Somebody has to take responsibility for being a leader.

Toni Morrison

If you’re going to hold someone down you’re going to have to hold on by the other end of the chain. You are confined by your own repression.

Toni Morrison

In becoming an American, from Europe, what one has in common with that other immigrant is contempt for me-it’s nothing else but color.

Toni Morrison

In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.

Toni Morrison

Read more quotes from these Nobel Laureates in Literature:

Doris LessingAlice MunroKazuo IshiguroJean Paul Sartre
Mario Vargas LlosaBob DylanPearl S. Buck Albert Camus
J. M. CoetzeeOrhan PamukV.S. Naipaul Seamus Heaney
Ernest HemingwayNadine GordimerG√ľnter GrassKenzaburo Oe
Harold PinterDario FoJose SaramagoWislawa Szymborska
Wole SoyinkaOctavio PazAndre GideGabriel Garcia Marquez
Patrick WhitePablo NerudaSamuel BeckettShmuel Y. Agnon
Bertrand RussellNaguib MahfouzJoseph BrodskyJohn Steinbeck
Salvatore Quasimodo Aleksandr SolzhenitsynThomas MannHermann Hesse

It’s been mentioned or suggested that Paradise will not be well studied, because it’s about this unimportant intellectual topic, which is religion.

Toni Morrison

Love is or it ain’t. Thin love ain’t love at all.

Toni Morrison

Make a difference about something other than yourselves.

Toni Morrison

My children are delightful people, whom I would love even if they weren’t my children.

Toni Morrison

Nelson Mandela is, for me, the single statesman in the world. The single statesman, in that literal sense, who is not solving all his problems with guns. It’s truly unbelievable.

Toni Morrison

No one ever talks about the moment you found that you were white. Or the moment you found out you were black. That’s a profound revelation. The minute you find that out, something happens. You have to renegotiate everything.

Toni Morrison

One of my kids was born in 1968. There were going to be political difficulties, but they were never going to have that level of hatred and contempt that my brothers and my sister and myself were exposed to.

Toni Morrison

Schools must stop being holding pens to keep energetic young people off the job market and off the streets. We stretch puberty out a long, long time.

Toni Morrison

You marvel at the economy and this choice of words. How many ways can you describe the sky and the moon? After Sylvia Plath, what can you say?

Toni Morrison

Some Native American writers enjoy being called Native American writers.

Toni Morrison

The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.

Toni Morrison

The body is ready to have babies. Nature wants it done then, when the body can handle it, not after 40, when the income can handle it.

Toni Morrison

The unflattering reviews are painful for short periods of time; the badly written ones are deeply, deeply insulting. That reviewer took no time to really read the book.

Toni Morrison

There is nothing of any consequence in education, in the economy, in city planning, in social policy that does not concern black people.

Toni Morrison

There is really nothing more to say-except why. But since why is difficult to handle, one must take refuge in how.

Toni Morrison

We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.

Toni Morrison

When there is pain, there are no words. All pain is the same.

Toni Morrison

Women’s rights is not only an abstraction, a cause; it is also a personal affair. It is not only about us; it is also about me and you. Just the two of us.

Toni Morrison

You need a whole community to raise a child. I have raised two children, alone.

Toni Morrison

If you surrendered to the air, you could ride it.

Toni Morrison

She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.

Toni Morrison

At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint or even remember it. It is enough.

Toni Morrison

If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.

Toni Morrison

All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.

Toni Morrison

As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.

Toni Morrison

Black boys became criminalized. I was in constant dread for their lives, because they were targets everywhere. They still are.

Toni Morrison

Black literature is taught as sociology, as tolerance, not as a serious, rigorous art form.

Toni Morrison

Black people are victims of an enormous amount of violence. None of those things can take place without the complicity of the people who run the schools and the city.

Toni Morrison

Black people have always been used as a buffer in this country between powers to prevent class war.

Toni Morrison

Everybody gets everything handed to them. The rich inherit it. I don’t mean just inheritance of money. I mean what people take for granted among the middle and upper classes, which is nepotism, the old-boy network.

Toni Morrison

Everything I’ve ever done, in the writing world, has been to expand articulation, rather than to close it.

Toni Morrison

Everywhere, everywhere, children are the scorned people of the earth.

Toni Morrison

For a long time I was convinced that the conflict between Jewish people and black people in this country was a media event.

Toni Morrison

Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.

Toni Morrison

I would solve a lot of literary problems just thinking about a character in the subway, where you can’t do anything anyway.

Toni Morrison

I’m not entangled in shaping my work according to other people’s views of how I should have done it.

Toni Morrison

A lot of black people believe that Jews in this country have become white. They behave like white people rather than Jewish people.

Toni Morrison

If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, you must be the one to write it.

Toni Morrison

I always looked upon the acts of racist exclusion, or insult, as pitiable, from the other person. I never absorbed that. I always thought that there was something deficient about such people.

Toni Morrison

I wrote my first novel because I wanted to read it.

Toni Morrison

I’m always annoyed about why black people have to bear the brunt of everybody else’s contempt. If we are not totally understanding and smiling, suddenly we’re demons.

Toni Morrison

I think some aspects of writing can be taught. Obviously, you can’t teach vision or talent. But you can help with comfort.

Toni Morrison

I merged those two words, black and feminist, because I was surrounded by black women who were very tough and and who always assumed they had to work and rear children and manage homes.

Toni Morrison

I like marriage. The idea.

Toni Morrison

I get angry about things, then go on and work.

Toni Morrison

I don’t think anybody cares about unwed mothers unless they’re black or poor. The question is not morality, the question is money. That’s what we’re upset about.

Toni Morrison

I don’t think a female running a house is a problem, a broken family. It’s perceived as one because of the notion that a head is a man.

Toni Morrison