Black people have always been used as a buffer in this country between powers to prevent class war.
If you're going to hold someone down you're going to have to hold on by the other end of the chain. You are confined by your own repression.
Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.
Black people are victims of an enormous amount of violence. None of those things can take place without the complicity of the people who run the schools and the city.
There is nothing of any consequence in education, in the economy, in city planning, in social policy that does not concern black people.
In becoming an American, from Europe, what one has in common with that other immigrant is contempt for me-it's nothing else but color.
My children are delightful people, whom I would love even if they weren't my children.
You marvel at the economy and this choice of words. How many ways can you describe the sky and the moon? After Sylvia Plath, what can you say?
We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.
Black boys became criminalized. I was in constant dread for their lives, because they were targets everywhere. They still are.
Schools must stop being holding pens to keep energetic young people off the job market and off the streets. We stretch puberty out a long, long time.
I'm not entangled in shaping my work according to other people's views of how I should have done it.
For a long time I was convinced that the conflict between Jewish people and black people in this country was a media event.
In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.
One of my kids was born in 1968. There were going to be political difficulties, but they were never going to have that level of hatred and contempt that my brothers and my sister and myself were exposed to.
The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.
I don't think a female running a house is a problem, a broken family. It's perceived as one because of the notion that a head is a man.
She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.
Everybody gets everything handed to them. The rich inherit it. I don't mean just inheritance of money. I mean what people take for granted among the middle and upper classes, which is nepotism, the old-boy network.
Nelson Mandela is, for me, the single statesman in the world. The single statesman, in that literal sense, who is not solving all his problems with guns. It's truly unbelievable.