Review Questions: (Fall '01)
Please identify the following quotes and be prepared to
discuss essential theoretical concepts contained in these quotes against
the background of the philosophical and political framework of their authors.
- With some
over-simplification, one might thus say that 'classes' are stratified
according to their relations to the production and acquisition of goods;
whereas 'status groups' are stratified according to the principles of
their consumption of goods as represented by special 'styles of life.'
- The nature,
content, and demand of the query "why equality?" can be understood
and examined only by relating it to the central question "equality
than raising consciousness, Black feminist thought affirms, rearticulates,
and provides a vehicle for expressing in public a consciousness that
quite often already exists. More important, this rearticulated consciousness
aims to empower African-American women and stimulate resistance.
- Thus the
psychoanalysts never give us more than and inauthentic picture, and
for the inauthentic there can hardly be found any other criterion than
normality. Their statement of the feminine destiny is absolutely to
the point in this connection. In the sense in which the psychoanalysts
understand the term, "to identify oneself" with the mother
or with the father is to alienate oneself in a model, it is to prefer
a foreign image to the spontaneous manifestation of one's own existence,
it is to play at being. Woman is shown to us as enticed by two modes
of alienation. Evidently to play at being a man will be for her a source
of frustration; but to play at being a woman is also a delusion: to
be a woman would mean to be the object, the Other---and the Other nevertheless
remains subject in the midst of her resignation.
- The American's
conception of the teacher who faces him is: he sells me his knowledge
and his methods for my father's money, just as the greengrocer sells
my mother cabbage.
- One of
the greatest weaknesses of immanentist philosophies in general consists
precisely in the fact that they have not been able to create an ideological
unity between the bottom and the top, between the "simple"
and the intellectuals.
- The philosophers
have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point however
is to change it.
- If, however,
only half a working day is necessary in order to keep one worker alive
one whole day, then the surplus value of the product is self-evident,
because the capitalist has paid the price of only half a working day
but has obtained a whole day objectified in the product; thus has exchanged
nothing for the second half of the work day.
- The presence
of Black women's collective wisdom challenges two prevailing interpretations
of the consciousness of oppressed groups. One approach claims that subordinate
groups identify with the powerful and have no valid independent interpretation
of their own oppression. The second assumes the oppressed are less human
than their rulers, and are therefore less capable of interpreting their
own experiences. Both approaches see any independent consciousness expressed
by African-American women and other oppressed groups as being either
not of our own making or inferior to that of dominant groups. More importantly,
both explanations suggest that the alleged lack of political activism
on the part of oppressed groups stems from our flawed consciousness
of our own subordination.
organic agriculture is a low-input, low-cost option, and hence an option
for the poor, it is often presented as a "luxury of the rich."
This is not true. The cheapness of industrially produced food and expensiveness
of organic foods does not reflect their cost of production but the heavy
subsidies given to industrial agriculture.
- In proving
woman' inferiority, the antifeminists then began to draw not only upon
religion, philosophy, and theology, as before, but also upon science-biology,
experimental psychology, etc. At most they were willing to grant "equality
in difference" to the other sex. That profitable formula is most
significant: it is precisely like the "equal but separate"
formula of the Jim Crow laws aimed at the North American Negroes. As
is well known, this so-called equalitarian segregation has resulted
only in the most extreme discrimination. The similarity just noted is
in no way due to chance, for whether it is a race, a caste, a class,
or a sex that is reduced to a position of inferiority, the methods of
justification are the same. "The eternal feminine" corresponds
to "the black soul" and to the "Jewish character.
- For the
formation of the authority-oriented character it is especially decisive
that he children should learn, under pressure from the father, not to
trace every failure back to its social causes but to remain at the level
of the individual and to hypostatize the failure in religious terms
as sin or in naturalistic terms as deficient natural endowment. The
bad conscience that is developed in the family absorbs more energies
than can be counted, which might otherwise be directed against the social
circumstances that play a role in the individual's failure. The outcome
of such paternal education is men who without ado seek the fault in
- This means
working to produce elites of intellectuals of a new type which arise
directly out of the masses, but remain in contact with them to become,
as it were, the whalebone in the corset.
is primarily a reflection of the freedom to achieve valuable functionings.
It concentrated directly on freedom as such rather than on the means
to achieve freedom, and it identifies the real alternatives we have
capability may be relevant even for the level of well-being achieved,
and not only for the freedom to achieve well-being.
- All forms
of exploitation resemble one another. The all seek the source of their
necessity in some edict of a Biblical nature. All forms of exploitation
are identical because all of them are applied against the same "object":
- The ruling
ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.
- Mad cows
are symbols of a worldview that perceives no difference between machines
and living beings, between herbivores and carnivores, or between the
Sindhi and Sahiwal and the Jersey and the Holstein. Sacred cows are
a metaphor of ecological civilization. Mad cows are a metaphor of and
anti-ecological, industrial civilization.
- But it
is important to recognize ... the fact that demanding equality in one
space - no matter how hallowed by tradition - can lead one to be anti-egalitarian
in some other space, the comparative importance of which in the overall
assessment has to be critically assessed.
- The analysis
of these propositions tends, I think, to reinforce the conception of
historical bloc in which precisely material forces are the content and
ideologies are the form, though this distinction between form and content
has purely didactic value, since the material forces would be inconceivable
historically without form and the ideologies would be individual fancies
without the material forces.
- When the
proletariat wins victory, it by no means becomes the absolute side of
society, for it wins victory only by abolishing itself and its opposite.
- Life is
not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life.
- Yet this
highly efficient food system, based on multiple uses of cattle, has
been dismantled in the name of efficiency and development. The Green
Revolution shifted agriculture's fertilizer base from renewable organic
outputs to non-renewable chemical ones, making both cattle and women's
work with cattle dispensable in the production of food grain. The White
Revolution, aping the West's wasteful animal husbandry and dairy practices,
is destroying the world's most evolved dairy culture and displacing
women from their role in the dairy-processing industry.
- With the
exception of a few misfits within the closed environment, we can say
that every neurosis, every abnormal manifestation, every affective erethism
in an Antillean is the product of his cultural situation.
- A human
mass does not "distinguish" itself, does not become independent
in its own right without, in the widest sense, organizing itself; and
there is no organization without intellectuals, that is without organizers
- One outcome
of Black women's efforts to negotiate work, family, and motherhood is
the emergence of Black mother-child families as a growing global phenomenon.
Situating mother-child families in the context of the global political
economy highlights the significance of advanced capitalism for understanding
mother-child families in a transnational context In particular, important
connections characterize the stage of capitalist development encountered
by any group of people and the patterns of family organization that
emerge within that group. Massive global economic restructuring since
World War II suggests that shifting patterns of industrial development,
their accompanying race- and gender- segmented labor markets, and associated
outcomes such as migration, urbanization and ghettoization all affect
- Yes, European
civilization and its best representatives are responsible for colonial
- Is the
view of nature and of social relations on which the Greek imagination
and hence Greek (mythology) is based possible with self-acting mule
spindles and railways and locomotives and electrical telegraphs?
has to learn that exchanges-it is a fundamental law of political economy---are
based on the value the merchandise offered has for the buyer, and not
for the seller: she has been deceived in being persuaded that her worth
is priceless. The truth is that for men she is an amusement, a pleasure,
company, an inessential boon; he is for her the meaning, the justification
of her existence. The exchange, therefore, is not of two items of equal
the genuine place of "classes" is within the economic order,
the place of "status group" is within the social order, that
is, the sphere of the distribution of "honor." From within
these spheres, classes and status groups influence one another and they
influence the legal order and are in turn influenced by it. But "parties"
live in a house of "power."
- It can
argued that poverty is not a matter of low well-being, but of the inability
to pursue well-being precisely because of the lack of economic means
Perhaps the most important point to note is that the adequacy
of the economic means cannot be judged independently of the actual possibilities
of "converting" incomes and resources into capability to function.
- The first
premise of all human history is, of course, the existence of living
the fact of hegemony presupposes that account be taken of the interests
and the tendencies of the groups over which hegemony is to be exercised,
and that a certain compromise equilibrium should be formed-in other
words, that the leading group should make sacrifices of an economic-corporate
- This new
struggle for a free India is appropriately beginning at India's social
and environmental margins---from the coasts, led by women, traditional
fishworkers, the landless, and small peasants.
- If we
are interested in the freedom of choice, then we have to look at the
choices that the person does in fact have, and we must not assume that
the same results would be obtained by looking at the resources that
he or she commends.
- This then
is the reason why woman has a double and deceptive visage: she is all
that man desires and all that he does not attain. She is the good mediatrix
between Nature and man; and she is the temptation of unconquered Nature,
counter to all goodness. She incarnates all moral values, from good
to evil, and their opposites; she is the substance of action and whatever
is an obstacle to it, she is man's grasp in the world and his frustration;
as such she is the source and origin of all man's reflection on his
existence and of whatever expression he is able to give to it; and yet
she works to divert him from himself, to make him sink down in silence
and in death. She is servant and companion, but he expects her also
to be his audience and critic and to confirm him in his sense of being;
but she opposes him with her indifference, even with her mockery and
laughter. He projects upon her what he desires and what he fears, what
he loves and what he hates.
- The binary
fundamental to heterosexism, namely, that dividing alleged normal sexuality
from its deviant other dovetails with binaries that underlie other systems
of oppression. The important binaries introduced in Chapter 3's discussion
of Black women's objectification-white/black, male/female, reason/emotion,
and mind/body-now become joined by a series of sexual binaries: Madonna/whore,
real woman/dyke, real man/faggot, and stud sissy. These sexual binaries
in turn receive justification via medical theories (normal/sick), religious
beliefs (saved/ sinner), and state regulation (legal/illegal).
- On what
foundation is the present family, the bourgeois family, based? On capital,
on private gain. In its complexly developed form this family exists
only among the bourgeoisie. But this state of things finds its complement
in the practical absence of the family among the proletarians, and in
- With these
routinizations, rules in some form always come to govern. The prince
or the hierocrat no longer rules by virtue of purely personal qualities,
but by virtue of acquired or inherited qualities, or because he has
been legitimated by an act of charismatic election. The process of routinization,
and thus traditionalization has set in.
- By freedom
is meant, under the present bourgeois conditions of production, free
trade, free selling and buying.
- It may
be more useful to assess Black women's activism less by the ideological
content of individual Black women's belief systems---whether they hold
conservative, reformist, progressive, or radical ideologies based on
some predetermined criteria---and more by Black women's collective actions
within everyday life that challenge domination in these multifaceted
domains. Foe example, a Black mother who may be unable to articulate
her political ideology but who on a daily basis contests school policies
harmful to her children may be more an "activist" than the
most highly educated Black feminist who, while she can manipulate feminist,
nationalist, postmodern, and other ideologies, produces no tangible
political changes in anyone's life but her own.
- It signifies
that the social group in question may indeed have its own conception
of the world, even if only embryonic; a conception which manifests itself
in action, but occasionally and in flashes - when, that is, the group
is acting as an organic totality. But the same group has, for reason
of submission and intellectual subordination, adopted a conception which
is not its own but is borrowed from another group
- The family
has a very special place among the relationships which through conscious
and unconscious mechanisms influence the psychic character of the vast
majority of men. The processes that go on in the family shape the child
from his tenderest years and play a decisive role in the development
of his capabilities. The growing child experiences the influence of
reality according as the latter is reflected in the mirror of the family
circle. The family, as one of the most important formative agencies,
sees to it that the kind of human character emerges which social life
requires, and gives this human being in great measure the indispensable
adaptation for a specific authority-oriented conduct on which the existence
of the bourgeois order largely depends.
began its course as a doctrine of itinerant artisan journeymen. During
all periods of its mighty external and internal development it has been
a quite specifically urban, and above all a civic, religion
city of the Occident, unique among all other cities of the world - and
citizenship, in the sense in which it has emerged only in the Occident
- has been the major theatre for Christianity.
- In the
formation of leaders, one premise is fundamental: is it the intention
that there should always be ruler and ruled, or is the objective to
create the conditions in which this division is no longer necessary?
in general does not in fact exist. Various philosophies or conceptions
of the world exist, and one always makes a choice between them.
- What emerges
then is the need for combined action on the individual and on the group.
As a psychoanalyst, I should help my patient to become conscious of
his unconscious and abandon his attempts at a hallucinatory whitening,
but also to act in the direction of a change in the social structure.
- If by
freedom we mean agency freedom, then it is quite possible that an expansion
of (agency) freedom may go hand in hand with a reduction in well-being
freedom as well as well-being achievement. If, on the other hand, we
take freedom to mean well-being freedom, then any conflict between freedom
and achieved well-being cannot, of course, arise from the shrinkage
of opportunities of well-being achievement with increased (well-being)
- In treating
suffering as a symptom of odiousness in the eyes of the gods and as
a sign of secret guilt, religion has psychologically met a very general
need. The fortunate is seldom satisfied with the fact of being fortunate.
Beyond this, he needs to know that he has a right to his good fortune.
- One of
the most basic problems of women, as we have seen, is the reconciliation
of her reproductive role and her part in productive labor. The fundamental
fact that from the beginning of history doomed women to domestic work
and prevented her from taking part in the shaping of the world was her
enslavement to the generative function.
- For as
soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a
particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and
from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a shepherd,
or a social critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his
means of livelihood; while in a communist society, where nobody has
one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in
any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus
makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow,
to hunt in the morning, to fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the
evening, criticize after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever
becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd, or critic.
prevailing academic approaches fragment social life by separating paid
work from social reproduction, activism from mothering, and family from
community, the ideas and actions of Black women community workers challenge
these arrangements. Many of the women initially became involved in community
politics because of their children. But their subsequent political involvement
grew beyond their own individual families as they saw how their personal
troubles were politically constituted.
- With the
increasing value of the world of things proceeds in direct proportion
the devaluation of the world of men.
- If the
intellectuals has been organically the intellectuals of those masses,
and if they had worked out and made coherent the principles and the
problems raised by the masses in their practical activity, thus constituting
a cultural and social bloc.
- I said
in my introduction that man is a yes. I will never stop reiterating
that. Yes to life. Yes to love. Yes to generosity. But man is also no.
No to scorn of man. No to degradation of man. No to exploitation of
man. No to the butchery of what is most human in man: freedom.
- It already
been said that the protagonist of the new Prince could not in the modern
epoch be an individual hero, but only the political party.
- The lack
of all training in calculation, even in grade schools, is a very striking
feature of Chinese education.
- The white
family is the workshop in which one is shaped and trained for life in
The Antillean has to choose between his family and European
society; on other words, the individual who climbs up into society -
white and civilized - tends to reject his family - black and savage
- on the plane of imagination, in accord with the childhood Erlebnisse.
- It is
estimated that more than 3.5 million family-run kirin shops supply wheat
to Indian consumers. More than 2 million small neighborhood mills produce
fresh flour. While 40 million tons of wheat are traded, only 15 million
tons are purchased directly as packaged flour because Indians love freshness
and quality in food. Less than 1 percent of the flour consumed in India
comes from packaged brands.
- Any formation
of the national-popular collective will is impossible, unless the great
mass of peasant farmers bursts simultaneously into political life.
- It is
possible to argue for seeing poverty as the failure of basic capabilities
to reach certain minimally acceptable levels.
- One can
only demand of the teacher that he have the intellectual integrity to
see that it is one thing to state facts, to determine mathematical or
logical relations or the internal structure of cultural values, while
it is another thing to answer questions of the value of culture and
its individual contents and the question of how one should act in the
cultural community and in political associations. These are quite heterogeneous
- We can
now see that the myth is in large part explained by its usefulness to
man. The myth of woman is a luxury. It can appear only if man escapes
from the urgent demands of his needs; the more relationships are concretely
lived, the less they are idealized. The fellah of ancient Egypt, the
Bedouin peasant, the artisan of the Middle Ages, the worker of today
has in the requirements of work and poverty relations with his particular
woman companion which are too definite for her to be embellished with
an aura either auspicious or inauspicious. The epochs and the social
classes that have been marked by the leisure to dream have been the
ones to set up the images, black and white, of femininity. But along
with luxury there was utility; these dreams were irresistibly guided
human way of acting which hides the true nature of society, built as
it is on contraries, is ideological, and the claim that philosophical,
moral, and religious acts of faith, scientific theories, legal maxims,
and cultural institutions have this function is not an attack on the
character of those who originate them but only states the objective
role such realities play in society.
- The working
men have no county. We cannot take from them what they have not got.
- This work
represents the sum of the experience and observation of seven years;
regardless of the area I have studied, one thing has struck me: The
Negro enslaved by his inferiority, the white man enslaved by his superiority
alike behave in accordance with a neurotic orientation.
- The only
wheels which political economy sets in motion are avarice and the war
amongst the avaricious---competition.
- It is
quite understandable that the more weighty the civic strata as such
have been, and the more they have been torn from bonds of taboo and
from divisions into sibs and castes, the more favorable has been the
soil for religions that call for action in this world. Under these conditions,
the preferred religious attitude could become the attitude of active
asceticism, of God-willed action nourished by the sentiment of being
God's "tool," rather than the possession of the deity or the
inward and contemplative surrender to God, which has appeared as the
supreme value to religions influenced by strata of genteel intellectuals.
- This free
and mobile stratum of literati were carriers of philosophical schools
and antagonisms, a situation comparable to those of India, and of Hellenic
Antiquity, and of the middle Ages with its monks and scholars.
- In this
work I have made it a point to convey the misery of the black man. Physically
and affectively. I have not wished to be objective. Besides, that would
be dishonest: It is not possible for me to be objective
- The government
conscious of the weakness of its administrative apparatus, confined
itself to the care of the tide and the maintenance of the water routes,
which were indispensable for provisioning the leading provinces with
- When Third
World farmers sow seed, they pray, "May this seed be exhaustless."
Monsanto and the USDA, on the other hand, seem to be saying, "Let
this seed be terminated so that our profits and monopoly will be exhaustless."
by nature, the pregnant woman is plant and animal, a stock-pile of colloids,
an incubator, an egg; she scares children proud of their young, straight
bodies and makes young people titter contemptuously because she is a
human being, a conscious and free individual, who has become life's
all, this fact must not lead to that kind of pseudo-scientific operation
with the concept of 'class' and 'class interests' so frequently found
these days, and which has found its most classic expression in the statement
of a talented author, that the individual may be in error concerning
his interests but that the 'class' is 'infallible' about its interests.
- To be
sensuous is to suffer. (Sinnlich sein ist leidend sein).
- It is
clear that the arm of criticism cannot replace the criticism of arms.
Material force can only be overthrown by material force, but theory
itself becomes a material force when it has seized the masses.
- Ah, yes,
as you can see, by calling on humanity, on the belief in dignity, on
love, on charity, it would be easy to prove, or to win the admission,
that the black is the equal of the white. But my purpose is quite different:
What I want to do is help the black man to free himself of the arsenal
of complexes that has been developed by the colonial environment.
- If, however
the theoretician and his specific object are seen as forming a dynamic
unity with the oppressed class, so that his presentation of societal
contradictions is not merely an expression of the concrete historical
situation but also a force within it to stimulate change, then his real
utilitarianism does not, in general, want the equality of the total
utilities by different people. The utilitarian formula requires the
maximization of the sum-total of the utilities of all people taken together,
and that is, in an obvious sense, not particular egalitarian. In fact,
the equality that utilitarianism seeks takes the form of equal treatment
of human beings in the space of gains and losses of utilities. There
is an insistence on equal weights on everyone's utility gains in the
utilitarian objective function
- But the
human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual.
In its reality it is the ensemble of social relations.
- Thus woman's
work within the home gives her no autonomy; it is not directly useful
to society, it does not open out upon the future, it produces nothing.
It takes on meaning and dignity only as it is linked with existent beings
who reach out beyond themselves, transcend themselves, towards society
in production and action. That is, far from freeing the matron, her
occupation makes her dependent upon husband and children; she is justified
thru them; but in their lives she is only an inessential intermediary.
the conflict over genetically engineered crops and foods is not a conflict
between "culture" and "science." It is between two
cultures of science: one based on transparency, public accountability,
and responsibility toward the environment and people, and another based
on profits and lack of transparency, accountability, and responsibility.
is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the sentiment of a heartless
world, and the soul of a soulless world. It is the opium of the people.
- On the
other side, production produces consumption by creating the specific
manner of consumption; and further, by creating the stimulus of consumption,
the ability to consume, as a need. This last identity, as determined
under (3), [is] frequently cited in economics in the relation of demand
and supply, of objects and needs, of socially created and natural needs.
- The need
to determine conceptual priorities - important in principle - becomes
momentous in practice because of the far-reaching diversities of human
beings. The demands of equality in different spaces tend to conflict,
in fact (not just in principle), with each other. Thus, the choice of
basal equality has tremendous practical importance in asserting some
claims and denying others. The need for ensuring the fulfillment of
basal demands, including basal equality, necessitates the tolerance
of inequality in what are seen as the outlying "peripheries."
- It is
normal for the Antillean to be anti-Negro. Through the collective unconscious
the Antillean has taken over all the archetypes belonging to the European.
The anima of Antillean Negro is almost always a white woman. In the
same way, the animus of the Antillean is always a white man.
strictly speaking, posing the problem in terms of the latter contrast
["liberty versus equality"] reflects a "category mistake."
They are not alternatives. Liberty is among the possible fields of application
of equality, and equality is among the possible patterns of distribution
the vast majority of the ruled there is the unconscious fear that theoretical
thinking might show their painfully won adaptation to reality to be
perverse and unnecessary. Those who profit from the status quo entertain
a general suspicion of any intellectual independence.
- The traditional
use of the head-count ratio as a measure of poverty can deflect anti-poverty
policy by ignoring the greater misery of the poorer among the poor.
Indeed, with the head-count ratio as the measure of poverty, any government
faces a strong temptation to concentrate on the richest among the poor,
since that is the way that the number of the poor - and the head-count
ratio H - can be most easily reduced.
it goes without saying that all forms of state have democracy for their
truth and that they are therefore untrue insofar as they are not democracy.
- The accumulation
of knowledge and of skill, of the general productive forces of the social
brain, is thus absorbed into capital, as opposed to labour, and hence
appears as an attribute of capital, and more specifically of fixed capital,
insofar as it enters into the production process as a means of production
proper. Machinery appears, then, as the most adequate form of fixed
- Jung locates
the collective unconscious in the inherited cerebral matter. But the
collective unconscious, without our having to fall back on the genes,
is purely and simply the sum of prejudices, myths, collective attitudes
of a given group.
- We must
not believe, certainly, that a change in woman's economic condition
alone is enough to transform her, though this factor has been and remains
the basic factor in her evolution; but until it has brought about the
moral, social, cultural, and other consequences that it promises and
requires, the new woman cannot appear. At this moment they have been
realized nowhere, in Russia no more than in France or the United States;
and this explains why the woman of today is torn between the past and
the pressure of such a family situation the individual does not learn
to understand and respect his mother in her concrete existence, that
is, as this particular social and sexual being. Consequently he is not
only educated to repress his socially harmful impulses (a feat of immense
cultural significance), but, because this education takes the problematic
form of camouflaging reality, the individual also loses for good the
disposition of part of his psychic energies. Reason and joy are in its
exercise restricted; the suppressed inclination towards the mother reappears
as a fanciful and sentimental susceptibility to all symbols of the dark,
maternal, and protective powers. Because the woman bows to the law of
the patriarchal family, she becomes an instrument for maintaining authority
in this society.
- A study
comparing traditional polycultures with industrial monocultures shows
that a polyculture system can produce 100 units of food from 5 units
of inputs, whereas an industrial system requires 300 units of input
to produce the same 100 units. The 295 units of wasted inputs could
have provided 5,900 units of additional food. This is a recipe for starving
people, not for feeding them.
- The black
man has two dimensions. One with his fellows, the other with the white
man. A Negro behaves differently with a white man and with another Negro.
That this self-division is a direct result of colonialist subjugation
is beyond question
- All of
these emotions-the fact that Whites know that Blacks are human, the
fact that men love women, and the fact that women have deep feelings
for one another-must be distorted on the emotional level of the erotic
in order for oppressive systems to endure. Sexuality in the individual,
interpersonal domain of power becomes annexed by intersecting oppressions
in the structural domain of power in order to ensure the smooth operation
- If in
all ideology men and their circumstances appear upside-down as in a
camera obscura, this phenomenon arises just as much from their historical
life-process as the inversion of objects on the retina does from their
- This materialist
view has the negative significance that it rejects a metaphysically
grounded morality. But in addition it has always meant to materialists
that man's striving for happiness is to be recognized as a natural fact
requiring no justification.
- I believe
that the fact of the juxtaposition of the white and black races has
created a massive psychoexistential complex. I hope by analyzing it
to destroy it
women need wisdom to know how to deal with the "educated fools"
who would "take a shotgun to a roach." As members of a subordinate
group, Black women cannot afford to be fools of any type, for our objectification
as the Other denies us the protections that White skin, maleness, and
wealth confer. This distinction between knowledge and wisdom, and the
use of experience as the cutting edge dividing them, has been key to
Black women's survival. In the context of intersecting oppressions,
the distinction is essential. Knowledge without wisdom is adequate for
the powerful, but wisdom is essential to the survival of the subordinate.
- If it
is true that every language contains the elements of a conception of
the world and of a culture, it could also be true that from anyone's
language one can access the greater or lesser complexity of his conception
of the world.
- In this
sense the real philosopher is, and cannot be other than, the politician,
the active man who modifies the environment, understanding by environment
the ensemble of relations which each of us enters to take part in. If
one's own individuality is the ensemble of these relations, to create
one's personality means to acquire consciousness of them and to modify
one's own personality means to modify the ensemble of these relations.
consciousness implies a kind of scission, a fracture of consciousness
into a bright part and an opposing black part. In order to achieve morality,
it is essential that the black, the dark, the Negro vanish from consciousness.
Hence a Negro is forever in combat with his own image.
- The judgment
and measurement of inequality is thoroughly dependent on the choice
of the variable (income, wealth, happiness, etc.) in terms of which
comparisons are made
- In the
collective unconscious of homo occidentalis, the Negro - or, if one
prefers, the color black - symbolizes evil, sin, wretchedness, death,
The collective unconscious is not dependent on cerebral
heredity; it is the result of what I shall call the unreflected imposition
of a culture.
- We are
driven from the individual back to the social structure. If there is
a taint, it lies not in the "soul" of the individual but rather
in that of the environment.
equality in what is taken to be the "central" social exercise
goes with accepting inequality in the remoter "peripheries."
The disputes reside ultimately in locating the central social arrangement.
state is founded on force," said Trotsky at Brest-Litovsk. That
is indeed right. If no social institutions existed which knew the use
of violence, then the concept of "state" would be eliminated,
and a condition would emerge that could be designated as "anarchy,"
in the specific sense of this word.
Protestantism, however, absolutely legitimated the state as a divine
institution and hence violence as a means. Protestantism, especially,
legitimated the authoritarian state.
- I heard
a charwoman declare, while scrubbing the stone floor of a hotel lobby:
'I never asked anybody for anything; I succeeded all by myself.' She
was as proud of her self-sufficiency as a Rockefeller. It is not to
be supposed, however, that the mere combination of the right to vote
and a job constitutes a complete emancipation: working, today, is not
liberty. Only in a socialist world would woman by one attain the other.
The majority of workers are exploited today. On the other hand, the
social structure has not been much modified by the changes in women's
condition; this world, always belonging to men, still retains the form
they have given it.
men whose fate is not determined by the chance of using goods or services
for themselves on the market, e.g. slaves, are not, however, a "class"
in the technical sense of the term. They are, rather, a "status
- In the
capitalist countries a multitude of moral teachers, counselors and "bewilderers"
separate the exploited from from those in power. In the colonial countries,
on the contrary, the policeman and the soldier, by their immediate presence
and their frequent and direct action maintain contact with the native
and advise him by means of riffle butts and napalm not to budge. It
is obvious here that the agents of government speack the language of
- In assessing
the freedoms that we enjoy and in examining how unequal we are in that
respect, the informational basis of the evaluation has to take into
account our counterfactual choices (what we would choose) and their
relation to what is made to happen. An exclusive concentration on the
levers of control would be inadequate for analyzing our freedoms.