February’s quotations of black intellectuals continue here on Liquid Ink with Ta-Nehisi Coates, whose Between the World and Me should also be standard reading. Virtually every other page contains a quotable insight. Here’s one that really resonated with me (the ‘you’ is Coates’ son, to whom the book is addressed):
You must resist the common urge toward the comforting narrative of divine law, toward fairy tales that imply some irrepressible justice. The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance—no matter how improved—as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children. Our triumphs can never compensate for this.