Moral Monsters

I’m terrified at the moral apathy, the death of the heart, which is happening in my country. These people have deluded themselves for so long that they really don’t think I’m human. I base this on their conduct, not on what they say. And this means that they have become, in themselves, moral monsters.”

— James Baldwin

The Dilemma

That’s part of the dilemma of being an American Negro. That one is, a little bit colored and a little bit white. And not only in terms, in physical terms, but in the head and in the heart. There are days, this is one of them, when you wonder what your role is in this country and what your future is in it. How precisely you’re going to reconcile yourself to your situation here and how you are going to communicate to the vast, heedless, unthinking, cruel white majority that you are here. And to be here means you that can’t be anywhere else.”

— James Baldwin, A Conversation with James Baldwin

All Ideas Are Dangerous

One must also recognize that morality is based on ideas and that all ideas are dangerous—dangerous because ideas can only lead to action and where the action leads no man can say. And dangerous in this respect: that confronted with the impossibility of remaining faithful to one’s beliefs, and the equal impossibility of becoming free of them, one can be driven to the most inhuman excesses.”

— James Baldwin, Stranger in the Village (via Erica Avey)