James A Baldwin Quotes & Wallpapers

James A Baldwin
Total Quotes: 397


Hatred is always self hatred, and there is something suicidal about it. James A Baldwin
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It is dangerous to be an American Negro male. America has never wanted its Negroes to be men, and does not, generally, treat them as men. It treats them as mascots, pets, or things. James A Baldwin
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People are continually pointing out to me the wretchedness of white people in order to console me for the wretchedness of blacks. But an itemized account of the American failure does not console me and it should not console anyone else. That hundreds of thousands of white people are living, in effect, no better than the "niggers" is not a fact to be regarded with complacency. The social and moral bankruptcy suggested by this fact is of the bitterest, most terrifying kind. James A Baldwin
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If I am not what you say I am, then you are not who you think you are. James A Baldwin
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A liberal: someone who thinks he knows more about your experience than you do. James A Baldwin
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One can only face in others what one can face in oneself. James A Baldwin
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how can one respect, let alone adopt, the values of a people who do not, on any level whatever, live the way they say they do, or the way they say they should? James A Baldwin
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The universe, which is not merely the stars and the moon and the planets, flowers, grass and trees, but other people, has evolved no terms for your existence, has made no room for you, and if love will not swing wide the gates, no other power will or can. And if one despairs- as who has not?- of human love, God's love alone is left. James A Baldwin
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You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. James A Baldwin
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I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself. James A Baldwin
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Rage can only with difficulty, and never entirely, be brought under the domination of the intelligence, and therefore is not susceptible to any arguments whatsoever. James A Baldwin
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Experience is a private, very largely speechless affair. James A Baldwin
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The American ideal of sexuality appears to be rooted in the American ideal of masculinity. This idea has created cowboys and Indians, good guys and bad guys, punks and studs, tough guys and softies, butch and faggot, black and white. It is an ideal so paralytically infantile that it is virtually forbidden - as an unpatriotic act - that the American boy evolve into the complexity of manhood James A Baldwin
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To defend oneself against a fear is simply to insure that one will, one day, be conquered by it; fears must be faced. James A Baldwin
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Americans, unhappily, have the most remarkable ability to alchemize all bitter truths into an innocuous but piquant confection and to transform their moral contradictions, or public discussion of such contradictions, into a proud decoration, such as are given for heroism on the battle field. James A Baldwin
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A ghetto can be improved in one way only: out of existence. James A Baldwin
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Negro servants have been smuggling odds and ends out of white homes for generations, and white people have been delighted to have them do it, because it has assuaged a dim guilt and testified to the intrinsic superiority of white people. James A Baldwin
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Color is not a human or a personal reality it is a political reality. James A Baldwin
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Fires can't be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks. James A Baldwin
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Education is indoctrination if you're white - subjugation if you're black. James A Baldwin
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Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated, and this was an immutable law. James A Baldwin
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When a man asks himself what is meant by action he proves that he isn't a man of action. Action is a lack of balance. In order to act you must be somewhat insane. A reasonably sensible man is satisfied with thinking. James A Baldwin
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Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent. James A Baldwin
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The future is like heaven, everyone exalts it, but no one wants to go there now. James A Baldwin
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To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger. James A Baldwin
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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. James A Baldwin
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I think that the inability to love is the central problem, because that inability masks a certain terror, and that terror is the terror of being touched. And if you can't be touched, you can't be changed. And if you can't be changed, you can't be alive. James A Baldwin
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Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. James A Baldwin
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The relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of the others in order to end the racial nightmare and acheive our country. James A Baldwin
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No man is a devil in his own mind. James A Baldwin
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Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind. James A Baldwin
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The writer's only real task: to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art James A Baldwin
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I can't be a pessimist, because I am alive. James A Baldwin
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European society has always been divided into classes in a way that American society never has been. A European writer considers himself to be part of an old and honorable tradition-of intellectual activity, of letters-and his choice of a vocation does not cause him any uneasy wonder as to whether or not it will cost him all his friends. But this tradition does not exist in America. James A Baldwin
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At bottom, to be colored means that one has been caught in some utterly unbelievable cosmic joke, a joke so hideous and in such bad taste that it defeats all categories and definitions. James A Baldwin
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Do I really want to be integrated into a burning house? James A Baldwin
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You cannot fix what you will not face. James A Baldwin
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Whatever you describe to another person is also a revelation of who you are and who you think you are. You can not describe anything without betraying your point of view, your aspirations, your fears, your hopes. Everything. James A Baldwin
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The hope of the world lies in what one demands, not of others, but of oneself. James A Baldwin
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If you think too far ahead, if you even try to think too far ahead, you'll never make it. James A Baldwin
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The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out. James A Baldwin
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...in order for this to happen, your entire frame of reference will have to change, and you will be forced to surrender many things that you now scarcely know you have. James A Baldwin
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All art is a kind of confession. James A Baldwin
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Because I was raised in a Christian culture I never considered myself to be a totally free human being. James A Baldwin
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I don't know, now, when I first looked at Hella and found her stale, found her body uninteresting, her presence grating. It seemed to happen all at once-I suppose that only means that it had been happening for a long time. James A Baldwin
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There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that *they* must accept *you*. The really terrible thing, old buddy, is that you must accept them. And I mean that very seriously. You must accept them and accept them with love. James A Baldwin
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There are too many things we do not wish to know about ourselves. James A Baldwin
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The making of an American begins at the point where he himself rejects all other ties, any other history, and himself adopts the vesture of his adopted land. James A Baldwin
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One is responsible to life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return. James A Baldwin
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When the white man came to Africa, the white man had the Bible and the African had the land, but now it is the white man who is being, reluctantly and bloodily, separated from the land, and the African who is still attempting to digest or to vomit up the Bible. James A Baldwin
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Everybody's journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality. James A Baldwin
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It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have. James A Baldwin
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Money, it turned out, was exactly like sex, you thought of nothing else if you didn't have it and thought of other things if you did. James A Baldwin
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I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all. James A Baldwin
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A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled. James A Baldwin
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I want to be an honest man and a good writer. James A Baldwin
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You think your pains and heartbreaks are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. [and then you discover that others have suffered much more than you and your problems look good in comparison] James A Baldwin
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All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations. But the man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him, then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for that same reason. And his triumph, when he triumphs, is ours. James A Baldwin
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Whoever debases others is debasing himself. James A Baldwin
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These boys, now, were living as we'd been living then, they were growing up with a rush and their heads bumped abruptly against the low ceiling of their actual possibilities. They were filled with rage. All they really knew were two darknesses, the darkness of their lives, which were now closing in on them, and the darkness of the movies, which had blinded them to that other darkness, and in which they now, vindictively, dreamed, at once more together than they were at any other time, and more alone. James A Baldwin
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Passion is not friendly. It is arrogant, superbly contemptuous of all that is not itself, and, as they very definition of passion implies the impulse to freedom, it has a might intimidiating power. It contains a challenge. It contains an unspeakable hope. James A Baldwin
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In my case, I think my exile saved my life, for it inexorably confirmed something which Americans appear to have great difficulty accepting. Which is, simply, this: a man is not a man until he is able and willing to accept his own vision of the world, no matter how radically this vision departs from others. James A Baldwin
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You took the best, so why not take the rest? James A Baldwin
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Whoever is born in New York is ill-equipped to deal with any other city: all other cities seem, at best, a mistake, and, at worst, a fraud. No other city is so spitefully incoherent. James A Baldwin
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When you're writing, you're trying to find out something which you do' know. The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you do' want to know, what you do' want to find out. But something forces you to anyway. James A Baldwin
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Being in the pulpit, was like being in the theatre; I was behind the scenes and knew how the illusion worked. James A Baldwin
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It is hard for anyone under twenty to realise that death has already assigned them a number, which is going to come up one day. James A Baldwin
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To accept one's past - one's history - is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought. James A Baldwin
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America sometimes resembles, at least from the point of view of a black man, an exceedingly monotonous minstrel show; the same dances, same music, same jokes. One has done (or been) the show so long that one can do it in one's own sleep. James A Baldwin
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I started reading. I read everything I could get my hands on...By the time I was thirteen I had read myself out of Harlem. I had read every book in two libraries and had a card for the Forty-Second Street branch. James A Baldwin
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