Watch Toni Morrison Explain the “Profound Neurosis” of Racism

“If you can only be tall because somebody is on their knees, then you have a serious problem.”

As the world reacts to the death of Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, who died Monday in New York at 88, many are sharing their favorite quotes from the trailblazing novelist, whose captivating and commanding writings on the trauma of racism came to define American literature in a way few others have been able to accomplish.

One such moment that has been widely viewed in the wake of Morrison’s death is a clip from a 1993 interview with Charlie Rose. Rose asked her how she responds to everyday racist encounters. “Let me tell you, that’s the wrong question,” Morrison quickly replied.

“Don’t you understand, that the people who do this thing, who practice racism, are bereft?” she continued, turning the question posed to her on its head. “There is something distorted about the psyche.”

“If you can only be tall because somebody is on their knees, then you have a serious problem,” she concluded. “My feeling is that white people have a very, very serious problem. And they should start thinking about what they can do about it. Take me out of it.”

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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