Toni Morrison

From an interview of Toni Morrison, in the Guardian

-On segreggation

When Morrison was 17, she had tried out a thought experiment. She had just started college in Washington DC, “where they still had those signs in the buses. ‘Coloureds only’ and so on. And there was one place downtown where a black person could go into the ladies room. And we all knew which one it was.” On the news, she had seen footage of some white mothers in the south trying to turn over a school bus with black children in it. “I didn’t know if I could turn over a bus full of little white kids. I didn’t know if I could feel that… fury. And I tried very hard to. This is what I did: I said suppose… horses began to speak. And began to demand their rights. Now, I’ve ridden horses. They’re very good workers. They’re very good racehorses. Suppose they just… want more. Suppose they want to go to school! Suppose they want to sit next to me in the theatre. I began to feel this sense of – ‘I like you, but…’; ‘You’re good, but…’ Suppose they want to sleep with my children?!” She’s laughing heartily now. “I had to go outside the species! But it worked, I could feel it. You know; don’t sit next to me.”

-On grief after losing one of her sons

“What do you say? There really are no words for that. There really aren’t. Somebody tries to say, ‘I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.’ People say that to me. There’s no language for it. Sorry doesn’t do it. I think you should just hug people and mop their floor or something.”

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