Quotes Categories

James Baldwin Quotes

(1924-1987), American Author

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.

Category: Abuse

Americans, unhappily, have the most remarkable ability to alchemize all bitter truths into an innocuous but piquant confection and to transform their moral contradictions, or public discussion of such contradictions, into a proud decoration, such as are given for heroism on the battle field.

Category: America

Rage cannot be hidden, it can only be dissembled. This dissembling deludes the thoughtless, and strengthens rage and adds, to rage, contempt.

Category: Anger

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.

Category: Arts And Artists

Confronted with the impossibility of remaining faithful to one's beliefs, and the equal impossibility of becoming free of them, one can be driven to the most inhuman excesses.

Category: Belief

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

Category: Belief

When the book comes out it may hurt you -- but in order for me to do it, it had to hurt me first. I can only tell you about yourself as much as I can face about myself.

Category: Books And Reading

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

Category: Children

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

Category: Children

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.

Category: Christians And Christianity

The American ideal, after all, is that everyone should be as much alike as possible.

Category: Conformity

Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have.

Category: Death And Dying

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

Category: Desire

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

Category: Education

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

Category: Education