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  • No loose fish enters our quiet bay.

  • [On James Gould Cozzens' By Love Possessed:] It is a vast enterprise encompassing all sorts of love, except, naturally, those branches which extend to Jews, Negroes, and people who have lost track of their great-grandparents ...

  • The first problem for all of us, men and woman, is not to learn, but to unlearn. We are filled with the popular wisdom of several centuries just past, and we are terrified to give it up. Patriotism means obedience, age means wisdom, woman means submission, black means inferior: these are preconceptions imbedded so deeply in our thinking that we honestly may not know that they are there.

  • ... it's no longer socially acceptable to make bigoted statements and racist remarks. Some people are having an awful time with that: 'I didn't know anybody would be offended!' Well, where have you been? I remember when people got away with it and they don't anymore. That's fabulous.

    • Judith Martin,
    • in Susan Goodman, "Judith Martin," Modern Maturity ()
  • Those on the search for a good shock have been trying to undo the greatest etiquette advance of our age, the condemnation of bigotry. When the nostalgic moan about the decline of etiquette, Miss Manners turns contrary and points out that it is only recently that frank expressions of prejudice have become socially unacceptable. That lascivious and bigoted statements no longer pass uncensured is enormous progress. To be sure, there are people who cannot spell and who therefore equate censureship with censorship. They do not understand that an etiquette rule is not the same as a law and that disapproval and the desire to keep rude people at a distance are not the same as throwing them in jail.

  • ... the uncandid censurer always picks out the worst man of a class, and then confidently produces him as being a fair specimen of it.

  • Native always means people who belong somewhere 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.

  • There are worse words than cuss words, there are words that hurt.

    • Tillie Olsen,
    • "Hey Sailor, What Ship?" Tell Me a Riddle ()
  • Fashions in bigotry come and go. The right thing lasts.

  • Stereotypes fall in the face of humanity. We human beings are best understood one at a time.

  • We were made to believe / our faces betrayed us. / Our bodies were loud / with yellow / screaming flesh / needing to be silenced / behind barbed wire.

  • There will be strange ebbs and flows in the tide of race feelings.

  • ... the novel is inherently a political instrument, regardless of its subject. It invites you — more than invites you, induces you — to live inside another person's skin. It creates empathy. And that's the antidote to bigotry. The novel doesn't just tell you about another life, which is what a newspaper would do. It makes you live another life, inhabit another perspective. And that's very important.

  • One of the benefits that oppression confers upon the oppressors is that the most humble among them is made to feel superior; thus, a poor white in the South can console himself with the thought that he is not a 'dirty nigger' — and the more prosperous whites cleverly exploit this pride. Similarly, the most mediocre of males feels himself a demigod as compared with women.

  • At their core, misogyny and racism are very similar modes of thinking. Both diminish and disrespect a class of people based on a trait that is wholly distinct from their ideas, their carriage and their conduct.

  • In the common esteem, not only are the only good aboriginals dead ones, but all aboriginals are either sacred or contemptible according to the length of time they have been dead.

  • ... in spite of everything, we never gave up. The more we were despised, the harder we worked. We always had hope that some day things would be better. If not for us, then for our children.

  • What a child does not know and does not want to know of race and colour and class, he learns soon enough as he grows to see each man flipped inexorably into some predestined groove like a penny or a sovereign in a banker's rack.

  • Fanaticism and bigotry require any food but common sense, and reason, which would break the charm of those spellbound fanatics.

  • You understand / That personally I feel / Indeed, I'd just as soon shake hands / Why, lots of them are just as / Why / As you and I.

  • O we are all racist we are all sexist some of us only some of us are the targets of racism of sexism of homophobia of class denigration but we all all breathe in racism with the dust in the streets with the words we read and we struggle those of us who struggle we struggle endlessly endlessly to think and be and act differently from all that.

    • Rosario Morales,
    • "We're All in the Same Boat," in Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, eds., This Bridge Called My Back ()
  • In the American imagination, black women are the poster children for disreputable, irresponsible motherhood and Latina 'illegals' are a close second. From birth to adolescence, every girl of color must navigate a political climate in which Ronald Reagan's racist welfare queen caricature casts long shadows.

  • Where sexism and homophobia meet, you get a viciousness the likes of which you have never seen.

    • Sandra Lowe,
    • speech (1989), in Rosemary Silva, ed., Lesbian Quotations ()
  • The caste system, in all its various forms, is always based on identifiable physical characteristics — sex, color, age.

    • Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz,
    • "Female Liberation as the Basis for Social Revolution," in Robin Morgan, Sisterhood Is Powerful ()
  • I was strong and tough enough and charming. / How else is a fat Jew lesbian poet gonna get by? / Listening to the radio, staying home, staying alone, like / they mean us to. / Who means you to be left out? / Who don't?

    • Elana Dykewomon,
    • "Traveling Fat," in Christian McEwen and Sue O'Sullivan, eds., Out the Other Side ()
  • Deviance is whatever is condemned by the community. Most societies try to get rid of their deviants. Most cultures have burned and beaten their homosexuals and others who deviate from the sexual common. The queer are the mirror reflecting the heterosexual tribe's fear: being different, being other and therefore lesser, therefore sub-human, in-human, non-human.

  • More people have died from bigotry than any other disease.

    • Lynne Alpern,
    • in Lynne Alpern and Esther Blumenfeld, Oh, Lord, I Sound Just Like Mama ()
  • I am Chicana / Bastard child of the universe / because you make me so.

  • Every form of bigotry can be found in ample supply in the legal system of our country.

    • Florynce R. Kennedy,
    • "Institutionalized Oppression vs. the Female," in Robin Morgan, ed., Sisterhood Is Powerful ()
  • It's easy to respond to the hate cries, usually carefully wrapped up in a flag. Perhaps hate is the greatest simplifier of them all. It's the man with the throb in his voice, the man with the easy formula, the man who tries to shout to my emotions instead of speaking to my mind, the man who is sure he is right that I run from like hell.