I finally had to go to the American Civil Liberties Union here in northern California to get my reply published to what I considered to be a hatchet job done by Stanley Crouch.

— Ishmael Reed

The most whopping Ishmael Reed quotes that are free to learn and impress others

During the last decades, films about the black experience have been produced, directed, and even scripted by white men. Some of them are excellent. But most reflect George Bernard Shaw’s warning that 'if you do not tell your stories others will tell them for you and they will vulgarize and degrade you.'

49

Ethnic life in the United States has become a sort of contest like baseball in which the blacks are always the Chicago Cubs.

22

Writing poetry is the hard manual labor of the imagination.

19

No one says a novel has to be one thing.

It can be anything it wants to be, a vaudeville show, the six o’clock news, the mumblings of wild men saddled by demons.

16

The treatment of African and African American culture in our education was no different from their treatment in Tarzan movies.

12

I used to be a discipline problem, which caused me embarrassment until I realized that being a discipline problem in a racist society is sometimes an honor.

11

One of the joys of reading is the ability to plug into the shared wisdom of mankind.

10

A black boxer's career is the perfect metaphor for the career of a black male.

Every day is like being in the gym, sparring with impersonal opponents as one faces the rudeness and hostility that a black male must confront in the United States, where he is the object of both fear and fascination.

8

In the middle of the next century, when the literary establishment will reflect the multicultural makeup of this country and not be dominated by assimiliationists with similar tastes, from similar backgrounds, and of similar pretensions, Langston Hughes will be to the twentieth century what Walt Whitman was to the nineteenth.

8

In Haitian mythology there is the figure Ghede, who in West Africa, is Iku, whose role is to show "each man his devil." He's represented by a figure wearing a top hat and smoking a cigar. That's my gig.

8

I was roommates with 2 of the guys who were influential in forming the Black Arts philosophy. I called them "goons," and [Amiri] Baraka took offense at that. But if you read his autobiography, the night we went up there for a fundraiser, he talks about how he wished that some violence would happen to us. How do you like Baraka as a gracious host?

6

I think I have a pugnacious style. My style is not pretty. I don't use words like "amber" or "opaque."

6

About Ishmael Reed

Quotes 85 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Poet
Birthday October 16

I consider racism to be a medical problem.

Racists need serious medical and psychiatric help, because they are killing themselves and making others suffer along with them.

5

That kind of thing happens to black people every day in this country, and they don't receive that kind of sentence he did, which was to go to prison on the weekends; I think he lectured there-an outside lecturer.

4

Neo-Hoodoo is the 8 basic dances of 19th century New Orleans' Place Congo- the Calinda the Bamboula the Chacta the Babouille the Conjaille the Juba the Congo and the VooDoo- modernized into the Philly Dog, the Hully Gully, the Funky Chicken, the Popcorn, the Boogaloo and the dance of great American choreographer Buddy Bradley.

4

[David] Mamet is another hypocrite. His idea of Black man is a pimp who abuses women, [Edmond], yet his play Oleanna [1994] ends with a White professor slapping an uppity feminist, at least the version I saw at San Francisco's ACT.

3

Free enterprise is not a bad idea and has produced art.

3

Multicultural is not a description of a category of American writing-it is a definition of all American writing.

3

I'm sure that you could go back and make a graph showing that all the killings of black males increased in times of economic difficulty. As a matter of fact, a black man was lynched last year.

3

Writing has made me a better man. It has put me in contact with those fleeting moments which prove the existence.

2

Currently, U.S. society has been encouraged by its political and subsidized mass-media intelligentsia to view U.S. life as a continual "morning in America" paradise, where the only social problems occur in the inner cities. Psychologists call this denial.

1

History is the story of warfare between secret societies.

1

When I say Afro-American aesthetic, I'm not just talking about the United States, I'm talking about the Americas. People in the Latin countries read my books because they share the same international aesthetic that I'm into and have been into for a long time. And it's multicultural.

1

Native Americans were driven off their land.

Lincoln even took part in the Black Hawk campaign against the Native Americans in Illinois. While they were being exterminated and driven off their land, Whites were collecting assets.

0

I'm beginning to believe that Killer Illiteracy ought to rank near heart disease and cancer as one of the leading causes of deathamong Americans. What you don't know can indeed hurt you, and so those who can neither read nor write lead miserable lives, like Richard Wright's character, Bigger Thomas, born dead with no past or future.

0

Richard Price got a million dollar advance on one fake film book based on a paragraph outline and is able to seduce gullible White reviewers who know less about ghetto life than he. The New York Times has devoted more space to Price's tourist, ghetto writing than to any Black writer in history.

0

I'm not against White writers writing about Blacks as long as they are as objective as say James McPherson writing about an Irish American janitor in his brilliant short story "Gold Coast."

0

Given all of the anti-Muslim propaganda that's being disseminated by The American Nazi media, you have to be careful. It can stress you out.

0

Phillip Roth uses his Black women characters to make anti intellectual remarks about Black history month, begun by a man who reached intellectual heights that Roth will never attain. Roth is a petty bigot and his ignorant remarks about black culture expose him as a buffoon to scholars the world over.

0

I guess when it comes to this privileged White racist feminist movement they respect someone who treats them rough: John Wayne. Frank Sinatra. Phillip Roth.

0

We learn about one another's culture the same way we learn about sex: in the streets.

0

I don't know why people always compare me [ with Amiri Baraka] I was never part of the Black Arts Repertory Theater or the Black Arts Movement; people who claim that I was are wrong. I was downtown. I was living in Chelsea when they were operating in Harlem.

0

The Afrocentric exploration of the black past only scratches the surface.

A full examination of the ancestry of those who are referred to in the newspapers as blacks and African Americans must include Europe and Native America.

0

Another California study counted 30,000 substance abusers who are pregnant are White woman. So, The Wire paints the picture of drug addiction, drug dealing, and drug abuse as being a specifically a Black issue.

0

As for [Amiri] Baraka, he and I have disagreements.

I mean, he becomes a demagogue when there's an audience. He's a nice guy in private. I mean I like the guy; he's a terrific writer. I've published two of his books. Baraka is one of these fundamentalists who is prone to idol worship.

0

I've always wondered why European politicians as a group seemed brighter than American politicians as a group. Maybe it's becausemany American politicians have the race issue to fall back on. They become lazy, suspicious of innovative ideas, and as a result American institutions atrophy.

0

I get most my information about what's happening in the United States from reports and studies, which are often in conflict with what you read on the editorial pages, or handouts from right wing institutions like the American Enterprise Institute.

0

If the British prose style is Churchillian, America is the tobacco auctioneer, the barker; Runyon, Lardner, W.W., the traveling salesman who can sell the world the Brooklyn Bridge every day, can put anything over on you and convince you that tomatoes grow at the South Pole.

0

statistic: the us bureau of missing persons reports that in 1968 over 100,000 people disappeared leaving no solid clues nor traceonly a space in the lives of their friends.

0

Hateful material travels the globe. A few years ago, CNN, America's Der Sturmer, ran a story about Black parents being so low down that they abandoned their children and the children had to eat rats. I was at a University in Wisconsin at the time and the mother of a student from South Africa called to see whether the story was true. She had seen it all the way over there. The story was untrue. The children lied. CNN never corrected the story.

0

I have T.V. on all the time when I'm writing. I have music on. I'm engaged with the world.

0

I'm sure that a previous generation of Jews who published radical newspapers and journals would be critical of [David] Simon's projects. These were left wingers who suffered casualties in some of bloodiest strikes in American history.

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My generation of writers has been prone to premature illness and death, especially the women. When Black male writers meet it's like a session of the American Diabetic Association.

0

The descendants of Holy Roman Empire monarchies became feeble-minded in the twentieth century, and after World War I had been done in by the democracies; some were kept on to entertain the tourists, like the one they have in England.

0

I asked Joe Weixlmann why he would print a death threat like that in light of the fact that there are all of these armed ideological nuts wandering around loose. He said that for him, to "ice" someone means to reprimand them.

0

Howard University holds something called "Heart's Day," an all day ceremony in which a writer is honored. I was the recipient of this honor. It's a wonderful ceremony that Eleanor Traylor chair of English at Howard University organizes for writers. Writers from around the country came to pay tribute to my work. It was very flattering.

0

Constance L. Rice, co-director of the Los Angeles of the Advancement Project, told the Times that Seltzer might have been influenced by David Simon's fake ghetto series, "The Wire." It figures. Isn't this sexism? Isn't this a double standard? They're hard on this young woman for her fake ghetto book, yet praise these White guys for theirs. So there's a big market in downing Black men.

0

My stuff is direct. Critics have compared my writing style with boxing all the way back to 1978 when my first book of essays appeared: it was compared to Muhammad Ali's style.

0

The last publicized center of American writing was Manhattan.

Its writers became known as the New York Intellectuals. With important connections to publishing, and universities, with access to the major book reviews, they were able to pose as the vanguard of American culture when they were so obsessed with the two Joes--McCarthy and Stalin--that they were to produce only two artists, Saul Bellow and Philip Roth, who left town.

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