Henry Louis Gates Quotes
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In America there is institutional racism that we all inherit and participate in, like breathing the air in this room - and we have to become sensitive to it.
The story of the African-American people is the story of the settlement and growth of America itself, a universal tale that all people should experience.
The first step toward tolerance is respect and the first step toward respect is knowledge.
The thing about black history is that the truth is so much more complex than anything you could make up.
In Ethiopia, the black people became Christians 1700 years ago, hundreds of years before Northern Europe turned to Christianity... And here, most of the saints are black.
We can revolutionize the attitude of inner city brown and black kids to learning. We need a civil rights movement within the African-American community.
I want to be a figure for prison reform. I think that the criminal justice system is rotten.
Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.
Wherever you go in the history of America, there have been Black people making contributions, but their contributions have been obscured, lost, buried.
Well, certainly one of the ironies of the success of affirmative action is that the middle class within the black community no longer lives within 'black community' by and large.
You have to have a canon so the next generation can come along and explode it.
If you don't tell your stories, other people will tell their story about you. It's important that we nurture and protect these memories. Things change. Existence means change.
I'm looking forward to the time when we all look like Polynesians.
The precise form of an individual's activity is determined, of course, by the equipment with which he came into the world. In other words, it is determined by his heredity.
Everything my mother and father did was designed to put me where I am.
If Martin Luther King came back, he'd say we need another civil rights movement built on class not race.
The most ironic outcome of the black Civil Rights movement has been the creation of a new black middle class which is increasingly separate from the black underclass.
My father was the funniest man I ever met. He made Redd Foxx look like an undertaker.
Diversity doesn't mean black and white only.
If America has a civic religion, the First Amendment is its central article of faith.
Learning to sing one's own songs, to trust the particular cadences of own's voices, is also the goal of any writer.
Ever since I watched 'Roots,' I've dreamed of tracing my African ancestry and helping other people do the same.
I think literacy is everything.
There are just so many stories that are buried on family trees.
Patriotism is best exemplified through auto-critique.
I don't think the riots derailed the civil rights movement.
I want to be remembered as someone who tried to bring the story of our ancestors to the broadest possible audience. I want to be remembered as a man who loved his race.
Conspiracy theories are an irresistible labor-saving device in the face of complexity.
The genius is making a way out of no way.
Color categories are on steroids in Latin America. I find that fascinating. It's very difficult for Americans, particularly African-Americans to understand or sympathize with.
Instill respect for teachers.
The act of writing for the slave constituted the act of creating a public, historical self, not only the self of the individual author but also the self, as it were, of the race.
My mom, God rest her soul - she liked nicknames. In the womb she named me Skip. There was another black guy in Piedmont, W.Va., and his name was Skip. They called him Big Skip, and I was Little Skip.
My brother and I had a really privileged relationship with my parents... They treated us like adults.
My father lived to be 97 and played bridge every day up to the end, so I've got a 50 percent chance of living a long life like him.
That's what I mean by being bilingual: comfortable in your skin, comfortable with all parts of who you are.
Precisely that, covering 500 years of African-American history in six hours. I've been working on this for seven years. The biggest challenge was deciding which stories to tell.
Because Lincoln is so closely identified with what it is to be American, everyone wants to claim him, to rewrite his story to satisfy their own particular needs.
Really, the values under which my generation was raised in the '50s were immigrant values even though we weren't immigrants. The greatest thing you could be was a college-educated Negro.
Since the day Martin Luther King was killed, the black middle classes have almost quadrupled, but the percentage of black children living on or below the poverty line is almost the same.
The bottom line is that Wanda Sykes has the longest continuously documented family tree of any African-American we have ever researched.
In fact, the class divide in the black community is now seen by some as a permanent aspect of our existence.
What's fascinated me from the time I was a little kid was the way we construct our lives through stories.
You should not pick an occupation because your think your parents want you to do it, or because you think it's the noble thing to do. You should only pick a job because it turns you on.
Each individual has a responsibility to get out of bed, learn their ABCs, learn your math tables, not use race and racism as an excuse.
Lincoln would love the fact that Obama is such a great conciliator, trying to transcend ideology.
Without doubt, President [Barack] Obama is a great historical figure.
We must begin to understand the nature of intertextuality . . . the manner by which texts poems and novels respond to other texts. After all, all cats may be black at night, but not to other cats.
My father and I made genetics history. We were the first African-Americans and the first father and son anywhere to have their genomes sequenced.
The truth is I would do my job for free! I love it every day. If you can possibly choose a vocation that's an avocation, a job that's really a hobby, then you'll be way ahead of the game.