"I tell them: ‘Don’t think about money. Let Grandpa think about money. Just think about your education.’"
"I always knew from that moment, from the time I found myself at home in that little segregated library in the South, all the way up until I walked up the steps of the New York City library, I always felt, in any town, if I can get to a library, I’ll be OK. It really helped me as a child, and that never left me. So I have a special place for every library, in my heart of hearts."
— Maya Angelou
"One day I will be in charge of the New York City Public School System."
[The humanities allow us] to learn to read carefully, with appreciation and a critical eye; to find ourselves, unexpectedly, in the middle of the ancient texts we read, but also to find ways of living, thinking, acting, and reflecting that belong to times and spaces we have never known. The humanities give us a chance to read across languages and cultural differences in order to understand the vast range of perspectives in and on this world. How else can we imagine living together without this ability to see beyond where we are, to find ourselves linked with others we have never directly known, and to understand that, in some abiding and urgent sense, we share a world?
In interrogating the many possible ways that “post” can be thought to be doing a certain kind of ideological work, it is apparent that “post-racial” need not take on the meanings to which I attribute the term herein. For example, the “post” in post-colonial or post-apartheid signals that the past does not simply precede the present but partly constitutes it. In this sense, the significance of “post” is not in the signaling of a before and an after, but in signaling a range of factors—potentially undefined—that make the contemporary social order a variation of the prototype, not its opposite. By contrast, the function of the “post” that garners considerable traction in post-racial discourse today operates not only to de-historicize race in American society, but also to reframe the contours of this contemporary moment as constituting the opposite of what preceded it. By these lights, a post-racial America is a racially egalitarian America, no longer measured by sober assessments of how far we have come, but by congratulatory declarations that we have arrived.
She stuck a bookmark in my heart and walked away.