The high point of civilization is that you can hate me and I can hate you but we develop an etiquette that allows us to deal with each other because if we acted solely upon our impulse we'd probably go to war.
As you know from reading many of these Negro writers, we don't deal too much with the discussion of democracy and what it means and how improvisation fits in all that.
I also wanted to do something that I hadn't really seen in almost any black novels, which was a complex love story in which both people were extremely intelligent and talented and understood a lot of things and were still at odds getting it together.
Rap actually comes out of punk rock, not black music.
Your ethnic or sexual identity, what region of the country you're from, what your class is - those aspects of your identity are not the same as your aesthetic identity.
Everybody has to be reminded that there's another way to be. Another more mysterious, unpredictable way to be that's not necessarily based upon contrivances.
You'd never know that listening to people in the UN but tribalism is the father of racism.
When you're artistic director of a program, you present the music you want to present.
I wanted to get to that aesthetic proposition that comes out of learning the human elements of a world, so that those notes and rhythms mean something to you besides just the academic way in which they fall in place.
I don't know any women who don't think about what they look like, and I don't know any men who don't think about what women look like.
Big business, for all its lobbying, is often put in line by investigative reporting, public scandals and multi-million-dollar judgments in court against those who put products on the market that are dangerous to their buyers.
Getting to the pint where the other is not the enemy is a big leap.
In America, we have to learn to be patient enough to figure out what somebody is saying. Somebody might actually be saying something.
Our job as writers and thinkers in the time is how to bring about the occasions that let people have that first-person experience - or the metaphoric experience that allows them to see human continuity as opposed to total threat, total willingness to do violence.
People don't really think other people are the same.
Now the writing in the head, I definitely do every day, thinking about how I want to phrase something or how I'd like to rephrase something I've already written.
You can meet a young person who goes to school and is really enthusiastic, but if a sufficiently strong personality convinces them that this is a waste of time, that person might flunk out.
Popular culture tells you that schools and parents don't know what's going on, the police are dogs, politicians are all liars and scum, and any crime that's not committed by the Mafia is done by the CIA.
When people conclude that all is futile, then the absurd becomes the norm.
Unfortunately, I'm not a person that's always capable of living up to the Boy Scout philosophy.
Our democratic richness arrives when we're able to comprehend our collective humanity accurately.
What we need in America is a renaissance. We need to go forward by going backward.
You must be willing to accept the fact that pain is a part of the process of revelation.
The discussion of ideas as opposed to the American narcissistic obsession with what's going on with the self, that's the general thing people are talking about.
Under popular culture's obsession with a naive inclusion, everything is O.K.
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