“Sometimes you can do everything right and things will still go wrong. The key is to never stop doing right.”
“What's the point of having a voice if you're gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn't be?”
“At an early age I learned that people make mistakes, and you have to decide if their mistakes are bigger than your love for them.”
“Brave doesn't mean you're not scared. It means you go on even though you're scared.”
“That's the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What's the point of having a voice if you're gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn't be?”
“I can't change where I come from or what I've been through, so why should I be ashamed of what makes me, me?”
“Once upon a time there was a hazel-eyed boy with dimples. I called him Khalil. The world called him a thug.
He lived, but not nearly long enough, and for the rest of my life I'll remember how he died.
Fairy tale? No. But I'm not giving up on a better ending.”
“It's dope to be black until it's hard to be black.”
“You can destroy wood and brick, but you can't destroy a movement.”
“Pac said Thug Life stood for 'The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody'.”
“I’ve seen it happen over and over again: a black person gets killed just for being black, and all hell breaks loose. I’ve Tweeted RIP hashtags, reblogged pictures on Tumblr, and signed every petition out there. I always said that if I saw it happen to somebody, I would have the loudest voice, making sure the world knew what went down.
Now I am that person, and I’m too afraid to speak.”
“Once you've seen how broken someone is it's like seeing them naked—you can't look at them the same anymore.”
“Intentions always look better on paper than in reality.”
“Daddy once told me there's a rage passed down to every black man from his ancestors, born the moment they couldn't stop the slave masters from hurting their families. Daddy also said there's nothing more dangerous than when that rage is activated.”
“Funny. Slave masters thought they were making a difference in black people’s lives too. Saving them from their “wild African ways.” Same shit, different century. I wish people like them would stop thinking that people like me need saving.”
“People say misery loves company, but I think it’s like that with anger too.”
“People like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice. I think we all wait for that one time though, that one time when it ends right.”
“A hairbrush is not a gun.”
“To every kid in Georgetown and in all “the Gardens” of the world: your voices matter, your dreams matter, your lives matter. Be roses that grow in the concrete.”
“Holy shit. Who the fuck complains about going to Harry Potter World? Or Butter Beer? Or wands?”
“When I was twelve, my parents had two talks with me.
One was the usual birds and bees. Well, I didn't really get the usual version. My mom, Lisa, is a registered nurse, and she told me what went where, and what didn't need to go here, there, or any damn where till I'm grown. Back then, I doubted anything was going anywhere anyway. While all the other girls sprouted breasts between sixth and seventh grade, my chest was as flat as my back.
The other talk was about what to do if a cop stopped me.
Momma fussed and told Daddy I was too young for that. He argued that I wasn't too young to get arrested or shot.
"Starr-Starr, you do whatever they tell you to do," he said. "Keep your hands visible. Don't make any sudden moves. Only speak when they speak to you."
I knew it must've been serious. Daddy has the biggest mouth of anybody I know, and if he said to be quiet, I needed to be quiet.
I hope somebody had the talk with Khalil.”
“When you fight, you put yourself out there, not caring who you hurt or if you'll get hurt.”
“Funny how it works with white kids though. It’s dope to be black until it’s hard to be black.”
“If bravery is a medical condition, everybody's misdiagnosed me.”
“You still got that old laptop? The one you had before we bought you that expensive-ass fruit one?"
I laugh. "It's an Apple MacBook, Daddy."
"It damn sure wasn't the price of an apple. Anyway, you got the old one?”
“He got a tan over break. I used to tell him he was so pale he looked like a marshmallow. He hated that I compared him to food. I told him that's what he got for calling me caramel. It shut him up.”
“Right. Lack of opportunities," Daddy says. "Corporate America don't bring jobs to our communities, and they damn sure ain't quick to hire us. Then, shit, even if you do have a high school diploma, so many of the schools in our neighborhoods don't prepare us well enough. That's why when your momma talked about sending you and your brothers to Williamson, I agreed. Our schools don't get the resources to equip you like Williamson does. It's easier to find some crack that it is the find a good school around here.
"Now, think 'bout this," he says. "How did the drugs even get in our neighborhood? This is a multibillion-dollar industry we talking 'bout, baby. That shit is flown into our communities, but I don't know anybody with a private jet. Do you?"
"Exactly. Drugs come from somewhere, and they're destroying our community," he says. "You got folks like Brenda, who think they need them survive, and then you got the Khalils, who think they need to sell them to survive. The Brendas can't get jobs unless they're clean, and they can't pay for rehab unless they got jobs. When the Khalils get arrested for selling drugs, they either spend most of their life in prison, another billion-dollar industry, or they have a hard time getting a real job and probably start selling drugs again. That's the hate they're giving us, baby, a system designed against us. That's Thug Life.”
“You need Saturday to recover and Sunday to repent.”
“The truth casts a shadow over the kitchen—people like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice. I think we all wait for that one time though, that one time when it ends right.”
“This is exactly what They expect you to do," Momma says.
They with a capital T.
There's Them and then there's Us.
Sometimes They look like Us and don't recognize They are Us.”
“During difficult times I often turn to a gospel song called “Stand.” In it, songwriter Donnie McClurkin sings, “What do you do when you’ve done all you can, and it seems like it’s never enough? What do you give when you’ve given your all, and it seems like you can’t make it through?” The answer lies in McClurkin’s simple refrain: “You just stand.” That’s where strength comes from—our ability to face resistance and walk through it. It’s not that people who persevere don’t ever feel doubt, fear, and exhaustion. They do. But in the toughest moments, we can have faith that if we take just one step more than we feel we’re capable of, if we draw on the incredible resolve every human being possesses, we’ll learn some of the most profound lessons life has to offer. What I know for sure is that there is no strength without challenge, adversity, resistance, and often pain. The problems that make you want to throw up your hands and holler “Mercy!” will build your tenacity, courage, discipline, and determination.”
“Madame LaFleur would say that you're more of a classical ballet dancer instead of a jazz dancer. But sometimes all you have to do is change costumes to become something different.”
“In my student days, I detested Schopenhauer. Only later did I come to acknowledge the force of his idea that every relationship involving personal feeling laid one open to attack, and the more people I allowed to become close to me, the greater the number of ways in which I was vulnerable.”
“When humans’ nerves detect big and small stimuli at the same time, they ignore the smaller one.”
“I want to fall asleep next to you every night even when you’re cranky. I want to wake up next to you every morning even when I’m grumpy. I love the fact that when you snore it sounds a little like your wolf. I love that your mind is just as scheming as mine. I love the tiny smile you show only me after we’ve made love. I love the compassion you show to your subjects when other Rulers wouldn’t, but at the same time your intelligence and determination when you know you can’t. I love how loyal you are to those you love. And when it’s time to have children, you’re the one I want to have them with.”
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