A child born to a Black mother in a state like Mississippi has exactly the same rights as a white baby born to the wealthiest person in the United States. It’s not true, but I challenge anyone to say it is not a goal worth working for.
—Thurgood Marshall (1908–93) American Jurist
Racism as a form of skin worship, and as a sickness and a pathological anxiety for America, is so great, until the poor whites—rather than fighting for jobs or education—fight to remain pink and fight to remain white. And therefore they cannot see an alliance with people that they feel to be inherently inferior.
—Jesse Jackson (b.1941) American Baptist Civil Rights Activist, Minister
The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line—the relation of the darker to the lighter races of men in Asia and Africa, in America and the islands of the sea. It was a phase of this problem that caused the Civil War.
—W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963) American Sociologist, Social Reformer
As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.
—Harper Lee (1926–2016) American Novelist
I realize that I’m black, but I like to be viewed as a person, and this is everybody’s wish.
—Michael Jordan (b.1963) American Sportsperson, Businessperson
And so this is Xmas for black and for white, for yellow and red, let’s stop all the fight.
—John Lennon (1940–80) British Singer, Songwriter, Musician, Activist
If my theory of relativity is proven successful, Germany will claim me as a German and France will declare that I am a citizen of the world. Should my theory prove untrue, France will say that I am a German and Germany will declare that I am a Jew.
—Albert Einstein (1879–1955) German-born Physicist
Our true nationality is mankind.
—H. G. Wells (1866–1946) English Novelist, Historian, Social Thinker
The worst mistake I made was that stupid, suburban prejudice of anti-Semitism.
—Ezra Pound (1885-1972) American Poet, Translator, Critic
I do not think white America is committed to granting equality to the American Negro… this is a passionately racist country; it will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.
—Susan Sontag (1933–2004) American Writer, Philosopher
I wasn’t always black… There was this freckle, and it got bigger and bigger.
—Bill Cosby (b.1937) American Actor, Comedian, Activist, Producer, Author
Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war and until there are no longer first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, until the color of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes. And until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race, there is war. And until that day, the dream of lasting peace, world citizenship, rule of international morality, will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained… now everywhere is war.
I am obliged to confess that I do not regard the abolition of slavery as a means of warding off the struggle of the two races in the Southern states. The Negroes may long remain slaves without complaining; but if they are once raised to the level of freemen, they will soon revolt at being deprived of almost all their civil rights; and as they cannot become the equals of the whites, they will speedily show themselves as enemies.
—Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59) French Historian, Political Scientist
No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.
—Elie Wiesel (1928–2016) Romanian-born American Writer, Professor, Political Activist
I am not an Athenian or a Greek, I am a citizen of the world.
—Socrates (469BCE–399BCE) Ancient Greek Philosopher