I have some notions that have people conceiving of themselves as capable of changing the world. That's why, for me, the issues of self-love, self-respect and self-regard are preconditions for human agency and especially black agency, given the fact that we have been and are such a hated and despised people.
The basic problem with my love relationships with women is that my standards are so high - and they apply equally to both of us. I seek full-blast mutual intensity, fully fledged mutual acceptance, full-blown mutual flourishing, and fully felt peace and joy with each other. This requires a level of physical attraction, personal adoration, and moral admiration that is hard to find.
My dear brother Barack Obama has a certain fear of free black men. As a young brother who grows up in a white context, brilliant African father, he's always had to fear being a white man with black skin. All he has known culturally is white. He has a certain rootlessness, a deracination.
We don't hear our president [Barack Obama] talking about the need for high-quality jobs for everybody, giving it priority, not just giving a speech in Detroit. That's fine, but speaking to Tim Geithner, speaking to Larry Summers. When are you going to make jobs, jobs, jobs a priority rather than Wall Street, Wall Street, Wall Street a priority? That's what I'm concerned about.
I know my dear brother, President [Barack] Obama, has a bust of Martin King right there in the Oval Office, but the question is are is he going to be true to who that Martin Luther King, Jr., actually is? King was concerned about what? The poor. He was concerned about working people. He was concerned about quality jobs. He was concerned about quality housing. He was concerned about precious babies in Vietnam, the way we ought to be concerned about precious babies in Afghanistan and precious babies in Tel Aviv and precious babies in Gaza.
Most importantly for me growing up, it was a spirituals, it was a gospels, it was James Cleveland, Aretha Franklin, Marion Williams; and then it was Curtis Mayfield - The Main Ingredient, The Whispers, Black Blue Magic, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross - that music helped me preserves my sanity, help me preserve whatever dignity I was able to preserve, helping to keep going. It was a source of tremendous strength in my life.
You have to have a habitual vision of greatness ... you have to believe in fact that you will refuse to settle for mediocrity. You won't confuse your financial security with your personal integrity, you won't confuse your success with your greatness or your prosperity with your magnanimity ... believe in fact that living is connected to giving.
King's response to our crisis can be put in one word: revolution. A revolution in our priorities, a reevaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power from oligarchs and plutocrats to everyday people and ordinary citizens.
When we think of globalization we are thinking in part of structures and institutions that have been developed over time and that have allowed us to become more interdependent and interrelated. But the development, the extraordinary development, of those structures and institutions has not fundamentally transformed our humanity. We are still those animals with fears and anxieties and insecurities in the face of death and dread and disappointment and disease.
There are different varieties and forms of capitalism. There are priorities within the capitalist society so that you can have countervailing forces come in and empower your working people and your poor people. There are capitalist societies that do not have poverty. America needs to understand that.
Martin Luther King Jr's agenda was not to help Negroes overcome American apartheid in the south. It was to make America democracy a better place, where everyday people, from poor people who were white and red and yellow and black and brown, would be able to live lives in decency and dignity.