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Black Thought and Philosophy: Home

Between a tweet and a book -- essays, episodes, and interviews to dig into and get inspired.

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Ibram X. Kendi - Racism is Not a Teaching Tool (2016)

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Roxane Gay - The Seduction of Safety, On Campus and Beyond (2015)

I have been searching for safety for most of my life. I experienced a brutal assault when I was young and in that terrible moment, I learned I was vulnerable in unimaginable ways. I have come to crave safety, the idea that I can live free from physical or emotional harm. As an adult, I understand that there is no such thing as safety, that safety is promised to no one, but oh the idea of it remains so lovely, so elusive. read more ...

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Podcast "Into America" on Banned Books

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The 'double-edged sword' of being a Black first

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bell hooks - Learning in the Shadow of Race and Class (2000)

As a child, I often wanted things money could buy that my parents could not afford and would not get. Rather than tell us we did not get some material thing because money was lacking, mama would frequently manipulate us in an effort to make the desire go away. Sometimes she would belittle and shame us about the object of our desire. That's what I remember most. That lovely yellow dress I wanted would become in her storytelling mouth a really ugly mammy-made thing that no girl who cared about her looks would desire. My desires were often made to seem worthless and stupid. I learned to mistrust and silence them. I learned that the more clearly I named my desires, the more unlikely those desires would ever be fulfilled. read more ...

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Kwame Alexander - Newbery Medal Acceptance (2015)

Cover of Crossover by Kwame Alexander with link to Newbery Medal acceptance speech

Two hours after being awakened by the Call, I get another call, from a reporter. She asks, “How did you find poetry?” Let me go on record as stating that Newbery winners should not be required to answer questions, especially on record, during the two-week period after receiving the greatest and most miraculous news of their writerly lives. This haze, this Newbery trance, if you will, is not kind to clarity and conciseness. read more ...

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Lorraine Hansberry - The Scars of the Ghetto (1965)

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Toni Morrison - Slavery and "Americanness" (1997)

For some time now I have been thinking about the validity or vulnerability of a certain set of assumptions conventionally accepted among literary historians and critics and circulated as "knowledge." This knowledge holds that traditional, canonical American literature is free of, uninformed, and unshaped by the four-hundred-year-old presence of, first, Africans and then African-Americans in the United States. read more ...

photo of Toni Morrison

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Octavia Butler - A Few Rules For Predicting the Future (2000)

Octavia Butler quotation with link to full article

1. Learn from the past

2. Respect the Law of Consequences

3. Be aware of your perspective

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"I think I had one choice -- well, two choices. I could become a writer, or I could die really young."

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Ta-Nehisi Coates - The Case for Reparations (2014)

American prosperity was built on two and a half centuries of slavery, a deep wound that has never been healed or fully atoned for—and that has been deepened by years of discrimination, segregation, and racist housing policies that persist to this day. Until America reckons with the moral debt it has accrued— and the practical damage it has done—to generations of black Americans, it will fail to live up to its own ideals. read more ...

Case for Reparations cover image with link to full-text article

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1619 Podcast

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