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A lot of people, Black and white, have the impression that those of us who got involved in the Movement, when it started in 1960, were fighting for integration. That’s the way the white press interpreted the sit-ins and freedom rides and all that. But what they didn’t understand was that none of us was concerned about sitting down next to a white man and eating a hamburger. Anybody who thinks that is reflecting white nationalism. That’s that white supremacist attitude. Nothing is good unless it can be done in the company of white people. We would’ve been some kind of fools to get beaten up, spat on and jailed the way a lot of folks did just to sit down at a lunch counter beside a white person. Integration was never our concern. In fact, integration is impractical. You cannot legislate an attitude and integration is based upon an attitude of mutual acceptance and respect between two racial or cultural groups in the society. A law can govern behavior, but attitudes cannot be forced or enforced, and what the Civil Rights Movement was concerned with was controlling the animalistic behavior of white people. I resented somebody telling me I couldn’t eat at a certain place. It wasn’t that I wanted to eat there. Hell no! I always knew we had the best food anyway. But as part of that constant battle waged by Black people against white america, if white folks didn’t want me to eat there, in the door I went. If I had a free choice, I’d sit in the back of the bus. That’s where the heater is. We weren’t fighting for integration. We were letting white folks know that they could no longer legislate where we went or what we did.
H. Rap Brown, Die Nigger Die: A Political Autobiography (via blackmanonthemoon)