Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up. James Baldwin on Love

— James Baldwin

The most controversy James Baldwin quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening

Love takes off masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.

208

Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.

188

People can cry much easier than they can change.

157

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

113

Fires can't be made with dead embers, nor can enthusiasm be stirred by spiritless men. Enthusiasm in our daily work lightens effort and turns even labor into pleasant tasks.

104

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.

98

The paradox of education is precisely this -- that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.

79

Be careful what you set your heart upon -- for it will surely be yours.

79

If the relationship of father to son could really be reduced to biology, the whole earth would blaze with the glory of fathers and sons.

78

The establishment of democracy on the American continent was scarcely as radical a break with the past as was the necessity, which Americans faced, of broadening this concept to include black men.

65

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.

58

It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.

54

About James Baldwin

Quotes 106 sayings
Nationality American
Profession Educator
Birthday August 2, 1924

It is very nearly impossible... to become an educated person in a country so distrustful of the independent mind.

54

It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.

47

Love him and let him love you. Do you think anything else under heaven really matters?

46

The most dangerous creation of any society is the man who has nothing to lose.

46

Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated, and this was an immutable law.

42

People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.

35

Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart;

for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.

33

American history is longer, larger, more various, more beautiful, and more terrible than anything anyone has ever said about it.

24

The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone.

23

The young think that failure is the Siberian end of the line, banishment from all the living, and tend to do what I then did - which was to hide.

20

But the relationship of morality and power is a very subtle one.

Because ultimately power without morality is no longer power.

20

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an immediate knowledge of its ugly side.

18

Anyone who has struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.

16

The power of the white world is threatened whenever a black man refuses to accept the white world's definitions.

15

Everybody's journey is individual. If you fall in love with a boy, you fall in love with a boy. The fact that many Americans consider it a disease says more about them than it does about homosexuality.

15

No people come into possession of a culture without having paid a heavy price for it.

13

Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.

13

Education is indoctrination if you're white - subjugation if you're black.

12

A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him, and a child cannot afford to be fooled.

12

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.

12

There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation.

The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now.

11

The only thing that white people have that black people need, or should want, is power-and no one holds power forever.

10

It is a very rare man who does not victimize the helpless.

9

We cannot discuss the state of our minorities until we first have some sense of what we are, who we are, what our goals are, and what we take life to be. The question is not what we can do now for the hypothetical Mexican, the hypothetical Negro. The question is what we really want out of life, for ourselves, what we think is real.

8

Money, it turned out, was exactly like sex, you thought of nothing else if you didn't have it and thought of other things if you did.

8

An identity would seem to be arrived at by the way in which the person faces and uses his experience.

7

The price one pays for pursuing any profession, or calling, is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.

7

Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent.

6

We have all had the experience of finding that our reactions and perhaps even our deeds have denied beliefs we thought were ours.

5

Rage cannot be hidden, it can only be dissembled.

This dissembling deludes the thoughtless, and strengthens rage and adds, to rage, contempt.

5

I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.

5

Society is held together by our need;

we bind it together with legend, myth, coercion, fearing that without it we will be hurled into that void, within which, like the earth before the Word was spoken, the foundations of society are hidden.

5

Christianity has operated with an unmitigated arrogance and cruelty -- necessarily, since a religion ordinarily imposes on those who have discovered the true faith the spiritual duty of liberating the infidels.

5

To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger.

5

People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.

5

There is a sanctity involved with bringing a child into this world: it is better than bombing one out of it.

5

Pessimists are the people who have no hope for themselves or for others.

Pessimists are also people who think the human race is beneath their notice, that they're better than other human beings.

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