble-looking Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate Army. In 2018, Bryan Stevenson dedicated a national monument to honor the victims of lynching, but where are the national monuments to the freedom fighter John Brown—or at least to Harriet Tubman? There are no monuments to the Nazis in Germany, East or West, but only after reunification did West Germany build significant monuments to the victims.

— Susan Neiman, Learning from the Germans: Race and the Memory of Evil

The line from Southern hatred of Reconstruction to Southern opposition to government programs is a straight one, though it’s rarely explicitly drawn. So Mississippi prefers potholes that can ruin your wheels in its capital, and schools that leave their graduates illiterate in its countryside, to imposing taxes that might fix them.

— Susan Nieman

Racism is not merely a simplistic hatred. It is, more often, broad sympathy toward some and broader skepticism toward others.

— Ta-Nehisi Coates, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy
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