My definition of a writer: someone who is interested in everything.
I think the artist has to be something like a whale swimming with his mouth wide open, absorbing everything until he has what he really needs.
Each person has a literature inside them.
–Anna Deavere Smith
People change when they awaken to what is inside them already, and the art of change is to create the context for that transformation. That is done through stories, narratives, humor, the exploration of one’s grief, but not by actually trying to change someone’s views. That never works.
Our strategy should be not only to confront empire, but to lay siege to it. To deprive it of oxygen. To shame it. To mock it. With our art, our music, our literature, our stubbornness, our joy, our brilliance, our sheer relentlessness–and our ability to tell our own stories.
For the first 90 percent of this country’s history (about 350 years) slavery or legal segregation was generally in place. Only for the last 10 percent or so of our entire history have we been free of slavery and legal segregation. Thus, racial oppression makes the United States very distinctive, for it is the only major Western country that was explicitly founded on racial oppression. Today, as in the past, this oppression is not a minor addition to U.S. society’s structure, but rather is systemic across all major institutions.
–Joe R. Feagin, Systemic Racism
It is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of high maturity, to rise to the level of self-criticism.
–Martin Luther King Jr.
What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them.
–President Barack Obama, Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 2009
The election of Obama is an important strike against white supremacy. On the other hand, if you claim we’re in a postracial society, how do you explain the fact that 40 percent of black kids under 5 live in poverty?
When a person understands justice, the self is let go. The first seed of the longing for justice blows through the soul like the wind. The consummation of this seed is a greening of the soul that is like that of the ripening wind.
–Hildegard of Bingen
The mystery that lies behind the void must have an awesome imagination; it must have an amazing capacity to dream in order to come up with such an extraordinary self-manifestation. Call it evolution, call it what you will, but whatever it is, it is an exciting world, an amazing world. When we ask why the world is so beautiful, a very simple explanation is that some absolute power exists that chose to create it out of the urgency of its own reality.
–Thomas Berry, Befriending the Earth
What is obvious to me is that we did not create ourselves…life is something inside of you. You did not create it. Once you understand that, you are in a spiritual realm.