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America

"What do you do when you have lost faith in the place you call home? That wasn’t quite the right way to put it: I never really had faith in the United States in the strongest sense of the word. I hoped that one day white people here would finally leave behind the belief that they mattered more. But what do you do when this glimmer of hope fades, and you are left with the belief that white people will never change—that the country, no matter what we do, will remain basically the same?"    - Eddie S. Glaude Jr. ; Begin Again


"Slavery would be banished from view or seen as a mistake instead of a defining institution of systemic cruelty in pursuit of profit. That history would fortify our national identity, and any attempt to confront the lie itself would be sabotaged by the fear that we may not be who we say we are. For white people in this country, 'America' is an identity worth protecting at any cost."    - Eddie S. Glaude Jr. ; Begin Again


"The people who settled the country had a fatal flaw. They could recognize a man when they saw one. They knew he wasn’t…anything else but a man; but since they were Christian, and since they had already decided that they came here to establish a free country, the only way to justify the role this chattel was playing in one’s life was to say that he was not a man. For if he wasn’t, then no crime had been committed. That lie is the basis of our present trouble."    - James Baldwin ; The White Problem, Quoted in Begin Again by Eddie S. Glaude Jr.


"Taken as a whole, then, the lie is the mechanism that allows, and has always allowed, America to avoid facing the truth about its unjust treatment of black people and how it deforms the soul of the country. The lie cuts deep into the American psyche. It secures our national innocence in the face of the ugliness and evil we have done."    - Eddie S. Glaude Jr. ; Begin Again


"But the lie’s most pernicious effect when it comes to our history is to malform events to fit the story whenever America’s innocence is threatened by reality. When measured against our actions, the story we have told ourselves about America being a divinely sanctioned nation called to be a beacon of light and a moral force in the world is a lie."    - Eddie S. Glaude Jr. ; Begin Again


"The willingness of so many of our fellows to toss aside any semblance of commitment to democracy—to embrace cruel and hateful policies—exposes the idea of America as an outright lie."    - Eddie S. Glaude Jr. ; Begin Again


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