Monday, September 28, 2020

Top Ten Quotations From the Past Year's Reading

I'm linking up with That Artsy Reader Girl for another Top Ten Tuesday.

This week's topic is on favorite book quotations. It's been a while since I shared some quotations; here is, yet again, some favorite passages from things I've read in the past year. They all happen to be from nonfiction!

1. "It is a contradiction that white females have structured a women's liberation movement that is racist and excludes many non-white women. However, the existence of that contradiction should not lead any woman to ignore feminist issues. Oftentimes I am asked by black women to explain why I would call myself a feminist and by using that term ally myself with a movement that is racist. I say, 'The question we must ask again and again is how can racist women call themselves feminists.' It is obvious that many women have appropriated feminism to serve their own ends, especially those white women who have been at the forefront of the movement; but rather than resigning myself to this appropriation I choose to re-appropriate the term 'feminism,' to focus on the fact that to be 'feminist' in any authentic sense of the term is to want for all people, female and male, liberation from sexist role patterns, domination, and oppression." - Ain't I a Woman by bell hooks
I read this whole passage aloud on my podcast after finishing this book because I think it's an important contribution to the conversation about what it means to be a feminist or who "counts" as a feminist.

2. "This is still one of the black man's big troubles today. So many of those so-called 'upper class' Negroes are so busy trying to impress on the white man that they are 'different from those others' that they can't see they are only helping the white man to keep his low opinion of all Negroes." - The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley
I can't speak to the Black experience, but I see parallels here for other marginalized groups as well; for example, women trying to say that they're "not like other women," which ultimately perpetuates rather than battles misogyny in the culture.

3. "Even if the law is enforced equitably and without bias or malice, it still results in the incarceration of large numbers of people who are homeless, mentally ill, and poor, rather than hardened predators. Ultimately, the criminalization of homeless people should be understood as a way of managing growing inequality through increasingly punitive mechanisms of state control." - The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale
This whole book is great, but I think this is a key point — it is the American system of policing itself that is broken, not just that it's carried out by individuals with bias, and that's why changes to the structures are necessary, not just increased training for police officers.

4. "Challenging behavior occurs when the demands being placed upon a child outstrip the skills he has to respond adaptively to those demands." - The Explosive Child by Ross W. Greene
This is Greene's central thesis, and something I keep trying to remind myself of as we work to figure out the best way to help our son develop coping skills that don't involve violence.

5. "It's a very colonizing impulse to look at something—a land, a city, a culture—and instead of seeing what is there, see a barren landscape that needs your new ideas. It's an American impulse to see a problem and think you can solve it with a little hard work and some bootstraps. It's a deeply human impulse to look all around you and see a problem but never consider that you might be the actual problem." - God Land by Lyz Lenz
I wasn't a huge fan of this book as a whole, but there were a lot of excellent passages throughout, like this one.

6. "Kids do idiotic, obnoxious stuff. That's unlikely to change any time soon, so if your plan for keeping your cool depends on your child's ability to do the same, that's going to end poorly for everyone." - How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids by Dr. Carla Naumburg
This is such an important reminder! The notion that "I wouldn't get so angry if they would just behave" is tied to abusive patterns. It's our job as parents to figure out how to be a steady and calming presence in our kids' lives.

7. "Much of what passes for racial reconciliation feels like an interracial playdate. Whites leave the playground feeling good about their new friend of color, but the material realities of people of color are unchanged." - I Bring the Voices of My People by Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes
This book has so much important content, but this is at the heart of her reason for writing it: the racial reconciliation movement in the church has been dominated by men and based on ideas of interpersonal relationships that don't dig into systemic inequities, and that needs to change if true justice is to be served.

8. "While we sit in pews singing songs about personal sins and salvation, we are ill equipped to go into the world to face systems of injustice, many of which we helped create." - Native by Kaitlin Curtice
One of the things I appreciate about the Catholic Church, and particularly the churches I've been part of, is that we focus more on community than individual salvation. I think faith has to be tied to social justice to truly exemplify the call to be Jesus' hands and feet.

9. "If anything, the people who moved to Jonestown should be remembered as noble idealists. They wanted to create a better, more equitable, society. They wanted their kids to be free of violence and racism. They rejected sexist gender roles. They believed in a dream. How terribly they were betrayed." - A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres
This book did an excellent job of showing how so many people ended up taking their own lives against their will. Being dismissive or judgmental doesn't allow you the ability to see how you too could someday become enmeshed in a dangerous situation following an unstable leader.

10. "Being human is not hard because you're doing it wrong, it's hard because you're doing it right. You will never change the fact that being human is hard, so you must change your idea that it was ever supposed to be easy." - Untamed by Glennon Doyle
This book is chock full of great quotations; here's a particularly good one.

What are some of your favorite book quotations?

Looking back:
One year ago I was reading: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Riddle of Ages, God Land, and Whistling Vivaldi
Five years ago I was reading: Number the Stars and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey
Ten years ago I was reading: Fourth Comings

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