78 Quotes of Clint Smith

” The death penalty not only takes away the life of the person strapped to the table – it takes away a little bit of the humanity in each of us. “
” This idea of shared humanity and the connections that we make with one another – that’s what, in fact, makes life worth living. “
” My childhood closet was ornamented with U.S. jerseys of World Cups spanning the nineties and two-thousands – some of my favorite memories are from summers when, with a ball under my foot and a jersey on my back, I watched the U.S. team go up against the world’s best players in the largest sporting event on Earth. “
” In my hometown of New Orleans, grief is a public spectacle that, somewhat paradoxically, necessitates celebration. The dead are not mourned so much as they are posthumously venerated with music and dance. “
” Empathy should not be contingent on our proximity to suffering or the likelihood of it happening to us. Rather, it should stem from a disdain that suffering is happening at all. “
” A cage that allows someone to walk around inside of it is still a cage. “
” To be clear, affirmative action is not, by itself, an adequate response to decades of systemic looting, but it has been an indispensible tool in inching us towards some semblance of a more equitable society. “
” Silence is the residue of fear. “
” The social science on the impact of desegregation is clear. Researchers have consistently found that students in integrated schools – irrespective of ethnicity, race, or social class – are more likely to make academic gains in mathematics, reading, and often science than they are in segregated ones. “
” When the residue of oppression and fear are compounded over time, when the historical precedents of policing and discrimination manifest themselves over and over again, the very act of waking up to a world complicit in your distress can feel like a herculean task. But black people are human beings, just like everyone else. “
” As we walked through the National Museum of African American History and Culture, I pushed my grandfather in a wheelchair he had reluctantly agreed to sit in. He is a proud man who also knows that his knees aren’t what they once were – that years of high school and college football had long accelerated the deterioration of his aging joints. “
” If the only people we are able to extend empathy to are those who are like us, who come from the same country we do, or who share our faith, then we misunderstand what empathy is. “
” The moral abhorrence of private prisons has been brought to our attention by courageous acts of investigative journalism, illuminating scholarship, and the work of activists who have decried the social stratification brought about by our prison systems. “
” When the U.S. team went on its historic run to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2002, I was thirteen years old. Each game in that run – the astonishing victory against Portugal, the resilient win over Mexico, even the gutsy but unlucky effort against the Germans – propelled me to push my other athletic interests aside and focus only on soccer. “
” The beauty of the World Cup is that while thirty-two countries get to cheer for their respective teams, the event also affirms a global pluralism – it is as much a festival of cultural multiplicity as it is a competition featuring some of the best athletes in the world. “
” Oppression doesn’t disappear just because you decided not to teach us that chapter. “
” In an effort to create a culture within my classroom where students feel safe sharing the intimacies of their own silences, I have four core principles posted on the board that sits in the front of my class, which every student signs at the beginning of the year: read critically, write consciously, speak clearly, tell your truth. “
” Those who support the death penalty are accepting a practice that is both ineffective and fundamentally flawed. “
” Education is a human right – a recognition of dignity that each person should be afforded. “
” Do those serving life sentences deserve access to educational opportunities never having a future beyond bars? The answer is yes and necessitates that in-prison education serves additional goals beyond reducing recidivism. “
” It is easy not to support the death penalty when there is doubt about the culpability of the person sitting in the chair; it is harder to sustain such principles when the crime of the accused is morally indefensible. “
” Abolition seemed a fantasy when Frederick Douglass called for all slaves to be released. “
” The power of literature does not lie in resonance with the particular but the way that the particular speaks to a broader, more universal truth. “
” Advocating for affirmative action through the prism of diversity may be more politically palatable, but it will inevitably yield insufficient results. “
” One of the most significant factors contributing to the chasm of educational opportunity is the way that schools are funded. “
” ‘A Talk to Teachers’ is emblematic of Baldwin’s proclivity for candor over political appeasement and, like much of his work, focusses on history and the American consciousness. “
” ‘A Talk to Teachers’ showed me that a teacher’s work should reject the false pretense of being apolitical and, instead, confront the problems that shape our students’ lives. “
” Living under the perpetual and pervasive threat of racism seems, for black men and black women, to quite literally reduce lifespans. “
” People create the sort of myths they want to believe about themselves. “
” The most important and brave thing someone can do, I think, in the face of dehumanization, is to continue to assert their humanity. “
” One does not read a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks with hopes that it will grant him a career in engineering; he does so because poetry helps him see something in the world that he might not have seen before. “
” The presidents and the founding fathers and all of the people we sort of raise up as false idols, we don’t wrestle with the fact that many of these were brilliant men, but they were also men with deep prejudices against people of color, against indigenous people, against women. “
” I’ve been a follower of Arsenal Football Club since I was ten years old. “
” School desegregation is associated with higher graduation rates, greater employability, higher earnings, and decreased rates of incarceration. “
” Until affirmative action is described and understood as one mechanism by which to make amends for historical wrongdoing against members of marginalized communities, it will fail to meaningfully address the inequality that exists as a direct result of federal policy. “
” We tend to think of racism as this interpersonal verbal or physical abuse, when in truth, that is only one way that racism manifests itself. The reality of contemporary racism is that it while it is ubiquitous, it is often invisible, subsequently making it more difficult to name and identify. “
” We spend so much time listening to the things people are saying that we rarely pay attention to the things they don’t. “
” Who has to have a soapbox when all you’ve ever needed is your voice? “
” My parents raised me and my siblings in an armor of advice, an ocean of alarm bells so someone wouldn’t steal the breath from our lungs, so that they wouldn’t make a memory of this skin. “
” When we say that black lives matter, it’s not because others don’t: it’s simply because we must affirm that we are worthy of existing without fear, when so many things tell us we are not. “
” I want to live in a world where my son will not be presumed guilty the moment he is born, where a toy in his hand isn’t mistaken for anything other than a toy. “
” I’ve been writing poetry seriously since about 2008, 2009. “
” When you sing that this country was founded on freedom, don’t forget the duet of shackles dragging against the ground my entire life. “
” If you only hear one side of the story, at some point, you have to question who the writer is. “
” In many ways, the very notion of school choice operates under a false pretense – an assumption that every child has the same set of choices to make and the same places to choose from. “
” Until lawmakers can disentangle property taxes from public education, inequalities – perpetuated by the Supreme Court and Congress – will persist. “
” Schools shouldn’t have to choose between serving a student with special needs or cutting an art class, laying off teachers or using outdated textbooks. But these are the positions that far too many schools have been placed in, and only a meaningful acknowledgment of the problem can begin the process of getting them out. “
” History has proven that art depicting black people cannot be disentangled from the political implications that such art has on their lives. As Africans were being stripped from the continent and sailed across the Atlantic to the Western world, depictions of black people in Western art changed in order to further render them racialized caricatures. “
” Photography, sculpture, and painting were wielded as cultural weapons over the course of generations to substantiate the idea that black people were inherently subordinate beings; they were used to make slavery acceptable and to make black subjugation more palatable. “
” With ‘Black Panther,’ black artists were provided with the opportunity and agency to create art that captures the full range of their imaginative possibilities. It matters that Chadwick Boseman is the protagonist and is supported by a cast of nearly all black characters. “
” Black artists deserve the opportunity to create work without the burden of alleviating the social ills plaguing many black communities. “
” The history of racial violence in our country is both omnipresent and unspoken. It is a smog that surrounds us that few will admit is there. “
” The history of racial violence in our country is both omnipresent and unspoken. It is a smog that surrounds us that few will admit is there. “
” America’s economy cannot be disentangled from the free labor that built it, just as America’s culture cannot be unbound from the black artists who cultivated it. “
” I think about the history of racism in this country all the time. “
” So often, our sporting allegiances are shaped by family tradition, passed down like heirlooms. “
” To be an Arsenal fan is to convince yourself that you can no longer support a team that disappoints you, only to be drawn back in by the ever-flickering promise of something better. “
” There is simply no better way to generate buzz for soccer in your country than having your team in the World Cup. “
” Young people are constantly absorbing – through media, textbooks, and policy – the myths of American exceptionalism; for black children, this means that what they are taught in class does not match the world that they navigate daily. “
” Sometimes sports serves as a reprieve from politics, and sometimes it serves as an extension of it. “
” Supporting black professional athletes was taken seriously in my home. “
” There is a solidarity that black people can find in celebrating the athletic success of our own, especially in sports where our existence is sparse. “
” In high school, I made the all-city and all-state soccer teams. “
” After high school, I earned a scholarship to play Division I soccer at a small school in North Carolina, but I didn’t get much playing time, which forced me to determine who I was beyond the field, something I had previously never had to do. “
” While the most disadvantaged students – most often poor students of color – receive the most considerable academic benefits from attending diverse schools, research demonstrates that young people in general, regardless of their background, experience profound benefits from attending integrated schools. “
” Schools are the single largest lever of mobility in this country. When we commit to creating and enforcing laws that acknowledge the injustice of the past, we open up the possibility of using schools as a means of reducing inequality. “
” The U.S. prison system, over all, disproportionately affects black and brown people, but people of color are overrepresented to a greater degree in private prisons. “
” Older prisoners are more expensive for prisons to house because they tend to require more health care over time. “
” When the power of private prisons is diminished, so, too, is their ability to engage in back-door political lobbying that has an impact on public and private prisons alike. “
” Systemic racism always takes a toll, whether it be by bullet or by blood clot. “
” Preparing oneself for the possibility of confronting racism triggers something that slowly chips away at physical and emotional well-being. “
” Being incarcerated does not mean being devoid of the capacity to learn, grow, and think, and it’s critical that prisons provide spaces where learning can be both cultivated and encouraged. “
” If our principles are only our principles when it is convenient for us, when they align with our visceral emotional responses, then they are, in fact, not principles at all. “
” Growing up in New Orleans, I was always the only black kid, or one of two, on the school soccer team. While I was always conscious of this status, what took precedent was my unfettered love of the game. “
” Each holiday season, as family members arrive and couches are unfolded, my household settles into a palpable nostalgia. Poorly designed photo albums are pulled from the shelves. Home videos of prepubescent siblings in matching pajamas dance across the television screen. “
” In sixth grade, my status as a Boy Scout was not something I went out of my way to share. In fact, I spent most of my adolescence attempting to keep it a secret from those who might use it as a source of derision. The off-brown collared shirt and forest-green sash were not something I would have ever been caught wearing in front of my friends. “
” In my home, guns were not something to be earned or celebrated. Water guns and Nerf guns were not allowed outside. B.B. guns were not even a part of the conversation. “
” To operate with the aspiration of color-blindness in a country whose central operating mechanism for centuries has been race belies the logic of race-neutral public policy. Public policy must account for the historic and intentional pillaging of resources experienced by black Americans. “