UW Home
Sociology Home
Oliver Home
Sociology & Advising
Protest Research
Racial Disparities in Imprisonment Research
DMC Committee
Soc 357 Research Methods
Soc 220 Ethnic Movements
Soc 626 Social Movements
Soc 924 Social Movements Seminar
Download Adobe Acrobat Reader for .PDF files
oliver at ssc dot wisc dot edu

Pamela Oliver
Sociology Dept
1180 Observatory Dr. Madison, Wisconsin



Professor Pamela Oliver

Department of Sociology




"While the legal, material, and even superficial requirements to eradicate racism are well known, its psychological and more deeply spiritual requirements have been persistently neglected-namely, the oneness of the human family. It is this principle of oneness that needs to be the driving force behind the struggle of uniting the races."
--Sara Harrington, 1998

"If you have come here to help me, then you are wasting your time…But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."
--Lila Watson

"White people will have quite enough to do in learning how to accept and love themselves and each other, and when they have achieved this-which will not be tomorrow and may very well be never, the Negro problem will not longer exist, for it will no longer be needed."
--James Baldwin

"The trouble around difference is really about privilege & power-the existence of privilege & the lopsided distribution of power that keeps it going. The trouble is rooted in a legacy that we all inherited, and WHILE WE'RE HERE IT BELONGS TO US. It isn't our fault. It wasn't caused by something we did or didn't do. But now that it's ours, it's up to us to decide how we're going to deal with it before we collectively pass it along to the generations that will follow ours."
--Allen G. Johnson, "Privilege, Power, and Difference."

"We need to be clear that there is no such thing as giving up one's privilege to be 'outside' the system. ONE IS ALWAYS IN THE SYSTEM. The only question is whether one is part of the system in a way which challenges or strengthens the status quo. Privilege is not something I take and which I therefore have the option of not taking. It is something that society gives me and unless I change the institutions which give it to me, they will continue to give it, and I will continue to have it, however noble and egalitarian my intentions."
--Harry Brod, quoted in "Privilege, Power, & Difference."

"Americans of good-will, the nice decent church people, the well-meaning liberals, the good hearted souls who themselves wouldn't lynch anyone, must begin to realize that they have to be more than passively good-hearted, more than church goingly Christian, and much more than word-of-mouth in the liberalism."
--Langston Hughes, 1943

"It does no service to the cause of racial equality for white people to content themselves with judging themselves to be nonracist. Few people outside the clan or skinhead movements own up to all-out racism these days. White people must take the extra step. They must become anti-racist."
--Clarence Page, 1996

"If the moderates of the white South fail to act now, history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."
--Martin Luther King, Jr., 1958

"Sometimes change comes not in the first round, but at the second, third or fourth. Change starts with one person questioning, challenging, speaking up and doing something to make a difference. We can each make a difference…because each of us is already part of the community where racism exists & thrives."
--Paul Kivel, 1993

"An nice lady in the back…asked what I thought about how we begin to move forward. I think it is up to each individual, which then moves to your family, which moves to your community. Each person, in their own life, let your life be a light for peace, for justice, for all that is good. Just let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."
--Oprah Winfrey, 1998

Quotes About History and Struggle



Questions or Comments? Email Oliver -at- ssc -dot- wisc -dot- edu. Last updated December 25, 2004 © University of Wisconsin.