23 Powerful Jane Fonda Quotes About Activism, Privilege, Racism And Equality

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Jane Fonda is a notable actress in Hollywood and has been showing off her talent with the world since her start on Broadway in 1960, but she is not only known for her award-winning roles — as you'll see from the Jane Fonda quotes listed below — she has also been a prominent activist in the fight against racism in the United States and across the globe.

Born to Henry Fonda, who was also a notable actor, and Frances Ford Seymour Brokaw, a Canadian socialite, Fonda began studying acting in 1958 as well as pursuing a modeling career.

Her first appearance was in a Broadway play titled, "There Was A Little Girl" and after this, she took on back to back roles in Tall Story (1960), Cat Ballou (1965), and Barefoot in the Park (1967).

According to a 2020 article written by Kim Kelly, Jane Fonda has been an activist for over 50 years. "Fonda's five decades of activism stretch back to Paris, in 1968, a year of global civil unrest, widespread anti-capitalist protests, and a massive general strike that brought France to a standstill," and after reading a copy of Jonathan Schnell’s The Village of Ben Suc, Fonda "became deeply involved in the anti-war movement."

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Not only has she raised awareness of the systemic issues that have been prevailing for decades, but Fonda was and still is a strong supporter and advocate for the Black Panther Party — a revolutionary political organization founded by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seal, whose primary goal was to patrol predominately black neighborhoods and ensure that their people were safe from police brutality.

The Black Panther Party was not only based in California, but became an international organization with chapters in many American states and even countries around the world such as Japan, China, France, Zimbabwe, and many more.

Jane Fonda has not only supported the Black Panther movement for decades, but she also rallied with protestors and marched in numerous protests fighting for equality among every community.

In a recent interview with CNN's Don Lemmon this past week, Fonda used her large platform to spread awareness about the war against racism toward black communities and how being a white woman in America comes with inherent privileges.

Jane Fonda is an icon in our modern society who continuously uses her platform to fight for what's right.

Here are the best Jane Fonda quotes about racism, activism, police brutality and privilege.

1. “More and more white people are getting it. When Donald Trump was elected and the band-aid was torn off and people could see very blatantly the racism in the country, that’s always been there… but it was revealed in a new and more robust way to us and then encouraged by this administration, I think a lot of white people got it."

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2. “I didn't understand enough about the history of racism, about slavery and reconstruction, and Jim Crow, the New Jim Crow - so for the last three years I’ve been intentionally studying to help me understand.”

3. “Because we’re white, we have had privilege. Even the poorest of us have had privilege. We need to recognize that, and we have to understand what it is that keeps racism in place: the policies, redlining, banking policies, mortgage policies.”

4. "Stay curious, keep learning, and keep growing. And always strive to be more interested than interesting."

5. "The policies have to be changed, and then white people have to understand the history that has led to this and we have to try to change within ourselves."

6. “I don’t know who the people are that are doing the violence, but I think what matters is, is that more and more people, white people, are getting it."

7. "I realized I didn’t understand enough about the history of racism, about slavery and reconstruction, Jim Crow and the New Jim Crow, so for the last three years I’ve very intentionally begun studying.”

8."If you understood what communism was, you would hope, you would pray on your knees that we would someday become communist. . . . I, a socialist, think that we should strive toward a socialist society, all the way to communism."

9. "Even the poorest of us have had privilege. And we need to recognize that, and we have to understand what it is that keeps racism in place — the policies, redlining, banking policies, mortgage policies. All of the things that are really making it very, very difficult for black people to lift themselves up."

10. "You don’t learn from successes; you don’t learn from awards; you don’t learn from celebrity; you only learn from wounds and scars and mistakes and failures. And that’s the truth."

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11. "What I learned is, we have to listen to each other, even when we don't agree, even when we think we hate each other. We have to listen to each other's narratives. Not interrupt defensively, or with hostility, but really try to open our hearts and listen with empathy. I learned so much from that meeting. It was a very difficult thing to do and it was one of the best things that I ever did in my life. Look what scares you in the face, and try to understand it. Empathy, I have learned, is revolutionary."

12. "To be a revolutionary you have to be a human being. You have to care about people who have no power."

13. "Look what scares you in the face and try to understand it. Empathy is revolutionary."

14. "Revolution is an act of love; we are the children of revolution, born to be rebels. It runs in our blood."

15. "I think what's happening in the world - there's nothing more dangerous than a wounded beast, and the patriarchy is wounded."

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16. "We cannot always control our thoughts, but we can control our words, and repetition impresses the subconscious, and we are then master of the situation."

17. "A good many dramatic situations begin with screaming."

18. "But the whole point of liberation is that you get out. Restructure your life. Act by yourself."

19. "I don't think there's anything more important than making peace before it's too late. And it almost always falls to the child to try to move toward the parent."

20. "I spent a good deal of time going back over my childhood, my midlife, to try to understand who I was. We're supposed to be complete and whole, and you can't be whole if you're trying to be perfect. Doing a life review helped me get over the disease to please."

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21. "This is different, and I think it's important for us to recognize that."

22. "They're white, they're Latinx, they're old, they're young, they're in wheelchairs, they have children with them, they have dogs with them, and it's organized. Black lives matter, color of change - they don't want violence."

23. "We're at a very important moment - we have an election coming, we have a pandemic crisis, we have a race crisis - and we have a choice to make. We can keep seeing all these things happen, or we can do something about it."

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Destiny Duprey is a writer who covers self-care, love and relationships, and music.