The notion of a universality of human experience is a confidence trick and the notion of a universality of female experience is a clever confidence trick.
One day our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.
If you come from, say, the northeastern part of the United States when you’re listening you need to show you’re alive. You need to talk along. That’s the way you show you’re interested. But in many parts of the United States if you talk along, that’s rude, that’s interruption. Now, we all agree interruption is rude. But we don’t agree on what constitutes an interruption.
Our deepest calling is to grow into our own authentic self-hood, whether or not it conforms to some image of who we ought to be. As we do so, we will not only find the joy that every human being seeks — we will also find our path of authentic service in the world.
People may be said to resemble not the bricks of which a house is built, but the pieces of a picture puzzle, each differing in shape, but matching the rest, and thus bringing out the picture.
When Jesus Christ asked little children to come to him, he didn’t say only rich children, or White children, or children with two-parent families, or children who didn’t have a mental or physical handicap. He said, ‘Let all children come unto me.’
America has believed that in differentiation, not in uniformity, lies the path of progress. It acted on this belief; it has advanced human happiness, and it has prospered.
Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs.
I would encourage us all, African Americans, Asians, Latinos, Whites, Native Americans to study history. I long for the time when all the human history is taught as one history. I am stronger because you are stronger. I am weaker if you are weak. So we are more alike than we are unlike.
We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.
It is the duty of every cultured man or woman to read sympathetically the scriptures of the world. If we are to respect others’ religions as we would have them respect our own, a friendly study of the world’s religions is a sacred duty.