Favorite quotes


“Of course, even in a capitalist country, freedom is deceptive, but even the appearance of democracy itself is fading from day to day, and from day to day despotism breaks out with increasing impudence.”


                                                                        -Simone de Beauvoir, New York, 1947



“...precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society.”


-James Baldwin



“…no theory today escapes the marketplace…”






"The essence of the democratic surge of the 1960s was a general challenge to existing systems of authority, public and private. In one form or another, the challenge manifested itself in the family, the university, business, public and private institutions, politics, the government bureaucracy, and the military service. People no longer felt the same obligation to obey those whom they had previously considered superior to themselves in age, rank, status, expertise, character, or talents.... The vitality of democracy in the 1960s raised questions about the governability of democracy in the 1970s.... We have come to recognize that there are potentially desirable limits to the indefinite extension of political democracy."

                                                                                    -Samuel Huntington



"There is no state in which the aristocracy is favourably disposed towards the lower classes of the people; but it is the mob in every town who sympathizes with the people."



"When the great lord passes the wise peasant bows deeply and silently farts."

                                                                                    -Ethiopian Proverb


"A language is a dialect with an army and a navy."

                                                                                    -Leslie Feinberg


“My throat’s as red as the Daily Worker and twice as sore.”


        ---Barbara Stanwyck, “Ball of Fire”



"The most trenchant observers of the scene in the South, those who are embattled there, feel that the southern mobs are not an expression of the southern majority will. Their impression is that these mobs fill, so to speak, a moral vacuum and that the people who form these mobs would be very happy to be released from their pain, and their ignorance, if someone arrived to show them the way. I would be inclined to agree with this, simply from what we know of human nature. It is not my impression that people wish to become worse; they really wish to become better but very often do not know how."

              -James Baldwin



"Far more than they fight, cultures coexist and interact fruitfully with each other."

              -Edward Said



“It must be increasingly recognized that the Negro has already made very substantial contributions, not only in his folk-art, music especially, which has always found appreciation, but in larger, though humbler and less acknowledged ways. For generations the Negro has been the peasant matrix of that section of America which has most undervalued him, and here he has contributed not only materially in labor and in social patience, but spiritually as well. The South has unconsciously absorbed the gift of his folk-temperament. In less than half a generation it will be easier to recognize this, but the fact remains that a leaven of humor, sentiment, imagination and tropic nonchalance has gone into the making of the South from a humble, unacknowledged source.”

  —Alain Locke, “The New Negro” 1920



“...identities are the names we give to the different ways we are positioned by, and position ourselves within the narratives of the past.”

    —Stuart Hall, “Cultural Identity and Diaspora”



“The destruction of cemeteries is not a mere excess of anti-Semitism—it is anti-Semitism in its essence.”

            -Adorno and Horkheimer


“The given individual’s membership in several of these abstract social classes or subgroups makes possible his entrance into definite social relations (however indirect) with an almost infinite number of other individuals who also belong to or are included within one or another of these abstract social classes or subgroups cutting across functional lines of demarcation which divide different human social communities from one another, and including individual members from several (in some cases from all) such communities.”

  ---George Herbert Mead


“The subject [is] not privileged but simply the site where the collective experience finds articulation.”

                        ---Aime Cesaire


These questions, which have engaged so many, have troubled all of my work.  How to be both free and situated; how to convert a racist house into a race-specific yet nonracist home. How to enunciate race while depriving it of its lethal cling?


  ---Toni Morrison



“Our ten point program is in the midst of being changed right now, because we used the word ‘white’ when we should have used the word ‘capitalist.’”

  ---Fred Hampton



“...we all speak from a particular place, out of a particular history, out of a particular experience, a particular culture, without being contained by that position as ‘ethnic artists’ or film-makers. We are all, in that sense, ethnically located and our ethnic identities are crucial to our subjective sense of who we are. But this is also a recognition that this is not an ethnicity which is doomed to survive, as Englishness was, only by marginalizing, dispossessing, displacing and forgetting other ethnicities. This precisely is the politics of ethnicity predicated on difference and diversity.”

            -----Stuart Hall



"I am because my little dog knows me."

                                                                                    -Gertrude Stein




Tainted his gifts who offers in sacrifice ill-gotten goods!

Mock presents from the lawless win not God’s favor.

The Most High proves not the gifts of the godless.

[Nor for their many sacrifices does he forgive their sins.]

Like a man who slays a son in his father’s presence

is he who offers sacrifice from the possessions of the poor.

The bread of charity is life itself for the needy.

He who withholds it is a person of blood.

He slays his neighbor who deprives him of a living;

he sheds blood who denies the laborer his wages.

  —The Book of Sirach (34:18-22) (This is the text that helped to convince Bartolome de Las Casas that the Spanish were wrong toward the Amerindians.)


“Can we name a land where Europeans have entered without defiling themselves forever before defenceless, trusting mankind, by the unjust word, greedy conceit, crushing oppression, diseases, fatal gifts they have brought?  Our part of the earth should not be called the wisest, but the most arrogant, aggressive, money-minded: what it has given these peoples is not civilization but the destruction of the rudiments of their own cultures wherever they could achieve this.”

      --- J.G. Herder, 1790



“If Kafka were a Latin American he’d be a realist.”

              --- Fernando Calderon



Postmodernism decrees its own role in decreeing the end of Eurocentrism, claiming that its critique of modernity has damaged the superiority of the European model by weakening its fantasies of domination through the relativization of absolutes and the delegitimization of universals. This fall of the model invites the subcultures of the margin or periphery to be prominent parts of the new antiauthoritarian modulation of a postmodernity finally respectful of diversity....But women and the Third World are categories more spoken for by postmodernity, without obliging the cultural institution to loosen its discursive monopoly over the right to speak, without ceding to them the much greater right to become autonomous subjects of enunciation, to assume itself a critical positionality itself capable of intervening (disorganizing) in the rules of discourse that determine property and pertinence (pertinencias y pertinencias).

  ---–Nelly Richard



“I shall regret the absence of your keen mind. Unfortunately, it is inseparable from an extremely disturbing body.”


      ---Gary Cooper to Barbara Stanwyck in “Ball of Fire”




“I don’t need a man. I don’t need any man. I’ve got my sheep.”


  ---Doris Day



"Don't borrow trouble."

                                        ---my grandmother




“All seeing is essentially perspective, and so is all knowing. The more emotions we allow to speak on a given matter, the more different eyes we can put on in order to view a given spectacle, the more complete will be our conceptualization of it, the greater our ‘objectivity.’”

    ----Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals



“In my Father’s house are many rooms.”

    ----Jesus John 14-2



“A God is incapable of knowing anything because it has no needs.”




“Aristotle could have known so much more if he cooked.”


– Sor Juana