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Dreams From My Father Quotes

20 of the best book quotes from Dreams From My Father
  1. #2
    “At the time of his death, my father remained a myth to me, both more and less than a man.”
  2. #3
    “To be black was to be the beneficiary of a great inheritance, a special destiny, glorious burdens that only we were strong enough to bear.”
  3. #4
    “The emotions between the races could never be pure; even love was tarnished by the desire to find in the other some element that was missing in ourselves. Whether we sought out our demons or salvation, the other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart.”
  4. #5
    “But also because the underlying struggle - between worlds of plenty and worlds of want; between the modern and the ancient; between those who embrace our teeming, colliding, irksome diversity, while still insisting on a set of values that binds us together, and those who would seek, under whatever flag or slogan or sacred text, a certainty and simplification that justifies cruelty toward those not like us...”
  5. #6
    “‘Where there is no experience, I believe the wise man is silent.’”
  1. #7
    “She had taught me to disdain the blend of ignorance and arrogance that too often characterized Americans abroad.”
  2. #8
    “You might be locked into a world not of your own making, her eyes said, but you still have a claim on how it is shaped. You still have responsibilities.”
  3. #9
    “‘Attitudes aren’t so different in America,’ I told Francis. ‘You are probably right,’ he said. ‘But you see, a rich country like America can perhaps afford to be stupid.’”
  4. #10
    “‘There’s nobody to guide them through the process of becoming a man... to explain to them the meaning of manhood. And that’s a recipe for disaster.’”
  5. #11
    “‘I think perhaps education doesn’t do us much good unless it is mixed with sweat.’”
  6. #12
    “‘Sometimes you can’t worry about hurt. Sometimes you worry only about getting where you have to go.’”

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  1. #13
    “Away from my mother, away from my grandparents, I was engaged in a fitful interior struggle. I was trying to raise myself to be a black man in America, and beyond the given of my appearance, no one around me seemed to know exactly what that meant.”
  2. #14
    “In politics, like religion, power lay in certainty - and that one man’s certainty always threatened another’s.”
  3. #15
    “My identity might begin with the fact of my race, but it didn’t, couldn’t, end there.”
  4. #16
    “That’s what the leadership was teaching me, day by day: that the self-interest I was supposed to be looking for extended well beyond the immediacy of issues, that beneath the small talk and sketchy biographies and received opinions, people carried with them some central explanation of themselves. Stories full of terror and wonder, studded with events that still haunted or inspired them. Sacred stories.”
  5. #17
    “I learned to slip back and forth between my black and white worlds, understanding that each possessed its own language and customs and structures of meaning, convinced that with a bit of translation on my part the two worlds would eventually cohere.”
  6. #18
    “‘I thought I could start over, you see. But now I know you can never start over. Not really. You think you have control, but you are like a fly in somebody else’s web. Sometimes I think that’s why I like accounting. All day, you are only dealing with numbers. You add them, multiply them, and if you are careful, you will always have a solution. There’s a sequence there. An order. With numbers, you can have control….’”
  7. #19
    “The emotions between the races could never be pure; even love was tarnished by the desire to find in the other some element that was missing in ourselves. Whether we sought out our demons or salvation, the other race would always remain just that: menacing, alien, and apart.”
  8. #20
    “Without power for the group, a group larger, even, than an extended family, our success always threatened to leave others behind.”

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