James Baldwin Quotes

James Baldwin Quotes

James Arthur Baldwin was an American who was known as a poet, activist, novelist and essayist. His writings focus on class, racial and sexual distinctions in Western society, most particularly in mid-twentieth-century in the United States.

Born: 2 August 1924, Harlem, New York, United States
Died: 1 December 1987, Saint Paul de Vence, France
Movies and TV shows: I Am Not Your Negro
Short stories: Sonny’s Blues, The Rockpile, Little Man Little Man

BEST JAMES BALDWIN QUOTES

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

 

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

 

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

 

People can cry much easier than they can change.

 

Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle. Love is a war. Love is growing up.

 

Some of the best articles that talks about James Baldwin are

 

VIDEO ON JAMES BALDWIN QUOTES

Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.

 

People can’t, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, any more than they can invent their parents. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say ‘Yes’ to life.

 

A liberal: someone who thinks he knows more about your experience than you do.

 

To accept one’s past—one’s history—is not the same thing as drowning in it; it is learning how to use it. An invented past can never be used; it cracks and crumbles under the pressures of life like clay in a season of drought.

 

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.

 

If one really wishes to know how justice is administered in a country, one does not question the policemen, the lawyers, the judges, or the protected members of the middle class. One goes to the unprotected—those, precisely, who need the law’s protection most!—and listens to their testimony.

 

Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. They must, they have no other models.

 

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

 

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.

 

I often wonder what I’d do if there weren’t any books in the world,

 

Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing it.

 

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

 

Most of us, no matter what we say, are walking in the dark, whistling in the dark. Nobody knows what is going to happen to him from one moment to the next, or how one will bear it.

 

The betrayal of a belief is not the same thing as ceasing to believe,

 

Whatever white people do not know about Negroes reveals, precisely and inexorably, what they do not know about themselves.

 

Does the law exist for the purpose of furthering the ambitions of those who have sworn to uphold the law, or is it seriously to be considered as a moral, unifying force, the health and strength of a nation?

 

Writers are extremely important people in a country, whether or not the country knows it.

 

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,

 

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.

 

I can’t believe what you say, because I see what you do.

 

If you’re treated a certain way you become a certain kind of person. If certain things are described to you as being real they’re real for you whether they’re real or not.

 

People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.

 

Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity.

 

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.

 

You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.

 

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

 

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.

 

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

 

The purpose of education…is to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions.

 

There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one’s head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.

 

To be sensual, I think, is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the making of bread.

 

Precisely at the point when you begin to develop a conscience, you must find yourself at war with your society.

 

All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations.

 

Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.

 

You have to go the way your blood beats. If you don’t live the only life you have, you won’t live some other life, you won’t live any life at all.

 

Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.

 

You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.

 

All I’ve ever wanted to do is tell that I’m not trying to solve anybody’s problems, not even my own. I’m just trying to outline what the problems are

 

A society must assume that it is stable, but the artist must know, and he must let us know, that there is nothing stable under heaven,

 

It is true that the more one learns the less one knows,

 

And once you realize that you can do something, it would be difficult to live with yourself if you didn’t do it.

 

Children, not yet aware that it is dangerous to look too deeply at anything, look at everything, look at each other, and draw their own conclusions,

 

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

 

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.

 

To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time,

 

People can cry much easier than they can change,

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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.

 

The whole language of writing for me is finding out what you don’t want to know, what you don’t want to find out. But something forces you to anyway.

 

Perhaps the turning point in one’s life is realizing that to be treated like a victim is not necessarily to become one,

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Nakedness has no color: this can come as news only to those who have never covered, or been covered by, another naked human being.

 

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