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Index: A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z | Other Quote Indexes

S through Z


Sa'Di (Persian poet, 1184-1291)
He will deal harshly by a stranger who has not been himself often a traveller or stranger.

Edward Said (U.S. educator and essayist, 1935- )

Since the 1960s, we have seen the failure of the melting pot ideology. This ideology suggested that different historical, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds could be subordinated to a larger ideology or social amalgam which is "America." This concept obviously did not work, because paradoxically America encourages a politics of contestation.

Geoffrey Sampson (British linguist, 1944- )

To my mind by far the greatest danger in not that the individual may fail to master the thought of a school but that a school may succeed in mastering the thought of the individual.

Bernice Sandler (U.S. gender discrimination scholar)

Sex prejudice is so ingrained in our society that many who practice it are simply unaware that they are hurting. It is the last socially acceptable prejudice.

Margaret Sanger (U.S. social activist, 1879-1966)

Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.

George Santayana (Spanish-born American philosopher and poet, 1863-1952)

A man's feet must be planted in his country, but his eyes should survey the world.

All living souls welcome whatsoever they are ready to cope with; all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous or wrong, or deny to be possible.

The wisest mind has something yet to learn.

Anne Wilson Schaef (U.S. psychotherapist and activist, 1934- )

Differences challenge assumptions.

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. (U.S. historian, 1917- )

People who claw their way to the top are not likely to find very much wrong with the system that enabled them to rise.

Arthur Schopenhauer (German philosopher, 1788-1860)

Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world.

Patricia Schroeder (U.S. lawyer and politician, 1940- )

I have a brain and a uterus, and I use both.

When men talk about defense, they always claim to be protecting women and children, but they never ask the women and children what they think.

Sarah Schulman (U.S. journalist, 1958- )

Since the most important element of any concept is that its originating question be appropriately framed, any theory demanding an explanation for homosexuality is a problematic one because it maintains our existence as a category of deviance. I mean, no one is running around trying to figure out why some people like sports, for example.

Probably, the nature of homophobia will never be widely interrogated, while we will continue to be excluded from school curricula, subjected to vicious media distortions, or entirely ignored, denied basic civil rights while our demands are ridiculed and derided. But in the midst of all this only one thing has changed for certain. We have changed. We will never go back into the closet.

Carl Schurz (German-born U.S. political writer, 1829-1906)

From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own.

Hazel Scott (U.S. pianist, 1920-1981)

Who ever walked behind anyone to freedom? If we can't go hand in hand, I don't want to go.

Any woman who has a great deal to offer the world is in trouble. And if she's a black woman, seh's in deep trouble.

Seattle (Suquamish chief, 1786-1866)

At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The white man will never be alone.

Haile Selassie (Ethiopian emperor, 1892-1975)

Throughout history it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.

Ousmane Sembane (Sengalese writer, 1923- )

It isn't those who are taken by force, put in chains, and sold as slaves who are the real slaves; it is those who will accept it, morally and physically.

Lucious Annaeus Seneca (4 B.C.-A.D. 65)

We are mad, not only individually, but nationally. We check manslaughter and isolated murders; but what of war and the much vaunted crime of slaughtering whole peoples?

Anna Sewell (English writer, 1820-1878)

My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.

William Shakespeare (English playwright, 1564-1616)

Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions, fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?

Ntozake Shange (U.S. poet and playwright, 1948- )

i found god in myself
and i loved her fiercely.

George Bernard Shaw (Irish playwright and social reformer, 1856-1950)

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity.

I tell you that as long as I can conceive something better than myself I cannot be easy unless I am striving to bring it into existence or clearing the way for it.

What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.

Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.

Hatred is the coward's revenge for being intimidated.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.

I am not a teacher--only a fellow traveler of whom you asked the way. I pointed ahead--ahead of myself as well as of you.

Gail Sheehy (U.S. writer and journalist, 1937- )

If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we aren't really living.

Ruth Sidransky (U.S. writer, 1929- )

I do prefer "stone deaf"; stones may be mute, but they are warm in the sun, they feel something in the palm. It is a piece of the earth, attached to God. I do not know what the pedants mean when they write "profoundly deaf" to describe the person who has never heard a sound. Deaf is deaf and silence is forever.

Charles Simmons (U.S. author, 1924- )

Bigotry and intolerance, silenced by argument, endeavors to silence by persecution, in old days by fire and sword, in modern days by the tongue.

Sitting Bull (Dakota Sioux Chief, c. 1834-1890)

Go back home where you came from. This country is mine, and I intend to stay here and to raise this country full of grown people.

Each man is good in the sight of the Great Spirit. It is not necessary for eagles to be crows.

God made me an Indian, but not a reservation Indian.

What treaty that the white man ever made with us have they kept? Not one. When I was a boy, the Sioux owned the world; the sun rose and set on their land; they sent ten thousand men to battle. Where are the warriors today? Who slew them? What white man can say I ever stole his land or a penny of his money? Yet they say I am a thief. What white woman, however lonely, was ever captive or insulted by me? Yet they say I am a bad Indian. What white man has ever seen me drunk? Who has ever come to me hungry and unfed? Who has ever seen me beat my wives or abuse my children? What law have I broken? Is it wrong for me to love my own? Is it wicked for me because my skin is red? Because I am a Sioux; because I was born where my father lived; because I would die for my people and my country?

Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for our children.

Go back home where you came from. This country is mine, and I intend to stay here and to raise this country full of grown people.

B.F. Skinner (U.S. behavioral psychologist, 1904-1990)

Unable to understand how or why the person we see behaves as he does, we attribute his behavior to a person we cannot see, whose behavior we cannot explain either but about whom we are not inclined to ask questions.

Was putting a man on the moon actually easier than improving education in our public schools?

We should teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.

Adam Smith (Scottish political economist and philosopher, 1723-1790)

To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers, may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers.

Lillian Smith (U.S. writer and activist, 1897-1966)

When you stop learning, stop listening, stop looking and asking questions, always new questions, then it is time to die.

From the day I was born, I began to learn my lessons. I learned it is possible to be a Christian and a white southerner simultaneously; to be a gentlewoman and an arrogant callous creature in the same moment; to pray at night and ride a Jim Crow car the next morning and to feel comfortable doing both. I learned to believe in freedom, to glow when the word democracy was used, and to practice slavery from morning to night.

Smohalla (Wanapam prophet, 1815-1907)

God told me to look after my people--all are my people.

Dorothy Sölle (German theologian, 1929- )

Religion does not confirm that there are hungry people in the world; it interprets the hungry to be our brethren whom we allow to starve.

Susan Sontag (U.S. writer and filmmaker, 1933- )

Like the effects of industrial pollution and the new system of global financial markets, the AIDS crisis is evidence of a world in which nothing important is regional, local, limited; in which everything that can circulate does, and every problem is, or is destined to become, worldwide.

Sophocles (Greek playwright, 496-406 B.C.)

Ugly deeds are taught by ugly deeds.

Robert Southey (English journalist, 1774-1843)

How little do they see what is, who frame their hasty judgments upon that which seems.

Thomas Sowell (U.S. economist, 1930- )

Whenever someone refers to me as someone "who happens to be black," I wonder if they realize that both my parents are black. If I had turned out to be Scandinavian or Chinese, people would have wondered what was going on.

Wole Soyinka (Nigerian writer, 1934- )

I have one abiding religion--human liberty.

Herbert Spencer (British philosopher and sociologist, 1820-1903)

No one can be perfectly free till all are free; no one can be perfectly moral till all are moral; no one can be perfectly happy till all are happy.

Baruch Spinoza (Dutch philosopher, 1632-1677)

Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.

Care of the poor is incumbent on society as a whole.

Luther Standing Bear (Oglala Sioux writer, 1868-1939)

White men seem to have difficulty in realizing that people who live differently from themselves still might be traveling the upward and progressive road of life.

Today the children of our public schools are taught more of the history, heroes, legends, and sagas of the old world than of the land of their birth, while they are furnished with little material on the people and institutions that are truly American.

Only to the white man was nature a "wilderness" and only to him was the land "infested" with "wild" animals and "savage" people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery. Not until the hairy man from the east came and with brutal frenzy heaped injustices upon us and the families that we loved was it "wild" for us. When the very animals of the forest began fleeing from his approach, then it was that for us the "Wild West" began.

"Civilization" has been thrust upon me since the days of the reservations, and it has not added one whit to my sense of justice, to my reverence for the rights of life, to my love for truth, honesty, and generosity, or to my faith in Wakan Tanka, God of the Lakotas.

Philip Dormer Stanhope (English statesman, 1694-1773)

The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (U.S. suffragist, 1815-1902)

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.

Resolved, That it is the duty of the women of this country to secure to themselves their sacred right to the elective franchise.

We demand in the Reconstruction suffrage for all the citizens of the Republic. I would not talk of Negroes or women, but of citizens.

The prolonged slavery of women is the darkest page in human history.

Gertrude Stein (U.S. writer, 1874-1946)

"Native" always means people who belong someplace else, because they had once belonged somewhere. That shows that the white race does not really think they belong anywhere, because they think of everybody else as native.

Gloria Steinem (U.S. feminist writer, 1934- )

Clearly no one knows what leadership has gone undiscovered in women of all races, and in black and other minority men.

The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.

America is an enormous frosted cupcake in the middle of millions of starving people.

Today a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.

It still may take some explaining, but many more women are keeping their birth names (and not calling them maiden names, with all the sexual double standards that implies).

Even when educators survey grade school texts and create new bibliographies to help teachers include Asians, Eskimos, and other Americans, females in and out of those groups may be down-played or forgotten.

No man can call himself liberal, or radical, or even a conservative advocate of fair play, if his work depends in any way on unpaid or underpaid labor of women at home, or in the office.

Economic systems are not value-free columns of numbers based on rules of reason, but ways of expressing what varying societies believe is important.

Deborah Prothrow-Stith (U.S. public health leader, 1954- )

We cannot silence the voices that we do not like hearing. We can, however, do everything in our power to make certain that other voices are heard.

Barbara Streisand (U.S. singer and actress, 1942- )

Just imagine how boring life would be if we were all the same. My idea of a perfect world is one in which we really appreciated each other's differences: Short, tall; Democrat, Republican; black, white; gay, straight--a world in which all of us are equal, but definitely not the same.

Harriet Beecher Stowe (U.S. novelist and abolitionist, 1811-1896)

All men are free and equal in the grave, if it comes to that.

Anna Louise Strong (U.S. journalist, 1885-1970)

They say the Pharaohs built the pyramids Do you think one Pharaoh dropped one bead of sweat? We built the pyramids for the Pharaohs and we're building for them yet.

Susanna Sturgis ()

Take away black studies, women's studies, ethnic studies, Jewish studies, labor history, Chicano studies, Native American studies: what is left is what has passed for "history" with no qualifying adjective, the story of those whose belonging we never disputed.

Achmad Sukarno (Indonesian politician, 1902-1970)

There is not one state truly alive if it is not as if a cauldron burns and boils in its representative body, and if there is no clash of convictions in it.

Nationalism cannot flower if it does not grow in the garden of internationalism.

Charles Sumner (U.S. senator, 1811-1874)

The age of chivalry has gone; the age of humanity has come.

Where Slavery is, there Liberty cannot be; and where Liberty is, there Slavery cannot be.

Jonathan Swift (Irish author and satirist, 1667-1745)

We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.


Rabindranath Tagore (Bengali poet and novelist, 1861-1941)
Bigotry tries to keep truth safe in its hand with a grip that kills it.

He only has freedom who ideally loves freedom himself and is glad to extend it to others. He who cares to have slaves must chain himself to them. He who builds walls to create exclusion for others builds walls across his own freedom. He who distrusts freedom in others loses his moral right to it.

Deborah Tannen (U.S. teacher and writer, 1945- )

We all know we are unique individuals, but we tend to see others as representatives of groups.

Richard Henry Tawney (British historian, 1880-1962)

It is not till it is discovered that high individual incomes will not purchase the mass of mankind immunity from cholera, typhus, and ignorance, still less secure them the positive advantages of educational opportunity and economic security, that slowly and reluctantly, amid prophecies of moral degeneration and economic disaster, society begins to make collective provision for needs which no ordinary individual, even if he works overtime all his life, can provide himself.

Tecumseh (Shawnee chief, c. 1768-1813)

I am the maker of my own fortune, and Oh! that I could make that of my Red People, and of my country, as great as the conceptions of my mind, when I think of the spirit that rules the universe. I would not then come to Governor Harrison to ask him to tear up the treaty, and to obliterate the landmark, but I would say to him, "Sir, you have the liberty to return to your own country."

The way, and the only way, to stop this evil is for all the red men to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was at first, and should be yet; for it was never divided, but belongs to all for the use of each.

Where today are the Pequot? Where are the Narragansett, the Mohican, the Pcanet, and other powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and oppression of the white man, as snow before the summer sun.

Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the clouds and the great sea, as well as the earth? Did not the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?

Ten Bears (Yamparika Comanche, 1792-1872)

Great Spirit--I want no blood upon my land to stain the grass. I want it all clear and pure, and I wish it so, that all who go through among my people may find it peaceful when they come, and leave peacefully when they go.

Teresa of Avila (Spanish nun, 1515-1582)

Seldom or never is a poor man honored by the world; however worthy of honor he may be, he is apt rather to be despised by it.

Dorothy Thompson (U.S. journalist, 1894-1961)

Passitivity and quietism are invitations to war.

Can one preach at home inequality of races and nations and advocate abroad good-will towards all men?

Hate smolders and eventually destroys, not the hated but the hater.

Henry David Thoreau (U.S. essayist and poet, 1817-1862)

Things do not change, we do.

It is never too late to give up your prejudices.

When a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country [Mexico] is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.

Whatever the human law may be, neither an individual nor a nation can commit the least act of injustice against the obscurest individual without having to pay the penalty for it.

Alvin Toffler (U.S. futurist, 1928- )

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.

Leo Tolstoy (Russian novelist, 1828-1910)

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

Tomochichi (Creek Chief, 1650-1729)

The more I consider the condition of the white men, the more fixed becomes my opinion that, instead of gaining, they have lost much by subjecting themselves to what they call the laws and regulations of civilized socieities.

Jean Toomer (U.S. metaphysician, 1844-1967)

Men are apt to idolize or fear that which they cannot understand, especially if it be a woman.

The realization of ignorance is the first act of knowing.

D. Elton Trueblood (U.S. Quaker scholar, 1900-1994)

A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.

Sojourner Truth (U.S. evangelist and abolitionist, 1797-1883)

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman?

That little man says women can't have as much rights as men because Christ wasn't a woman. Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with him.

When I left the house of bondage I left everything behind. I wasn't going to keep nothing of Egypt on me, an' so I went to the Lord an' asked him to give me a new name. And he gave me Sojourner because I was to travel up and down the land showing the people their sins and bein' a sign unto them. I told the Lord I wanted two names 'cause everybody else had two, and the Lord gave me Truth, because I was to declare the truth to the people.

Chang Tsai (Chinese philosopher, 1021-1077)

In everything that moves through the universe, I see my own body, and in everything that governs the universe, my own soul. All men are my brethren, and all things my companions.

Harriet Tubman (U.S. abolitionist, c. 1823-1913)

When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything.

I was free, but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.

Turkish Proverb

If speaking is silver, then listening is gold.

Henry McNeal Turner (U.S. editor, 1833-1915)

The Fourth of July--memorable in the history of our nation as the great day of independence to its countrymen--had no claim upon our sympathies. They made a flag and threw it to the heavens and bid it float forever; but every star in it was against us.

Bishop Desmond Tutu (South African activist and religious leader, 1931- )

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

We shall be free only together, black and white. We shall survive only together, black and white. We can be human only together, black and white.

I am not interested in picking up the crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

When I care about black liberation, it is because I care about white liberation.

Freedom is indivisible. Whites can't enjoy their separate freedoms. They spend too much time and resources defending those freedoms instead of enjoying them.

We don't want apartheid liberalized. We want it dismantled. You can't improve something that is intrinsically evil.

When the missionaries first came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, "Let us pray". We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible and they had the land.

Mark Twain (U.S. writer, 1835-1910)

To be good is noble; but to show others how to be good is nobler and no trouble.

The very ink with which all history is written is merely fluid prejudice.

I have no color prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. All I care to know is that a man is a human being, and that is enough for me; he can't be any worse.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect.

The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, but that they know so many things that ain't so.

Loyalty to petrified opinions never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will.

It is a worthy thing to fight for one's freedom; it is another sight finer to fight for another man's.

There are many humorous things in the world, among them the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.


The day began with dismal doubt
A stubborn thing to put to rout;
But all my worries flew away
When someone smiled at me today.


Hail, Guest! We ask not what thou art;
If Friend, we greet thee, hand and heart;
If Stranger, such no longer be;
If Foe, our love shall conquer thee!


Urvashi Vaid (U.S. activist, 1958- )
We call for the end of bigotry as we know it. The end of racism as we know it. The end of child abuse in the family as we know it. The end of sexism as we know it. The end of homophobia as we know it. We stand for freedom as we have yet to know it. And we will not be denied.

Varahamihira (Indian astronomer, 505-587)

Everyone speaks of himself with regard to his ownself, "I am above and the others are below," whilst all of them are around the globe like the blossom springing on the branches of the Kadamba tree.

Paul Varnell (U.S. columnist and gay rights advocate)

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said that homosexuality 'is a lifestyle I don't agree with.' This is a trope you hear from the religious right a good deal, and it seems to have entered the conservative mainstream, rolling easily off the tongue. But it is a very odd thing to say. No one (speaking rationally) says, 'I don't agree with the Pacific Ocean' or 'I don't agree with the Grand Canyon.' Facts are not things you agree or disagree with. You can agree or disagree with viewpoints, thoughts or ideas, but homosexuality is not a viewpoint or an idea. It is a thing, an attribute, a nature, a fact.

Gore Vidal (U.S. writer, 1925- )

We must declare ourselves, become known; allow the world to discover this subterranean life of ours which connects kings and farm boys, artists and clerks. Let them see that the important thing is not the object of love but the emotion itself.

Vivekananda (Indian religious leader, 1863-1902)

Unity in variety is the plan of the universe.

Gerald Vizenor (Chippewa poet and novelist, 1934- )

Race is an invention, not a noticeable genetic presence, and cultural traits are brute concoctions of the social sciences.

Voltaire (French satirist, essayist, and historian, 1694-1778)

Every man is gulity of the good he didn't do.


Waheenee (Hidatsa, 1839-1932)
Sometimes in the evening I sit, looking out on the big Missouri. The sun sets, and dusk steals over the water. In the shadows I seem again to see our Indian village, with smoke curling upward from the earth lodges, and in the river's roar I hear the yells of warriors, and the laughter of little children as of old. It is but an old woman's dream. Then I see but shadows and hear only the roar of the river, and tears come into my eyes. Our Indian life, I know, is gone forever.

Alice Walker (U.S. novelist and poet, 1944- )

In order to be able to live at all in America I must be unafraid to live anywhere in it, and I must be able to live in the fashion and with whom I choose.

No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.

It's essential that we understand that taking care of the planet will be done as we take care of ourselves. You know that you can't really make much of a difference in things until you change yourself.

The protection of evil must be the most self-destructive job.

No person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended.

I could never live happily in Africa--or anywhere else--until I could live freely in Mississippi.

David Walker (U.S. abolitionist, 1785-1830)

Let no man of us budge one step, and let slaveholders come to beat us from our country. America is more our country, than it is the whites--we have enriched it with our blood and tears. The greatest riches in all America have arisen from our blood and tears.

The Americans say that we are ungrateful--but I ask them for heaven's sake, what should we be grateful to them for--for murdering our fathers and mothers?--Or do they wish us to return thanks to them for chaining and handcuffing us, branding us, cramming fire down our throats, or for keeping us in slavery, and beating us nearly or quite to death to make us work in ignorance and miseries, to support them and their families. They certainly think we are a gang of fools.

Lou Ann Walker (U.S. author and sign language interpreter, 1952- )

Theories and goals of education don't mean a whit if you don't consider your students to be human beings.

Wyatt T. Walker (U.S. civil rights activist, 1929- )

The challenge of this age is to resist and conquer in each of our own beings the racist brainwashing that is still active in our minds.

Charles Dudley Warner (U.S. writer, 1829-1900)

You want to hate somebody, if you can, just to keep your powers of discrimination bright, and to save yourself from becoming a mere mush of good-nature.

Augustus Washington (U.S. daguerreotypist, c. 1820-1875)

I know this was the soil on which I was born: but I have nothing to glorify this as my country. I have no pride of ancestry to point back to. Our forefathers did not come here as did the Pilgrim fathers, in search of a place where they could enjoy civil and religious liberties.

Booker T. Washington (U.S. educator and writer, 1856-1915)

In all things that are purely social we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.

No greater injury can be done to any youth than to let him feel that because he belongs to this or that race he will be advanced in life regardless of his own merits or efforts.

There are two ways of exerting one's strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.

I will permit no man to narrow and degrade my soul by making me hate him.

You can't hold a man down without staying down with him.

In the long run, the world is going to have the best, and any difference in race, religion, or previous history will not keep the world from what it wants.

Simone Weil (French philosopher and activist, 1933- )

The most important part of teaching is to teach what it is to know.

The supernatural virtue of justice consists of behaving exactly as though there were equality when one is the stronger in an unequal relationship.

William Wells-Brown (U.S. abolitionist, 1815-1884)

This is called 'the land of the free and the home of the brave'; it is called the 'asylum of the oppressed,' and some have been foolish enough to call it the 'Cradle of Liberty.' If it is the 'Cradle of Liberty,' they have rocked the child to death.

I would have the Constitution torn in shreds and scattered to the four winds of heaven. Let us destroy the Constitution and build on its ruins the temple of liberty. I have brothers in slavery. I have seen chains placed on their limbs and beheld them captive.

Someone must show that the Afro-American race is more sinned against than sinning, and it seems to have fallen to me to do so. The awful death roll called every week is appalling, not only because of the lives taken, the cruelty and outrage to the victims, but because of the prejudice it fosters.

Cornel West (U.S. professor and social critic, 1953- )

Those who came to the United States didn't realize they were white until they got here. They were told they were white. They had to learn they were white. An Irish peasant coming from British imperial abuse in Ireland during the potato famine in the 1840s, arrives in the United States. You ask him or her what they are. They say, "I am Irish." No, you're white. "What do you mean, I am white?" And they point me out. "Oh, I see what you mean. This is a strange land."

Rebecca West (British journalist and novelist, 1892-1983)

People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.

It is a great pity that every human being does not, at an early stage of his life, have to write a historical work. He would then realize that the human race is in quite a jam about truth.

Women know the damnation of charity because the habit of civilization has always been to throw them cheap alms rather than give them good wages.

Charity is an ugly trick. It is a virtue grown by the rich on the graves of the poor. Unless it is accompanied by sincere revolt against the present social system, it is a cheap moral swagger. In former times it was used as fire insurance by the rich, but now that the fear of Hell has gone along with the rest of revealed religion, it is used either to gild mean lives with nobility or as a political instrument.

West African Proverb

Not to know is bad; not to wish to know is worse.

E.B. White (U.S. humorist and essayist, 1899-1985)

The trouble with the profit system has always been that it was highly unprofitable to most people.

Katharine Whitehorn (British journalist, 1926- )

As ridiculous to approve of property and let a few men have a grossly unfair share of it, as say you are all for marriage, and then let one man have all the wives.

Faith Whittlesey (U.S. ambassador, 1939- )

Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels.

Elie Wiesel (Rumanian-born U.S. writer, 1928- )

I have learned the guilt of indifference. The opposite of love is not hate but indifference.

Ralph Wiley (U.S. sports and literary writer)

Truth knows no color; it appeals to intelligence.

Wendell L. Willkie (U.S. politician, 1892-1944)

No man has a right in America to treat any other man "tolerantly" for tolerance is the assumption of superiority. Our liberties are equal rights of every citizen.

The Constitution does not provide for first- and second-class citizens.

Freedom is an indivisible word. If we want to enjoy it, and fight for it, we must be prepared to extend it to everyone, whether they are rich or poor, whether they agree with us or not, no matter what their race or the color of their skin.

Harold Wilson (British politician, 1916- )

He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.

Jeanette Winterson (English author, 1959- )

Any measurement must take into account the position of the observer. There is no such thing as measurement absolute, there is only measurement relative.

Naomi Wolf (U.S. author, 1962- )

The more legal and material hindrances women have broken through, the more strictly and heavily and cruelly images of female beauty have come to weigh upon them.

Mary Wollstonecraft (English novelist, 1759-1797)

Men, in general, seem to employ their reason to justify prejudices...rather than to root them out.

Only that education deserves emphatically to be termed cultivation of the mind which teaches young people how to begin to think.

Nothing, I am sure, calls forth the faculties so much as the being obliged to struggle with the world.

Till women are more rationally educated, the progress in human virtue and improvement in knowledge must receive continual checks.

Women are systematically degraded by receiving the trivial attentions which men think it manly to pay to the sex, when, in fact, men are insultingly supporting their own superiority.

It would be an endless task to trace the variety of meannesses, cares, and sorrows into which women are plunged by the prevailing opinion that they were created rather to feel than reason, and that all the power they obtain must be obtained by their charms and weaknesses.

It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world.

The endeavor to keep alive any hoary establishment beyond its natural date is often pernicious and always useless.

Merle Woo (U.S. writer)

Most of the time when "universal" is used, it's just a euphamism for "white"; white themes, white significance, white culture.

Carter G. Woodson (U.S. historian and educator, 1875-1950)

The mere imparting of information is not education. Above all things, the effort must result in making a man think and do for himself.

The same educational process which inspires and stimulates the oppressor with the thought that he is everything and has accomplished everything worth while, depresses and crushes at the same time the spark of genius in the Negro by making him feel that his race does not amount to much and never will measure up to the standards of other peoples.

What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.

The so-called modern education, with all its defects, however, does others so much more good than it does the Negro because it has been worked out in conformity to the needs of those who have enslaved and oppressed weaker peoples.

For me, education means to inspire people to live more abundantly, to learn to begin with life as they find it and make it better.

We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world, void of national bias, race, hate, and religious prejudice. There should be no indulgence in undue eulogy of the Negro. The case of the Negro is well taken care of when it is shown how he has far influenced the development of civilization.

Virginia Woolf (British author, 1882-1941)

I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.

Frances Wright (English writer, 1795-1852)

Equality! Where is it, if not in education? Equal rights! They cannot exist without equality of instruction.

Richard Wright (U.S. novelist, 1908-1960)

We had our own civilization in Africa before we were captured and carried off to this land. We smelted iron, danced, made music and folk poems; we sculpted, worked in glass, spun cotton and wool, wove baskets and cloth. We invented a medium of exchange, mined silver and gold, made pottery and cutlery, we fashioned tools and utensils of brass, bronze, ivory, quartz, and granite. We had our own literature, our own systems of law, religion, medicine, science, and education.

What could I dream of that had the barest possibility of coming true? I could think of nothing. And, slowly, it was upon exactly that nothingness that my mind began to dwell, that constant sense of wanting without having, of being hated without reason.

Each day when you see us black folk upon the dusty land of your farm or upon the hard pavement of your city streets, you usually take it for granted and think you know us, but our history is far stranger than you suspect, and we are not what we seem.

Elizabeth Wurtzel (U.S. journalist, 1967- )

The measure of our mindfulness, the touchstone for sanity in this society, is our level of productivity, our attention to responsibility, our ability to plain and simple hold down a job. If you're still at the point when you're even just barely going through the motions--showing up at work, paying the bills--you are still okay or okay enough. A desire not to acknowledge depression in ourselves or those close to us--better known these days as denial, is such a strong urge that plenty of people prefer to think that until you are actually flying out of a window, you don't have a problem.



William Butler Yeats (Irish poet and playwright, 1865-1939)
Teaching is not filling up a pail, it is lighting a fire.

An intellectual hatred is the worst.

Yiddish proverb

If all pulled in one direction, the world would keel over.

Andrew Young (U.S. minister and activist, 1932- )

We were trying to transform America, not triumph over white folk.

No nation as rich as ours should have so many people isolated on islands of poverty in such a sea of material wealth.

Coleman Young (U.S. politician, 1923- )

We must take the profit out of prejudice.

Whitney Young (U.S. director of the National Urban League, 1921-1972)

The danger is that people may mistake what is basically a change in vocabulary for a change in behavior, practices, and attitudes. While practically all Americans have learned to talk inoffensively, not enough have learned to think differently, nor act positively.

Black is beautiful when it is a slum kid studying to enter college, when it is a man learning new skills for a new job, or a slum mother battling to give her kids a chance for a better life. But white is beautiful, too, when it helps change society to make our system work for black people also. White is ugly when it oppresses blacks--and so is black ugly when black people exploit other blacks. No race has a monopoly on vice or virtue, and the worth of an individual is not related to the color of his skin.


Emiliano Zapata (Mexican revolutionary, 1879-1919)
We do not want the peace of slaves nor the peace of the grave.

Howard Zinn (U.S. historian and activist, 1922- )

The historian's distortion is more than technical, it is ideological; it is released into a world of contending interest, where any chosen emphasis supports some kind of interest, whether economic or political or racial, or national or sexual.

I have come to believe that our lives can be turned in a different direction, our minds adopt a different way of thinking, by some significant, though small event. That belief can be frightening, or exhilarating, depending on whether you just contemplate it or do something with it.

Zulu Proverb

He who hates, hates himself.

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