It appears that my worst fears have been realised: we have made progress in everything yet nothing has changed.

— Derrick Bell

The most perspective Derrick Bell quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening

We live in a system that espouses merit, equality, and a level playing field, but exalts those with wealth, power, and celebrity, however gained.


I live to harass white folks.


Self-esteem is like a difficult-to-cultivate flower.

It requires frequent nurturing that occurs when you keep your word and follow through on your promises.


Courage is a decision you make to act in a way that works through your own fear for the greater good as opposed to pure self-interest. Courage means putting at risk your immediate self-interest for what you believe is right.


However self-sufficient we may fancy ourselves, we exist only in relation - to our friend, family, and life partners; to those we teach and mentor; to our coworkers, neighbors, strangers; and even to forces we cannot fully conceive of, let alone define. In many ways, we are our relationships.


Slavery is, as an example of what white America has done, a constant reminder of what white America might do.


A rule without exceptions is an instrument capable of doing mischief to the innocent and bringing grief - as well as injustice - to those who should gain exemptions from the rule's functioning.


Education leads to enlightenment. Enlightenment opens the way to empathy. Empathy foreshadows reform.


The challenge throughout has been to tell what I view as the truth about racism without causing disabling despair.


Few whites are ready to actively promote civil rights for blacks.


All ethical people strive to choose "right" over "easy" when confronted by situations that force them to choose one or the other.


Power in the hands of the reformer is no less potentially corrupting than in the hands of the oppressor.


About Derrick Bell

Quotes 16 sayings
Profession Law professor
Birthday November 6, 1930

Courage is a finite resource, it is exhausted by the terrors we face.


My wife says I spend my life trying to teach white folks.

I'm not so sure I'm proud of it, but she's right.


Resistance is a powerful motivator precisely because it enables us to fulfill our longing to achieve our goals while letting us boldly recognize and name the obstacles to those achievements.