"I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I'm one of those people"
"To be an American writer or to be interested in American literature and not to have read “Beloved,” in my insufferable calculus, is like calling yourself a sailor and never having bothered to touch the sea."
"Listen, I think one of the things that’s real strange, and I see it with my kids, is that they have entire networks of communications, and entire networks of joining up with each other and talking that I think elude folks like me and older. I mean I’m not on tumblr every darn day, I’m not. I don’t have instagram. I don’t get on any of these networks that my kids are on. There’s all this movement, and information that’s passing and that is slipping past what we would call the mainstream radar. And my kids, my students, they understand that there’s kinda two worlds; the official world where they’ll go work and the official world where they’ll talk to adults and in that official world folks don’t talk about race, folks don’t talk about rape, folks don’t acknowledge how much young people are doing, what they’re doing, folks don’t talk about how many gay folks are out there. And then.. there’s the world they live on, the ground, where they’re seeing this stuff right up front. And I think a lot of what’s going on is that a lot of communities are becoming bilingual. Speaking real speak, and real speak is the stuff we acknowledge is happening. And speaking the official speak, and the official speak we don’t acknowledge any of this stuff. It’s code but it’s also negation, because part of what you’re seeing with the republican madness is, what they wanna do is put that story back. They wanna push it back, they wanna negate it, they wanna erase it. I think when you speak the official code, part of it is erasing. You want to not talk about this, not talk about that, let’s just talk about the old thing. And you if you talk about anything new Ima get real mad at you."