I borrowed this book last summer from a co-worker and still have it. It has taken me a longer time than is polite to have someone’s book but I think any true readers can understand sometimes book reading does not go according to plan.
I finally finished it and I wanted to read this book because all through my undergrad there was a teacher that kept telling us that he did not know why our school put Plato and Aristotle on such a high horse as the Stoics were better. I was never really sure what he was talking about but I made a mental note to get to the books eventually and I guess I finally did.
I loved this book and as much as I am concerned with communities and the collective we can never forget the individuals that make up those collectives. As a person that is constantly in my mind trying to make myself better I learnt from this book. It was a reminder that the quest for success is kinda stupid its best to be a good and wise person that does not worry too much about silly things and that one must at least try to be vegetarian. Continue reading Letters From a Stoic by Seneca
Here are the quotes that stood out to me in the book:
“Reed is dead now. He won no honours in classroom, pulpit or platform. Yet I remember him with love. Restless, rebellious, scoffing at conventions, defiant of the white man’s law – I’ve known many negroes like Reed. I see them everyday. Blindly, on their own reckless manner, they seek a way out for themselves; alone, they pound with their fists and fury against walls that only the shoulders of many can topple” pg 13
“And here there were white working men, too, many of them foreign-born, who, unlike the Princeton blue-bloods, could see in s workingman of a darker skin a fellow human being ( a lower paid worker, of course, and perhaps a competitor for a job, but not a person of a totally different caste” pg 17
“Later I came to understand that the negro artist could not view the matter simply in terms of his individual interests, and that he had a responsibility to his people who rightfully resented the traditional stereotyped portrayals of negroes on stage and screen. So I made a decision : if hollowed and broadway producers did not choose to offer me worthy roles to play, then I would choose but to accept any other kind of offer.” pg 31
“Furthermore, as long as other Americans are not required to be silent or false in reference to their interests, I shall insist that to impose such restrictions on negroes is unjust, discriminatory and intolerable” pg 66
This idea is called “Gradualism.” It is said to be a practical and constructive way to achieve the blessings of democracy for coloured Americans. But the idea itself is but another form of race discrimination: in no other area of our society are lawbreakers granted is an indefinite time to comply with the provisions of the law. There is nothing in the 14th and 15th amendments, the legal guarantees of our full citizenship rights, which says that the constitution is to be enforced “gradually” where Negroes are concerned. Pg. 75
“It is easy for the folks on the top to take a calm philosophical view and tell those who bear the burden to restrain themselves and wait for justice to come” pg. 76
And we should you do more than listen to speeches and then go quietly home. I was spokesman should go to the White House and to Congress and, backed by the massed power of our people, present our demands for action. Then they should come back to the assembled people to tell them what “the man” said so that the people can decide whether they are satisfied or not and what to do about it” pg 94
“If today it can be said that the Negro people of the United States are lagging behind the progress being made by coloured peoples in other lands, one basic cause for it has been that all too often Negro leadership here has lacked the selfless passion for the people’s welfare that has characterized the leaders of the colonial liberation movements. Among us today is a general recognition – and a grudging acceptance- of the fact that some of our leaders are not only unwilling to make sacrifices but they must see some gain for themselves in what ever the do. A few crumbs for a few is too often hailed as “progress for the race.” To live in freedom one must be prepared to die to achieve it, and while few if any of us ever called upon to make that supreme sacrifice, no one can ignore the fact that in a difficult struggle those who are in the forefront may suffer cruel blows. He who is not prepared to face the trails of battle will never lead to a triumph. This spirit of dedication, as I have indicated, is abundantly present in the ranks of our people but progress will be slow until it is much more manifest in the character of leadership.” Pg. 103
“Negro womanhood today is giving us many inspiring examples of steadfast devotion, cool courage under fire, and brilliant generalship in our people’s struggles; and here is a major source for new strength and militancy in negro leadership on every level.”
To understand the law is important and not just for my ego. It give us all a better tool to deal with all those that try to take advantage of the common person. When something is written down it can be a better way to protect and remember what is right. Written policies help ensure fairness so we don’t lose our way as a society. Continue reading Passion for Policy