But we know: Even hate against that which is low disfigures the face. Even anger over injustice makes the voice coarse. Oh, we who wanted to prepare the soil for friendliness were unable to be friendly ourselves.
We don't hate; we're just indifferent. Same result, less effort.
What frightened me in your essay was the gospel of love which you begin to preach at the end. In politics, love is a stranger, and when it intrudes upon it nothing is being achieved except hypocrisy. All the characteristics you stress in the Negro people: their beauty, their capacity for joy, their warmth, and their humanity, are well-known characteristics of all oppressed people. They grow out of suffering and they are the proudest possession of all pariahs. Unfortunately, they have never survived the hour of liberation by even five minutes. Hatred and love belong together, and they are both destructive; you can afford them only in the private and, as a people, only so long as you are not free.
They smell your breath lest you have said: I love you. They smell your heart; These are strange times, my dear. They flog love at the roadblock. Let's hide love in the larder. In this crooked blind alley, as the chill descends they feed fires with logs of song and poetry Hazard not a thought: These are strange times, my dear. The man who knocks at your door in the noon of the night has come to kill the light. Let's hide light in the larder. There, butchers are posted in passageways with bloody chopping blocks and cleavers: These are strange times, my dear. They chop smiles off lips, and songs off the mouth: Let's hide joy in the larder."In This Blind Alley"