Friday, October 20, 2017

Quote of the Day

The white folk who claim that the call to stop using the word [nigger] is to cave in to political correctness ignore history and black humanity.  They are the kind of whites who pose as "honest."

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 136

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Quote of the Day

Poems can inspire us -- in our classrooms and in our homes -- to write our own journeys, to find our own voices.

-- Kwame Alexander, Out of Wonder, Preface

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Quote of the Day

Black folk have had to know white culture inside out ... We have to know as much as we can know about you to keep you from wrecking our lives because you had a bad day.  We have to know all we can know about you to keep you from firing us or gentrifying our communities and shipping us to the outer perimeters of hell.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 135-136

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Quote of the Day

A poem is a small but powerful thing.  It has the power to reach inside of you, to ignite something in you, and to change you in ways you never imagined.  There is a feeling of connection and communion -- with the author and the subject -- when we read a poem that articulates our deepest feelings.  That connection can be a vehicle on the road to creativity and imagination.

-- Kwame Alexander, Out of Wonder, Preface

Monday, October 16, 2017

Quote of the Day

Nigger condenses the history of hate and the culture of violence against black folk.  When white folk say the word they bridge the gap between themselves and the hateful history it reflects.  It links verbal and physical violence.  The term is also a form of moral violence.  It has to do with the intentions of white folk when they hurl that word in our presence.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 132

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Quote of the Day

Okay, so you're someone who doesn't fit in.  That doesn't mean you have to be surly about it.  The very best outlaws are the charming ones, anyway.  So, be well mannered.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 178

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Quote of the Day

Beloved, your white innocence is a burden to you, a burden to the nation, a burden to our progress.  It is time to let it go, to let it die in place of the black bodies that it wills into nonbeing.  In its place should rise a curiosity, but even more, a genuine desire to know and understand just what it means to be black in America.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 123

Friday, October 13, 2017

Quote of the Day

Each time I walk toward what's scaring me most -- and keep on walking toward it -- I end up walking right through that fear to some other side where I am no longer afraid.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 174

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Quote of the Day

The greatest mark of our humanity and character shows when we are concerned about others beyond our circle.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 121

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Quote of the Day

Cute and dashing are age-free, race-free, class-free and gender-free identities.  You don't need any particular look to be cute or dashing -- it's cross-cultural.  You don't need to spend money on any particular accessories.  Like most things, they work best if you don't force it.  So, get on out there and be cute or dashing.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 174

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Quote of the Day

Patriotism is the belief in the best values of one's country, and the pursuit of the best means to realize those values.  If the nation strays, then it must be corrected.  The patriot is the person who, spotting the need for change, says so clearly and loudly, without hate or rancor.  The nationalist is the person who spurns such correction and would rather take refuge in bigotry than fight it.  It is the nationalists who wrap themselves in a flag and loudly proclaim themselves as patriots.  That is dangerous, as glimpsed in Trump's amplification of racist and xenophobic sentiments.  In the end, Trump is a nationalist, and Kaepernick is a patriot.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 116

Monday, October 9, 2017

Quote of the Day

Cute doesn't mean weak, subservient, or incapable of protecting oneself.  To the contrary, cute is distinctively capable of inflicting serious damage.  Porcupines are super cute, but you wouldn't want to fuck with one.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 173-174

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Quote of the Day

Nationalism is the uncritical celebration of one's nation regardless of its moral or political virtue.  It is summarized in the saying, "My country right or wrong."  Lump it or leave it.  Nationalism is a harmful belief that can lead a country down a dangerous spiral of arrogance, or off a precipice of political narcissism.  Nationalism is the belief that no matter what one's country does -- whether racist, homophobic, sexist, xenophobic, or the like -- it must be supported and accepted entirely.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 116

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Quote of the Day

One of the best things about being a recognizable freak or outsider is that your best friends don't mind, and usually even appreciate, a lot of the weird stuff about you.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 167

Friday, October 6, 2017

Quote of the Day

The opposition to black displays of dissent rests on a faulty premise and a confusion of terms.  Many of you who oppose our dissent because of patriotism are really opposing us because of nationalism, and, whether you know it or not, a white nationalism at that.  There is a big difference between nationalism and patriotism.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 116

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Quote of the Day

Keeping a secret, staying in some closet, never expressing some loving part of ourselves can drain our energy to the point of exhaustion.  And then there's all the paranoia about someone finding out.  It makes you jumpy.  So, come on out.  You don't have to come out to everyone all at once.  Start by coming out to someone that other people have safely come out to.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 166

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Quote of the Day

Donald Trump is missing the point when he says that [Colin] Kaepernick should "find a country that works better for him."  Instead, Kaepernick believes so deeply in this country that he is willing to offer correction rather than abandon the nation -- and to donate a million dollars in support of racial justice causes.  But innocent whiteness recoils at such instruction.  It pushes back against the notion that it could possibly learn anything from a black body kneeling on white sacred territory.  But it is that same territory that profanes and then swallows the bodies of unarmed black folk.  We must see Kaepernick's criticism as love -- the tough love that America needs.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 115

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Quote of the Day

It's always worth the risk to come out of whatever closet we've been keeping ourselves in.  But each of us is entitled to make the decision about just how and when to do it.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 165

Monday, October 2, 2017

Quote of the Day

What some of you are missing is that [Colin] Kaepernick is the best kind of American there is: one willing to criticize his country precisely because he loves it so much.  James Baldwin said it best when he wrote, "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."  Both Baldwin and Kaepernick have offended you so greatly because they insisted on separating whiteness from American identity.  The two are neither synonymous nor exhaustive; they neither signify all that America means, nor can they possibly radiate the full brightness of her promise.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 115

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Quote of the Day

You don't have to support a despot just because he's holding the office of president of the United States.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 143

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Quote of the Day

How many of you realize that black soldiers who had fought valiantly for American liberties sometimes returned home to die on the lynching tree because racist whites resented them for wearing the uniform or hoisting the American flag?

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 113

Friday, September 29, 2017

Quote of the Day

There's a Native American saying that goes something like, "Show me who you love, and I'll know who you are."  If you want to get to the heart of a person you're trying to get to know, find out who or what it is they love.  Let someone know who or what you love, too.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 137

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Quote of the Day

How many of you who claim that [Colin] Kaepernick is unpatriotic realize that many black men put on an American uniform and fought overseas, only to return home to be spurned and denied the rights for which they fought?

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 113

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Quote of the Day

The odds are skyrocket high that you've got something in common with anyone you meet, if you listen sincerely enough.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 137

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Quote of the Day

Yes, yes, some will say -- but not all Republicans are like Trump.  Not all of them even like Trump.  It is true that parts of the Republican establishment finally, and unconvincingly, rebelled against Trump.  But it was these same "reasonable" Republicans who ignored his early impact.  They refused to listen to those who insisted that his vitriol was destructive to the country.  As long as it didn't impact Republican, or white, interests, the lives Trump imperiled didn't matter.  Now that he has been elected president, many Republicans have overcome their misgivings and enthusiastically returned to the fold.  The party for which he is now standard-bearer must be held accountable for his creation.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 110-111

Monday, September 25, 2017

Quote of the Day

Stuff tends to sell when it's made from a completely different perspective than most people are used to.  Art and craft have value because they can make people think and feel things that they aren't used to thinking or feeling.  The truer you are to yourself while you are making your stuff, the more success you'll find in selling it.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 132

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Quote of the Day

Trump, more than anything else, signifies the undying force of the fear unleashed by Obama's presidency.  He manipulates a confused and self-pitying white public.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 110

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Quote of the Day

You don't have to pay attention to who may or may not look at (your art).  Make art because it's better than being mean and/or hurting anyone, including yourself.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 131

Friday, September 22, 2017

Quote of the Day

Barack Obama so spooked the bigoted whites of this country that we are now faced with a racist explicitness that we haven't seen since the height of the civil rights movement.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 110

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Quote of the Day

The good news about suicidal longing is that it's got the potential to fuel great art.  The better news is that whatever has got you thinking about killing yourself will lose its power when you use it to make art instead.  The best news is that you don't have to be an artist for this alternative to work.  Everyone, I repeat, everyone, can make art that speaks to someone.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 131

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Quote of the Day

Trump's efficacy as an ambassador of unrepentant white innocence, and ignorance, and privilege, doesn't depend on whether his personal racial views add up to bigotry.  What he's done in public will suffice to pass judgment.  Trump's political popularity took off when he sullied the citizenship of Barack Obama, the nation's first black president.  The "birther" claims were driven by unwarranted skepticism about the place of Obama's birth and the status of his birth certificate.  Trump's recent assertion that Obama is an American still rang false and appeared as little more than an attempt to deflect responsibility for his vicious views onto his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.  His admission that he said Obama was born in America to keep his campaign going was a moment of ruthless honesty that sealed the case.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 109-110

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Quote of the Day

Artistic genius is usually not the product of a life easily lived.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 131

Monday, September 18, 2017

Quote of the Day

(Donald Trump) possesses a brutally appealing magnetism that, tragically, amplifies the most virulent rumblings of racism, misogyny, and xenophobia this country has reckoned with in quite some time.  That is because Donald Trump is the literal face of white innocence without consciousness, white privilege without apology.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 109

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Quote of the Day

Hollywood -- Hollywood, where shiny tan white people play Egyptian pharaohs and queens -- never told my mom that Cleopatra looked like her.  That Cleopatra had dark skin and a round body.

-- Gabourey Sidibe, This Is Just My Face, p. 28-29

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Quote of the Day

Making people laugh is an excellent way to deflect violence and insults, and reclaim our own voices.  It's smoke and mirrors.  It gives you the control to focus audience attention where you want it and explore the parts of your suffering that you find humor in.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 130

Friday, September 15, 2017

Quote of the Day

It is harder to indict forces and institutions than the individuals who put a face to the problem.  Institutional racism is a system of ingrained social practices that perpetuate and preserve racial hierarchy.  Institutional racism requires neither conscious effort nor individual intent.  It is glimpsed in the denial of quality education to black and brown students because they live in poor neighborhoods where public schools depend on the tax base for revenue.  Minority students, like the ones I teach at Georgetown, are more often beset by economic and social forces than overt efforts to deny them equal education.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 107

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Quote of the Day

The standards of beauty in America's uber-culture are purposefully set too high so that we will buy anything in our frantic scramble to become attractive.  We are meant to feel crushed, inadequate, and less-than so that we'll buy more and more things in the vain hope of "fixing" ourselves.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 128

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Quote of the Day

There is a big difference between the act of owning up to your part in perpetuating white privilege and the notion that you alone, or mostly, are responsible for the unjust system we fight.  You make our request appear ridiculous by exaggerating its moral demand, by making it seem only, or even primarily, individual, when it is symbolic, collective.  By over dramatizing the nature of your personal actions you sidestep complicity.  By sidestepping complicity, you hold fast to innocence.  By holding fast to innocence, you maintain power.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 105

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Quote of the Day

Making peace with ourselves over something we've done is how we teach ourselves not to do dishonorable things in the future.  If we need time away in order to make that kind of peace, then we should take that time.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 123-124

Monday, September 11, 2017

Quote of the Day

The most radical action a white person can take is to acknowledge this denied privilege, to say, "Yes, you're right.  In our institutional structures, and in deep psychological structures, our underlying assumption is that our lives are worth more than yours."

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 104

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Quote of the Day

Try it out: spend one day living like you're some visiting dignitary in a world that welcomes and celebrates people like you.  That's what living your life is supposed to feel like, no matter what kind of freak or outsider other people might think you are.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 111-112

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Quote of the Day

This is why the cry "Black Lives Matter" angers you so greatly, why it is utterly offensive and effortlessly revolutionary.  It takes aim at white innocence and insists on uncovering the lie of its neutrality, its naturalness, its normalcy, its normativity.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 104

Friday, September 8, 2017

Quote of the Day

Everyone deserves to feel cared for, respected, and welcome.  So, shouldn't we learn how to do that for ourselves?

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 111

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Quote of the Day

White fragility is a will to innocence that serves to bury the violence it sits on top of.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 103

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Quote of the Day

Less and less movement is a sign of less and less life.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 107

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Quote of the Day

As my brave white student discovered, whiteness claims so loudly its innocence because it is guilty, or at least a lot of white folk feel that way.  This is why, of course, your resistance to feelings of guilt is absurdly intense.  There is a terror in accepting accountability, because it doesn't end with your recognition that something is rotten in Denver or Detroit.  It suggests something is amiss across our country.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 100

Monday, September 4, 2017

Quote of the Day

Showing up for one another with authenticity and vulnerability -- and sticking together through life's hard times -- is what bonds us the deepest to each other.  When we learn to connect with people in this way, we foster intimate and lasting, ride-or-die relationships.  Ultimately, the moments of sorrow and fear we sit through together will also give us our moments of greatest nourishment, as both givers and receivers.  So yeah: learning to show up can be scary.  But is the temporary fear and discomfort worth it?  More than anything.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 243

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Quote of the Day

No one is perfectly kind, compassionate, and generous.  But you can live a kinder, more compassionate, and generous life by following just one simple rule: DON'T BE MEAN.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 96

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Quote of the Day

Justice is what love sounds like when it speaks in public.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 100

Friday, September 1, 2017

Quote of the Day

For a griever, there is rarely any more comfort than companionship on the awful path of sorrow.  Hopefully, that path will also include joy in time.  But there is no guarantee that it will, and there is no timeline for when it does.  There is no human gain in shying away from that reality, as difficult as it may feel.  That is the plight of the griever; that is the plight of the witness.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 225

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Quote of the Day

Being mean triggers shame and regret, not to mention bad karma.  Shame and regret are nature's way of telling us to forgive ourselves for whatever we just did, apologize and make amends for it if we can, and try to do better next time.  That's how we learn to be kind as we keep on in life's journey.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 95-96

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Quote of the Day

Although I'm a man of books and thought, I'm also a man of faith.  It is my faith that helps me see how whiteness has become a religion.  The idolatry of whiteness and the cloak of innocence that shields it can only be quenched by love, but not merely, or even primarily, a private, personal notion of love, but a public expression of love that holds us all accountable.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 100

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Quote of the Day

Too often, efforts at comforting a suffering person are made before that person is asked how they're feeling.  We want to help by fixing, but that often implies the "fixer" is right, and the person being fixed is "defective" for not having "solved" the problem on their own.  When such attempts to comfort don't work, it's not a problem of the sufferer being unappreciative -- it's simply that the consoler failed to connect.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 224

Monday, August 28, 2017

Quote of the Day

I think anger is a whole lot more positive a feeling than depression.  I feel a lot healthier when I'm angry than when I'm paralyzed in a deep funk.  Other people around me might prefer me when I'm not flying off the handle, but most folks who know me now appreciate that my anger is a step up my own personal ladder to feeling better.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 94-95

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Quote of the Day

When many white folk disagree, or feel uncomfortable, they get up and walk out of the room.  Black folk and other people of color rarely exercise that option.  We don't usually believe that doing so would solve anything.  We don't trust that once we leave the room the right thing will be done.  Plus we've fought so hard to get into most rooms that a little discomfort is hardly a reason to drive us from the premises.  Such rooms likely affect our destinies, something that many white folk needn't worry about, because they have access to so many other rooms just like the ones they are leaving.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 98-99

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Quote of the Day

A great rule of thumb when supporting someone in a hard time echoes the Hippocratic oath in medicine: "Do no harm."  Resist the problem-solving urge; resist the urge to be smart and "fix" it.  Take comfort in the fact that life gives us plenty of other opportunities to prove how smart we are.  What to do instead?  Embrace the awkward silence.  You'll live through it just fine.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 220

Friday, August 25, 2017

Quote of the Day

The next time you just wanna die, kill off the part of you that got you into trouble instead and go on living as a whole new person.  This is called the art of selective serial suicide.  It's how I try to consciously pick out all the stuff I don't like about myself and mark it for execution.  It's the me who's mean, inconsiderate, greedy, and selfish.  Those are the parts of me I wanna kill off, and I've been doing that consciously for nearly two decades.  I've been killing off the parts of myself that need to die and making lots of room for all the parts of me that are beautiful and kind and life affirming.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 75-76

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Quote of the Day

White fragility, as conceived by antiracist activist and educational theorist Robin DiAngelo, at times leads white folk to argue, to retreat into silence, or simply to exit a stressful situation.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 98

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Quote of the Day

Another possible, undesirable side effect of a comment like "You are so strong" is that it puts the suffering person on a pedestal and can make them feel reluctant to be "real" with their emotions, for fear of letting others down or burdening them by sharing the real pain they may be going through.  As Kelsey was told by a woman after she lost her spouse: "I cringed when people said, 'You are so strong.'  I may have appeared strong, but I was falling apart inside.  I was surviving only because of Paxil."

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 213

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Quote of the Day

If you have a people-pleasing personality, you can get stuck on the treadmill of your life and not look at how you're doing.

-- Judd Apatow

Monday, August 21, 2017

Quote of the Day

However, it is the case that any unfulfilled desire may bring a great deal of pain, sometimes enough pain to make you want to die.  That kind of pain always passes.  Always.  It's not bottomless.  It has an end.  Everyone goes through a time in their life when all there is to living is staying alive one day at a time.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 66

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Quote of the Day

White fragility is the belief that even the slightest pressure is seen by white folk as battering, as intolerable, and can provoke anger, fear, and, yes, even guilt.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 98

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Quote of the Day

It's hard to resist sharing the twenty-twenty hindsight that comes to us so clearly in the time of someone else's difficulty (but so rarely in times of our own).  But it's never ever the right thing to do.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 211

Friday, August 18, 2017

Quote of the Day

All my philosophies go back to Mr. Rogers. I feel like that simple ideology is not forefront enough in our culture -- kindness, compassion, wanting the other person to be happy.  We live in a world where Republicans want to create laws to make it harder to vote because they know that if more people vote, the party will have a tougher time.  Everyone is suddenly allowed to be a hypocrite because it's just about winning, and I think that will be the death of us.

-- Judd Apatow

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Quote of the Day

Desire gets us into trouble when we believe that having or not having something will make us a better or worse person.  That's just not true.  You are a perfectly fine and whole person just the way you are.  Being a better person depends on your intentions to ease suffering for yourself and others.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 64-65

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Quote of the Day

You often deem black dissent as disloyalty to America.  But that black dissent may yet redeem a white innocence that threatens the nation's moral and patriotic health.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 96

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Quote of the Day

If you ask the person in crisis how they're feeling, and they respond with unbridled optimism or a phrase that you would consider to be a platitude, it's okay to follow their lead and mirror their language.  Your positive perspective, in this case, would likely be helpful.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 211

Monday, August 14, 2017

Quote of the Day

As outsiders in junior high, we never dreamed of questioning people who asked us are we one thing or another, are we with them or against them.  But all that's changed now.  You get to dream and live yourself a good life starting today.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 60

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Quote of the Day

You say we black folk are thin-skinned about race ... You argue that all of us are too politically correct ... And yet you barely tolerate any challenge to your thinking on race.  I say thinking, my friends, though that is being kind.  Many of you hardly think of race.  You shield yourselves from what you don't want to understand.  You reveal your brute strength in one contemptible display of power after the next, and yet you claim that we reap benefits by playing the victim.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 95

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Quote of the Day

... by using the word empowered to describe women, men are simply maintaining their own power and control.

-- Kim Gordon, Girl in a Band, p. 132

Friday, August 11, 2017

Quote of the Day

If fix-it platitudes are so unhelpful, why are they so common?  Val Walker, in her book, The Art of Comforting, argues that our culture values production over presence, and organization over emotional mess.  We believe in getting things done rather than just letting things be, and we believe that "healing" means getting over rather than learning to live with the loss.  Our discomfort with suffering, and our rush to make it stop, can result in simpleminded fixes that suggest the problem of grief is an easy one to get over.  This superficial effort just makes the suffering person feel even more broken (and pathetic) for suffering at all, and more detached from the person trying to help.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 207

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Quote of the Day

Here's a good challenge for you: free your imagination from the institutions that enthrall you.  And when you've finished doing that, go help some other people free theirs.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 60

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Quote of the Day

The reason "Black Lives Matter" needs to be shouted is because American history ignored black history, didn't tell black stories.  The founding documents of American society didn't include black life.  When black folk say "Black Lives Matter," they are in search of simple recognition.  That they are decent human beings, that they aren't likely to commit crimes, that they're reasonably smart.  That they're no more evil than the next person, that they're willing to work hard to get ahead, that they love their kids and want them to do better than they did.  That they are loving and kind and compassionate.  And that they should be treated with the same respect that the average, nondescript, unexceptional white male routinely receives without fanfare or the expectation of gratitude in return.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 92-93

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Quote of the Day

When you listen to old R&B records, the women on them sang in a really fierce, kick-ass way.  In general, though, women aren't really allowed to be kick-ass.  It's like the famous distinction between art and craft: Art, and wildness, and pushing against the edges, is a male thing.  Craft, and control, and polish, is for women.  Culturally we don't allow women to be as free as they would like, because that is frightening.  We either shun those women or deem them crazy.  Female singers who push too much, and too hard, don't tend to last very long.  They're jags, bolts, comets: Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday.  But being that woman who pushes the boundaries means you also bring in less desirable aspects of yourself.  At the end of the day, women are expected to hold up the world, not annihilate it.

-- Kim Gordon, Girl in a Band, p. 127

Monday, August 7, 2017

Quote of the Day

Eventually, with time and perspective, the person in crisis may be able to look back on this time in their lives and think, You know what, I can see how X good thing came out of that terrible event.  Making meaning out of horrible situations does help people cope with them.  But that kind of benefit is something we each arrive at (or not) on our own, in our own time.  No amount of force-fed positivity will help, unless the suffering person is ready to go there.  And in the immediate aftermath of a diagnosis, death, or loss, very few people are.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 205

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Quote of the Day

We can begin by celebrating difference.  Let's stop hiding difference away where we don't have to look at it or think about it.  Let's stop teasing, attacking, or bombing the hell out of difference just because it's not like us.  Let's stop "tolerating" or "accepting" difference, as if we're so much better for not being different.  Instead, let's celebrate difference, because in this world it takes a lot of guts to be different and to act differently.  Exactly how we celebrate difference is for each of us to discover.  But any political movement we support must be one that truly celebrates difference.  That's how we start to put an end to the bully culture that's spreading across this country and the world at such an alarming rate.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 59

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Quote of the Day

Many of you are "shocked, shocked!" that black folk have taken to reminding you that "Black Lives Matter."  Some of you are just peeved, but others of you are enraged.  That's because you're used to distorting and diluting our history without much frontal challenge.  You fail to realize that the nation has already set the standard for determining which lives matter and which don't.  Black lives were excluded from the start.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 92

Friday, August 4, 2017

Quote of the Day

... first records succeed now and again because you don't quite know what you're doing but you go ahead and do it anyway.

-- Kim Gordon, Girl in a Band, p. 123

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Quote of the Day

You may very well believe that everything happens for a reason, or that God has a plan.  Many people do.  But these are your beliefs, and unless you know that the suffering person shares them, they likely won't serve as comfort the way they might for you.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 205

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Quote of the Day

Look, I want to be a good and better person every day of my life.  I want to be the best possible me I can be.  I want to live in a world where people won't try to hurt me for trying to achieve happiness the best way I've found to do so.  I assume that other people want that, too.  You want to be a good and better person.  I believe that.  So, let's put aside the mean ways of doing things that we developed because, for some reason or other, we couldn't see that there were other options.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 58-59

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Quote of the Day

My friends, we cannot deny that white folk of conscience were of enormous help to the cause of black struggle.  Black and white folk often formed dynamic partnerships to combat racial inequality.  But too often white folk want to be treated with kid gloves, or treated like adolescents who can't take the truth of grownup racial history.  So we have to spoon-feed you that truth and put your white faces in our stories to make you see them, perhaps like them, or at least to consider them legitimate and worthy of your attention.  Appealing to your ego to protect our backsides, that's the bargain many of us are forced to make.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 91-92

Monday, July 31, 2017

Quote of the Day

Families are like little villages.  You know where everything is, you know how everything works, your identity is fixed, and you can't really leave, or connect with anything or anybody outside, until you're physically no longer there.

-- Kim Gordon, Girl in a Band, p. 59

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Quote of the Day

Research backs this up: unbridled positivity in an experience of failure or distress makes people feel worse, not better.  What ours and the experience of many others also confirms is that putting a positive spin on something difficult usually winds up feeling like an effort to get the griever to stop talking about it, making the griever shut down (and stop calling you).

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 205

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Quote of the Day

Changing our cruel, childish dynamics is not anything that can be legislated.  A new, inclusive, and compassionate politic must be lived by more and more people every day, free from the institutions that would enthrall them.  It's got to start with each and every one of us.  We need to include in our loving, caring, generous, and compassionate lives people who share our loving, caring, generous, and compassionate values, no matter their race or politics or religion, no matter their gender or sexuality.  We need to work on behalf of everyone who's being oppressed by a system we bought into as children and never bothered to change.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 58

Friday, July 28, 2017

Quote of the Day

One of the greatest privileges of whiteness is not to see color, not to see race, and not to pay a price for ignoring it, except, of course, when you're called on it.  But even then, that price pales, quite literally, in comparison to the high price black folk pay for being black.  We pay a price, too, for not even being able to derive recognition, and financial reward, for the styles that make the world want to be black so bad that they don't mind looking like us, as long as they never, ever have to be us. 

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 86

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Quote of the Day

... to overcome my own hypersensitivity, I had no choice but to turn fearless.

-- Kim Gordon, Girl in a Band, p. 14

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Quote of the Day

It can be hard for the optimistically inclined among us to hear, but optimistic reactions, ones that people who are grieving might consider irrationally optimistic, can be even tougher to bear than pessimistic reactions.  For people in crisis, ill-timed optimism just feels like a meaningless empty platitude, especially for a situation that really might not get better.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 204-205

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Quote of the Day

I am saying that everyone would benefit from a change in the dynamic that oppresses us all in one way or another.  I am asking you to do something, anything, every day to change the way we as a culture have been dealing with difference.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 57-58

Monday, July 24, 2017

Quote of the Day

When some of you say, "I don't see color," you are either well-intending naifs or willful race evaders.  In either case you don't help the cause.  The failure to see color only benefits white America.  A world without color is a world without racial debt.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 86

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Quote of the Day

When you want to reach out to a person going through something that you've also experienced yourself, you can now see why it's a good idea to restrain your normal, but incredibly unhelpful impulse to compare your situations.  If you don't feel prepared to handle someone else's difficulty because of the intense feelings it brings up about your own...explore other ways of being there for your friend that don't involve much talking about it.  And if you want to talk about the feelings that are coming up for you as a result of a friend's difficult time, talk to others about what's going on -- not your suffering friend.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 198

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Quote of the Day

I think, instead, we should try something like this: "Excuse me...I hope I'm not interrupting," and only when we've determined that we're truly not interrupting someone or intruding on their privacy, do we proceed to ask, "I find you fascinating and so different from me.  Might I ask you what your life's been like?  I think we could learn something from each other."  How about that for putting aside childish ways that no longer work in the lives of kind, generous, inclusive adults?  Isn't that easy?

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 56-57

Friday, July 21, 2017

Quote of the Day

The appropriation of "minority" cultures by white writers with a political advantage leaves people of color little room to speak their truths in their own ways.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 84

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Quote of the Day

Unless you actually are an expert, whose expertise is being asked for, hearing news of someone's crisis is not the time to offer up casual theories about their misfortune.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 197

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Quote of the Day

I think it's time for all of us to put away the childish things that don't work in the lives of kind, generous adults.  I think we need to find alternatives to saying, or even thinking, childish things like, "Hey Faggot, Hey Cunt, Hey Nigger..."  I think we need to find alternatives to saying, or even just thinking, childish things like, "You're too fat to be on our side," or too ugly, or too poor, or too Arab...I think we need to find alternatives to saying, or even just thinking, childish things like, "You're either with us, or you're against us..."

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 56

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Quote of the Day

When it comes to race the past is always present.  What Jim Crow achieved in the past through, say, redlining -- where services like banking, insurance, health care, and supermarkets are denied to specific racial or ethnic groups -- continues to this day.  Formal segregation in housing policies may have been struck down, but steering, where real estate brokers direct home buyers toward or away from particular neighborhoods based on race, is as effective as ever.  School segregation is no longer the law of the land, but classrooms today are depressingly re-segregated.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 79-80

Monday, July 17, 2017

Quote of the Day

When it comes to being supportive, being smart matters way less than being kind (and well mannered).

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 197

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Quote of the Day

As kids, most of us didn't kill the class freaks.  But, we developed something equally effective: We knew how to make the class freaks want to kill themselves.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 52

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Quote of the Day

A great deal of white advantage has nothing to do with how you actively resist black success, or the success of other people of color.  It's what you do for each other, how you take each other into account, that makes up a lot of what we have come to call "white privilege."

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 79

Friday, July 14, 2017

Quote of the Day

When we're trying to relate to someone in their difficult time, our most common instinct is to compare it to our own situation ... when doing so, it may seem altruistic to help someone not feel alone.  But in fact, comments such as "I know how you feel" or "That's so much like what happened to me" can close off opportunities to learn what the person in crisis is feeling.  As one divorced person said: "My mother believed that my divorce would be just like hers.  She didn't want to, or couldn't, see that my divorce was different, that I am different!"  As someone who lost both parents said: "In general, I'm surprised by how folks are quick to start telling their own story but not really care about yours."

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 190-191

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Quote of the Day

By leaving no options for an outsider in the world, a bully culture engineers its own destruction.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 51

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Quote of the Day

One of the great perks of being white in America is the capacity to forget at will.  The sort of amnesia that blankets white America is reflected in an Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman lyric sung by Barbra Streisand: "What's too painful to remember we simply choose to forget."  The second stage of grief flashes in the assertion "it didn't happen."  Instead of "forget it," there is "deny it."  Civil rights icon Joseph Lowery often says that we live in the fifty-first state, the state of denial.  Denial is even more sinister than amnesia because there is some concession to facts that are then roundly negated.  Here is where the gaslight effect goes wild.  Black folk are made to feel crazy for believing something they know to be true.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 78

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Quote of the Day

Loss doesn't have an expiration date.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 134

Monday, July 10, 2017

Quote of the Day

On this continent alone, some of us grew up Christian, some of us Jewish, and some Unitarian.  Some of us were raised Buddhist, some Quaker, or Muslim, Hindu, or Wiccan.  Some of us were even raised Scientologist.  Many of us have been taught that our own mythology is the right, or only, one.  This makes coexistence way tougher than it needs to be.  Mythologies with more power than others to enforce their beliefs bully the world and make it difficult, or nearly impossible, to live differently from their traditions and from their ideas of purity and righteousness.  Ideally, nobody would wanna impose their beliefs on anyone -- we would just try to prevent meanness and preserve everyone's right to pursue happiness.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 49

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Quote of the Day

President Donald Trump chose "Make America Great Again" as his 2016 campaign slogan.  It sounded the call to white America to return to simpler, better days.  But the golden age of the past is a fiction, a projection of nostalgia that selects what is most comforting to remember.  It summons a past that was not great for all; in fact, it is a past that was not great at all, not with racism and sexism clouding the culture.  Going back to a time that was great depends on deliberate disremembering.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 77-78

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Quote of the Day

Remember how burdensome and unlovable a person in need can feel?  There's nothing like being in a shitty or scary time and hearing from others that they love you.  In person, via text or email, written on a cake, however and how often you can do it, say I love, admire, respect you, or express whatever kind of adoration you actually have for a person.  It can't go wrong.  And it's sorely needed, and deeply appreciated.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 130

Friday, July 7, 2017

Quote of the Day

Some of us have never felt included or welcome in whatever system of belief was bullying us, even the one that we were a part of.  Some of us were forced to seek out mythologies that sang to us from the popular culture in the voices of movie stars or television characters.  We have looked for myths that include us in great novels, music, the latest comic book, or even some stupid advertising campaign.  We'll look anywhere for a mythology that embraces people like ourselves.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 48

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Quote of the Day

Slavery made America a slave to black history.  As much as white America invented us, the nation can never be free of us now.  America doesn't even exist without us.  That's why Barack Obama was so offensive, so scary to white America.  America shudders and says to itself: The president's supposed to be us, not them.  In that light, Donald Trump's victory was hardly surprising.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 76

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Quote of the Day

Knowing what to say, and when to say it, starts with these two very simple principles of supportive communication:

1. You can't solve the problem.
2. You'll never know how they feel.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 102

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Quote of the Day

Two hundred years after the founding of this country, why are those of us who don't fit into some either/or told that our pursuit of happiness doesn't count?  Are we going to continue nit-picking over exactly which happiness is legal and important, and which happiness is illegal and unimportant?  Who has the right to say whose happiness is right?  It all comes down to the mythology we grew up with.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 48

Monday, July 3, 2017

Quote of the Day

Beloved, white racial grief erupts when you fear losing your dominance.  You get mighty angry at our demand that you live up to the sense of responsibility you say others should have -- especially black folk and people of color.  You often tell us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, to make no excuses for our failures, and to instead admit our flaws and better ourselves.  And yet so many of you, beloved, are obstinate to a fault, intransigent and thin-skinned when it comes to accepting the calling out you effortlessly offer to others.  Donald Trump is only the most recent and boisterous example.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 73-74

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Quote of the Day

When the silence of listening is uncomfortable, it's not because silence is a problem.  It's because you aren't used to it.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 94

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Quote of the Day

All the world's great civil rights movements have sought to harmlessly break some cultural bully standard.  And all the outlaws who survived those civil rights movements have learned an important lesson.  We understand that we can be outsiders and be miserable about it, or we can be outsiders and enjoy the fuck out of ourselves until we're old and weird and happy just being our geeky, freaky, outlaw selves.  Understanding that is how we stay alive in a world that doesn't like who or what we are, what we look like, who we love, or how we act.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 45

Friday, June 30, 2017

Quote of the Day

Working as a white ally is tough, but certainly not impossible.  Learning to listen is a virtue that whiteness has often avoided.  I asked (a would-be white ally) to engage, to adopt the vocabulary of empathy, to develop fluidity in the dialect of hope and the language of racial understanding.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 70

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Quote of the Day

If we are to fully give, we must do so by first giving compassion to ourselves.  Because what someone in crisis really needs is not your skilled perfection, but you.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 85

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Quote of the Day

Our imaginations are in thrall to the institutions of oppression.

-- Minnie Bruce Pratt

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Quote of the Day

To be black in America means always taking in views we disagree with, not out of altruism, but out of necessity and the impulse to survive.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 69

Monday, June 26, 2017

Quote of the Day

Compassion for others isn't fully possible if we don't also have compassion for ourselves.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 84

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Quote of the Day

Bullies can make life miserable.  And I'm not just talking about kids, because bullies don't stop being bullies once they've grown up, they just get more sophisticated ... most systems we've developed as a culture to classify ourselves -- systems like sexuality, gender, race, class, and age -- are not typically questioned all that much.  Those in political power these days actively discourage questions that challenge their bully culture.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 33

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Quote of the Day

There is a paradox that many of you refuse to see: to get to a point where race won't make a difference, we have to wrestle, first, with the difference that race makes.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 67

Friday, June 23, 2017

Quote of the Day

When you recognize that bad things happen to good people, and also, that bad things actually happen to you -- it creates a connection around suffering that is a two-way relationship between equals.  Compassion is not a relationship built on a notion of one always-messed-up person matched with one always-saving-the-world person.  It is built upon each of us being messed up in many points of our lives.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 65

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Quote of the Day

This book is a lot about learning how to give yourself permission to go on living even when it really hurts.  Right now you might be glad I've given you permission.  Eventually, you'll no longer need anyone's but your own.  Permission to do what?  Permission to take yet another stab at putting together the kind of identity that makes you feel that you're being true to yourself and that life is worth living.  Go ahead, give yourself permission to become the kind of person you've always dreamed you could be.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 32

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Quote of the Day

O. J. [Simpson] awakened your collective white rage.  That or you're obsessed with him because he's the one that got away, the one who challenged your view of whiteness, made you madder than anybody -- that is, until Obama.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 63

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Quote of the Day

Acknowledging someone's pain by feeling FOR them, but not actually feeling WITH them, is the opposite of supportive compassion.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 64

Monday, June 19, 2017

Quote of the Day

I can tell you this with certainty: You are worthy and capable of finding a way to live your life just the way you really are.  And there are plenty of good people in the world who believe that a life like yours needs to be lived.  If you work at being as fully you as you can possibly be, you will feel better.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 32

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Quote of the Day

And even though the egregious errors of the criminal justice system existed long before [O. J.] Simpson, the constant refusal ever since to even charge most white police in the killing of unarmed black motorists is a kind of collective payback for O. J.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 63

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Quote of the Day

At its core, compassion is the acceptance of suffering.  That does not mean full detachment, in which you don't give a damn, like "hey, stuff happens, move on."  And it's not an intellectual acceptance of suffering that has you looking at someone's personal tragedy through a cold haze of statistics.  "Well, you know, only one out of five wind up..."  Rather, compassion is the acceptance that awful stuff can happen to any of us.  In fact, that bad things happen to good people all the time.  At the same time, compassion does not mean having a freakout or wincing at somebody's suffering, which feels more like pity than compassion.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 64

Friday, June 16, 2017

Quote of the Day

Standards of cultural identities change depending on generation, degree of multiculturalism, and who's sitting in the White House.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 25

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Quote of the Day

The hurts and traumas against black folk had piled so high, the pain had resonated so deeply, and the refusal of whiteness to open its eyes had become so abhorrent that black folk sent a message to white America.  No amount of evidence against [O. J.] Simpson could possibly match the far greater evidence of racial injustice against black folk.  And you can't claim ignorance here, my friends.  If a videotape recording of a black man going down under the withering attack of four white police couldn't convince you of the evil of your system, then nothing could.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 62

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Quote of the Day

The way we see it: 1. We don't have the capacity to reach out to every single person in need.  2. But, in reality, we can usually reach out more than we think, and it gets easier with practice.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 62

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Quote of the Day

I think the world needs more kind people in it, no matter who or what they are, or do.  The world is healthier because of its outsiders and outlaws and freaks and queers and sinners.

-- Kate Bornstein, Hello, Cruel World, p. 17

Monday, June 12, 2017

Quote of the Day

I know a lot of you hated (O. J. Simpson's lawyer Johnnie Cochran) because he beat you at your own game.  He sold his vision of history as the one that made the most sense to the group of people, his group of people, on that jury, whose decision, for once, mattered most.  That's usually how whiteness operates in a nutshell.  But this time, for a glancing moment, whiteness got coopted by a devilishly handsome chocolate barrister whose smooth words and hypnotic cadence left the jury and nation spellbound.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 59-60

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Quote of the Day

A definition of compassion that we like comes from researchers at the University of Michigan's Compassion Lab: Compassion is to notice, feel, and respond.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 60

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Quote of the Day

Many of you were stuck, in 1995, and, sadly, even now, in a whiteness that didn't have to know, that wasn't punished for not knowing.  It is hard for you to give up this willful ignorance.  It is a drug.  It is privilege and addition.  Your whiteness is a shield that keeps you from knowing what black folk must always know.  Not until the [O. J.] Simpson verdict did many of you claim that you were finally awakened to what black folk had to know every day.  But if so, you went back to sleep pretty damn quickly.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 59

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Quote of the Day

All our difficult times involve some degree of shame, fear, and loneliness.  At times like that, we don't need anyone to impress us or skillfully talk us out of our pain.  We mostly just need the kindness that compels anyone to try.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 59

Friday, May 26, 2017

Quote of the Day

It's hard to be white and empathetic to others.  That sounds harsh, but that's a lesson that whiteness has taught its victims.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 59

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Quote of the Day

At its core, kindness is a total absence of ego and self-interest in doing something for someone else.  The defining feature of kindness is that it comes unsolicited, and in its most awe-inspiring moments, it comes to the aid of those who are shunned.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 58

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Quote of the Day

Whiteness grows more shameless, more cruel, more uncaring by the day.  How many of you have really tried to put yourself in our position?

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 59

Monday, May 22, 2017

Quote of the Day

More people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason.  That, my friends, that is true perversion.

-- Harvey Milk
More people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, my friends, that is true perversion.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/h/harvey_milk.html

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Quote of the Day

The value of simple kindness can be hard to accept when you're trying to learn the Perfect Way to comfort someone, especially when you're anxious about what not to do or say.  This is why Dr. Charles Garfield, founder of the Shanti Project, which trains volunteers to care for the sick, opens up his training with the following: "Everyone wants skills.  How to say this?  How to do that?  But when people are dying, no amount of skills will earn you trust like the kindness that brings you to them in the first place.  If you take nothing else from this training, take this: Your kindness is your credential."

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 58

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Quote of the Day

What starts as shame may end as transformation.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 59

Friday, May 19, 2017

Quote of the Day

Maybe because our lives can get more and more mundane the older we get, we find that what sustains us over the long haul -- past all the breakups and professional screwups and weight gain and hair loss -- is not the glittery connections we make when feeling on top of the world, but those we forge when we're at our lowest.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 57

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Quote of the Day

Maybe enough time has passed for us to admit that the [O. J.] Simpson verdict made liars of white and black folk alike.  But the lie began long before the Simpson trial.  It has roots in whiteness itself, in whiteness that is a construct, an invention, that keeps white folk ignorant of black life.  It makes so many of you, if we're honest, largely indifferent to black life.  Admit it: you go on your merry white way as if the police aren't routinely hammering black folk without cause, aren't daily brutalizing us in front of your faces, aren't murdering black folk without so much as blinking an eye.  You didn't care then.  And tell the truth -- many of you don't really care now.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 58-59

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Quote of the Day

If you're worried that you've screwed up in trying to offer support [to someone who is grieving or suffering], said the wrong thing, or felt like the biggest idiot -- remember that you're not feeling half as terrible as the person at the center of it.  Reaching out and fumbling is often far better than not reaching out at all.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 52

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Quote of the Day

In the end, history is never just what the people who experience it say it is.  That's particularly true if those people are not in power, or if their voices, or their view of things, run counter to what the larger culture thinks is true -- in short, what the larger culture thinks is valuable, justifiable, even righteous.  The winners, alas, still write history.  To say this out loud, in this day and age, when whiteness has congratulated itself for its tolerance of other cultures and peoples, is to invite real resistance from white America.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 53

Monday, May 15, 2017

Quote of the Day

If a person is sobbing over a pile of dishes and a pile of bills -- and what feels like a pile of rubble that was formerly their life -- it can feel painful and even pointless to ask for help.  This means that as a caring bystander, you have the opportunity -- and the responsibility -- to show up and offer help without being asked.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 52

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Quote of the Day

I'm not asking you to let go of your humanity, but, in the best way possible, to find your way back to it.  You can let go of whiteness when you see it as a moral choice, an ideology, a politic, a terribly fearful reaction to the thing it hates the most but can least afford to do without: the black people it helped to will into existence.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 49

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Quote of the Day

The thing about grief is that it can seem like it will never, ever end.  And in a number of ways, it doesn't.  As anyone in the grief world knows, you don't get over loss.  You learn to live with it.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 48

Friday, May 12, 2017

Quote of the Day

The only way to save our nation, and, yes, to save yourselves, is to let go of whiteness and the vision of American history it supports.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 49

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Quote of the Day

It's not so much that we forgive to forget, but that we forgive in order to learn about others, learn about ourselves, and let go of resentments that hold us down.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 39

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Quote of the Day

Whiteness is an advantage and privilege because you have made it so, not because the universe demands it.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 44

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Quote of the Day

Forgiveness doesn't mean burying our feelings and crossing our fingers that they'll just go away.  In order to successfully forgive, we need to take a look at the source of our anger or hurt, with the help of listening friends and occasionally, a professional.  Often, such feelings are rooted in our own sense of unworthiness.  Forgiveness comes when we're able to recognize that the other person's actions were more about them -- their own motivations and context -- than about us.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 39

Monday, May 8, 2017

Quote of the Day

Just two weeks before his death, (Martin Luther King, Jr.) announced, with a broken heart, "Yes, it is true...America is a racist country."  That is why King is important to this generation, to this time, to this nation, to our people.  He spoke the truth that we have yet to fully acknowledge.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 40

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Quote of the Day

When we feel others have failed us with their "deficient" efforts, we'll often judge our own efforts to comfort by the same (impossible) standards.  Such high standards of ourselves can make us feel inadequate, prompting us to shy away and do nothing for fear our effort will fall short.  Or, they can cause us to give too much or with excessive worry, which are tendencies that make our gifts harder to receive.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 37

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Quote of the Day

Either you give the Negro his God-given rights and his freedom or you face the fact of continual social disruption and chaos.  America, which will you choose?

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Quote of the Day

There are people who let us down, over and over again, and learning to expect less of them is a great practice in self-care.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 37

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Quote of the Day

Lord, Dear Lord, I don't want to feel this way, but I swear to you I want to kill dead any Godforsaken soul who thinks that killing black people is an acceptable price to pay for keeping this nation safe.  But then, am I any better than that soul?

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 32

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Quote of the Day

If we view people's efforts of kindness as "not enough," then we will likely continue to be disappointed.  That's because if people are afraid of failing us, they will more likely shy away.  Not because they are bad people or evil people.  Like all of us, they're just scared humans who hate the feeling of failure.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 36

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Quote of the Day

So many whites say they hate the quotas they associate with affirmative action, but quotas don't seem to bother the white folk in blue who can't get enough of them as they harass one black citizen after another.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 31

Monday, May 1, 2017

Quote of the Day

Being kind to others begins with being kind to ourselves.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 31

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Quote of the Day

I have always impressed on (my oldest son) the need to be extra courteous and not to in any way rile up the police.  It is often an exercise in humiliation, one that white folk barely have to think about, but one that can mean the difference between life and death for us.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 28

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Quote of the Day

Believing that you're incapable of connecting during painful times can isolate you from life's most connected moments.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 30

Friday, April 28, 2017

Quote of the Day

Lessons of race that are learned early are hard to get rid of later on.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 25

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Quote of the Day

It feels really grown-up in a good way when we accept things about ourselves, like not wearing heels, not liking whiskey, or not wanting to tell the cabdriver our life story on the way to the airport.  Then we can relax into who we really are and stop using up energy on things that don't matter.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 28

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Quote of the Day

Regardless of the NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) person's capacity for change, your own growth and assertiveness efforts will reduce the degree of toxic narcissism in this relationship whether it is a co-worker, friend, family member, or partner, transforming the relationship to a more benign coexistence.  You may even see the beginnings of genuine growth.

-- Eleanor D. Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, p. 174

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Quote of the Day

This is what race hate does to our kids ... It makes them develop a tough exterior to combat the flow of racial insanity into their minds.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 25

Monday, April 24, 2017

Quote of the Day

Guilt can be useful when it reminds us to do better, and when it lifts us up to be more responsible, mature people.  But when guilt's end game is simply more guilt with a side of guilt, without ever changing us for the better, then it only drags us down.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 28

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Quote of the Day

If you are involved with a person who has the full narcissistic disorder, you will experience what is best epitomized in an analogy to a black hole -- an area in outer space so powerful that everything around it is sucked in, including light.  The black hole is the ultimate archetype of the one-way relationship with the narcissist.

-- Eleanor D. Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, p. 172-173

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Quote of the Day

Oh God, we are near complete despair.  How can we possibly change our fate?  How can we possibly persuade our society that we deserve to be treated with decency and respect?  How can we possibly fight a criminal justice system that has been designed to ensure our defeat?  How can we possibly combat the blindness of white men and women who are so deeply invested in their own privilege that they cannot afford to see how much we suffer?

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 21

Friday, April 21, 2017

Quote of the Day

If we really want to have authentic connections with others, then we need to talk about two kinds of psychological baggage we tend to carry around, which make us completely self-conscious about our capacity to connect with people: (1) guilt about how we've let others down, and (2) resentment about being let down by others in the past.  The resulting beliefs -- that we are not enough, and that others are not enough -- get in the way of trusting our innate capacities to give.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 27

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Quote of the Day

As we compassionately come to terms with the truth of our deeper feelings and experiences from childhood, we learn empathy for ourselves.  In turn, this empathy helps us let go of the anger we feel with the narcissist.

-- Eleanor D. Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, p. 171

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Quote of the Day

Almighty, hear our prayer.  Oh God, how we suffer.  We your servants are ensnared in tragedy that doesn't end.  We can do nothing to make our tormentors stop their evil.  We cannot convince them that we are your children and don't deserve this punishment.  We have tried everything we can to keep them from slaughtering us in the streets.  They hide behind the state to justify killing us.  They say we are scary, that they are afraid for their lives.  They say this even when we have nothing in our hands but air.  They say this even when they are armed with weapons meant to remove us from the face of the earth.  They say this even when they must throw down guns to pretend that we intended to do them harm.  They say this even when video proves they are lying through their teeth.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 21

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Quote of the Day

If you're choosing between saying something and saying nothing [when someone in your life is hurting], you're almost always better off saying something.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 15

Monday, April 17, 2017

Quote of the Day

What it comes to is that if we, who can scarcely be considered a white nation, persist in thinking of ourselves as one, we condemn ourselves, with the truly white nations, to sterility and decay, whereas if we could accept ourselves as we are, we might bring new life to the Western achievements, and transform them . . . The price of this transformation is the unconditional freedom of the Negro . . . He is the key figure in his country, and the American future is precisely as bright or as dark as his.

-- James Baldwin

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Quote of the Day

Discovering the truth about ourselves, our thoughts, feelings, and desires is our greatest step towards growth.  When we earnestly search for the truth of our feelings, we will be ready to respond to the projections of the narcissist.  As you see past the false projections and set limits on the "entitlement" behaviors, you are free to pursue genuine respect, friendship, and love.

-- Eleanor D. Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, p. 170

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Quote of the Day

We must face up to what we as a country have made of the black people who have been the linchpin of democracy, the folk who saved America from itself, who redeemed it from the hypocrisy of proclaiming liberty and justice for all while denying all that liberty and justice should be to us.

-- Michael Eric Dyson, Tears We Cannot Stop, p. 4-5

Friday, April 14, 2017

Quote of the Day

If you think an awkward response to a friend's crisis will make them feel bad, then you should know that if you say nothing, they will likely feel worse.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 15

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Quote of the Day

Negative feelings don't disappear simply because we do not want to deal with them -- they, in fact, become more intense.

-- Eleanor D. Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, p. 169

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Quote of the Day

There are days -- this is one of them -- when you wonder what your role is in this country and what your future is in it.  How precisely are you going to reconcile yourself to your situation here and how you are going to communicate to the vast, heedless, unthinking, cruel white majority that you are here.  I'm terrified at the moral apathy, the death of the heart, which is happening in my country.  These people have deluded themselves for so long that they really don't think I'm human.  And I base this on their conduct, not on what they say.  And this means that they have become in themselves moral monsters.

-- James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, p. 39

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Quote of the Day

You'll find that making the effort to connect is worth the peace of mind it brings -- not to mention a better night's sleep, because you aren't lying awake at night feeling like a terrible person for not emailing so-and-so.  In addition to the feeling of well-being that comes with aligning your actions with your intentions, this empathy practice will result in more meaningful connections.  Not just in terms of what you give, but in terms of what you receive.  Your circle of care will widen, from your best friend to a colleague to a neighbor to a causal acquaintance to even a stranger.  It sounds paradoxical, but it's true: being there in moments of suffering can actually lead to more joy.

-- Kelsey Crowe and Emily McDowell, There Is No Good Card for This, p. 8-9

Monday, April 10, 2017

Quote of the Day

Eventually, you must come to terms with the fact that the NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) person may be unable [to] see you.  She is generally seeing only her projected image of you alongside her determination for you to conform to this image.  The painful truth you must reconcile is her inability to acknowledge you for yourself.

-- Eleanor D. Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, p. 169

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Quote of the Day

... apathy and ignorance, which is the price we pay for segregation.  That's what segregation means.  You don't know what's happening on the other side of the wall, because you don't want to know.

-- James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, p. 40

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Quote of the Day

Consequently, your first ally is knowledge about healthy and unhealthy narcissism.  The more you know, the less you will fear.  With knowledge and understanding, you will be able to stand your ground when the NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) individual puts you on the defensive.  Eventually, you must face the truth about the deteriorating impact that this relationship is having on your life.  Until you recognize that your avoidance of the problems in this relationship only contributes to more losses, you will likely stay in your comfort zone no matter how unsatisfied you feel.

-- Eleanor D. Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, p. 168

Friday, April 7, 2017

Quote of the Day

What white people have to do is try and find out in their own hearts why it was necessary to have a "nigger" in the first place, because I'm not a nigger, I'm a man.  But if you think I'm a nigger, it means you need him.  The question that you've got to ask yourself, the white population of this country has got to ask itself, North and South because it's one country and for a Negro there is no difference between the North and the South -- it's just a difference in the way they castrate you, but the fact of the castration is the American fact ... If I'm not the nigger here and you invented him, you the white people invited him, then you've got to find out why.  And the future of the country depends on that, whether or not it is able to ask that question.

-- James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, p. 108-109

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Quote of the Day

If you are presently in a relationship with a narcissist person, you will need to develop awareness and confidence in your feelings, choices, and abilities before you can clear up your confusion about the relationship.  Your biggest trap is probably fear -- fear of the unknown.  Fear may provoke you to continually excuse the NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) person and to doubt yourself.  You may choose to keep your head in the sand, fearful of what it might mean if you recognize the depth of the problem.

-- Eleanor D. Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, p. 168

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Quote of the Day

The future of the Negro in this country is precisely as bright or as dark as the future of the country.  It is entirely up to the American people and our representatives -- it is entirely up to the American people whether or not they are going to face and deal with and embrace this stranger who they have maligned so long. 

-- James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, p. 108

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Quote of the Day

Like Dorothy, perhaps we have to learn the hard way.  Dorothy came perilously close to being burned alive before she could wake up to the fact that she had been chasing an illusion.  For the same reasons, we must see past the impressive show of the NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) individual and penetrate our own false beliefs before we can recognize our capacity and birthright for love.  Our courage to confront the illusions of toxic narcissism will come from some painful moment that helps us break free and see the hidden truth under the surface.

-- Eleanor D. Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, p. 167

Monday, April 3, 2017

Quote of the Day

I attest to this: the world is not white; it never was white, cannot be white.  White is a metaphor for power, and that is simply a way of describing Chase Manhattan Bank.

-- James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, p. 107

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Quote of the Day

Just as Dorothy cannot make use of the power that is literally at her feet, we cannot make use of our inner gifts until we can claim with confidence that we have these natural abilities.

-- Eleanor D. Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, p. 167

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Quote of the Day

You cannot lynch me and keep me in ghettos without becoming something monstrous yourselves.  And furthermore, you give me a terrifying advantage.  You never had to look at me.  I had to look at you.  I know more about you than you know about me.

-- James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, p. 103

Friday, March 31, 2017

Quote of the Day

In the end, the constant pursuit of maintaining a presentation that is "larger than life," whether it is talent, beauty, achievement, or some other quality, leaves us empty, unfulfilled, and yearning for something more.  Like the Wizard in his castle, the narcissist eventually becomes a prisoner of his own defenses, disconnected and alone.

-- Eleanor D. Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, p. 166

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Quote of the Day

I sometimes feel it to be an absolute miracle that the entire black population of the United States of America has not long ago succumbed to raging paranoia.  People finally say to you, in an attempt to dismiss the social reality, "But you're so bitter!"  Well, I may or may not be bitter, but if I were, I would have good reasons for it: chief among them that American blindness, or cowardice, which allows us to pretend that life presents no reasons for being bitter.

-- James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, p. 98

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Quote of the Day

The word narcissism in general means "self-worship."  Consequently, unhealthy narcissism is a form of claiming too much for the self, whether we are taking resources from others, or indulging too much pride in our talents or achievements.  Perhaps we have had fortunate circumstances in business, family position, beauty, or other inherent gifts from God or the natural world.  While healthy narcissism does involve our ability to feel proud of special accomplishments and to take pleasure in our abilities, we generally know that heady feeling when we indulge in undue pride, a tendency that leads to self aggrandizement.  The moment we claim more credit for ourselves than we deserve, we participate in the illusion of "special ownership" or "entitlement" and head towards the dead-end of toxic narcissism.

-- Eleanor D. Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, p. 166

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Quote of the Day

Force does not work the way its advocates think in fact it does.  It does not, for example, reveal to the victim the strength of the adversary.  On the contrary, it reveals the weakness, even the panic of the adversary and this revelation invests the victim with patience.

-- James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro, p. 91

Monday, March 27, 2017

Quote of the Day

With a surface presentation that is often captivating, we are drawn to the narcissist.  Initially our feelings of attraction, admiration, or intimidation become the emotional state that holds us spellbound.  Eventually, however, the negative influences of the narcissist erode our trust and confidence inducing a state of emotional paralysis.  And the length of time that we struggle to find our way out of the narcissist's world can vary from days -- to years -- to a whole lifetime.

-- Eleanor D. Payson, The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, p. 165-166