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James McBride Quotes

13 of the best book quotes from James McBride
  1. #1
    “The greatest sin a person can do to another is to take away that life. Next to that, all the rule and religions in the world are secondary; mere words and beliefs that people choose to believe and kill and hate by. My life won’t be lived that way, and neither, I hope, will my children’s. I left for New York happy in the knowledge that my grandmother had not suffered and died for nothing.”
  2. #2
    “I myself had no idea who I was. I loved my mother yet looked nothing like her. Neither did I look like the role models in my life—my stepfather, my godparents, other relatives—all of whom were black. And they looked nothing like the other heroes I saw, the guys in the movies, white men like Steve McQueen and Paul Newman who beat the bad guys and in the end got the pretty girl—who, incidentally, was always white.”
  3. #3
    “I felt like a Tinkertoy kid building my own self out of one of those toy building sets; for as she laid her life before me, I reassembled the tableau of her words like a picture puzzle, and as I did, so my own life was rebuilt.”
  4. #4
    “In running from her past, Mommy has created her own nation, a rainbow coalition.”
  5. #5
    “The man died without a penny, yet his children grew up to graduate from college, to become doctors, professors, teachers, and professionals.”
  6. #6
    “Mommy’s contradictions crashed and slammed against one another like bumper cars at Coney Island. White folks, she felt, were implicitly evil toward blacks, yet she forced us to go to white schools to get the best education. Blacks could be trusted more, but anything involving blacks was probably slightly substandard. She disliked people with money yet was in constant need of it. She couldn’t stand racists of either color.”
  1. #7
    “Mommy staggered about in an emotional stupor for nearly a year. But while she weebled and wobbled and leaned, she did not fall.”
  2. #8
    “The image of her riding that bicycle typified her whole existence to me. Her oddness, her complete nonawareness of what the world thought of her, a nonchalance in the face of what I perceived to be imminent danger from blacks and whites who disliked her for being a white person in a black world. She saw none of it.”
  3. #9
    “She wipes her memory instantly and with purpose; it’s a way of preserving herself.”
  4. #10
    “I thought it would be easier if we were just one color, black or white. I didn’t want to be white. My siblings had already instilled the notion of black pride in me. I would have preferred that Mommy were black. Now, as a grown man, I feel privileged to have come from two worlds.”
  5. #11
    “The question of race was like the power of the moon in my house. It’s what made the river flow, the ocean swell, and the tide rise, but it was a silent power, intractable, indomitable, indisputable, and thus completely ignorable. Mommy kept us at a frantic living pace that left no time for the problem.”
  6. #12
    One afternoon on the way home from church I asked her whether God was black or white.
    A deep sigh. “Oh boy…God’s not black. He’s not white. He’s a spirit.”
    “Does he like black or white people better?”
    “He loves all people. He’s a spirit.”
    “What’s a spirit?”
    “A spirit’s a spirit.”
    “What color is God’s spirit?”
    “It doesn’t have a color,” she said. “God is the color of water. Water doesn’t have a color.”
  7. #13
    “Mommy, after all, did not really look like me. In fact, she didn’t look like Richie, or David—or any of her children for that matter. We were all clearly black, of various shades of brown, some light brown, some medium brown, some very light-skinned, and all of us had curly hair. Mommy was by her own definition, “light-skinned,” a statement which I had initially accepted as fact but at some point later decided was not true.”
Book Topics › gravity
Children's Books About Gravity

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