These Dick Gregory quotes will inspire you to bring awareness to the problems in our society. Keep reading for a dose of inspiration.
Dick Gregory, whose full name was Richard Claxton Gregory, was an American comedian.
He was drafted during college, where his commanding officer encouraged him to enter talent and comedy shows. He won those shows, eventually dropped out of college, and moved to Chicago hoping to make it big.
Dick Gregory held nothing back during his acts, as he pointed out racism and bigotry in the US. That he was a black man doing this in the 60s is one reason he is so well known.
He did credit a lot of his career success to Hugh Hefner, who spotted him at a club and then hired him to play at The Playboy Club.
Gregory was more than just an entertainer though; he was an activist who was arrested several times for protesting racism and Vietnam.
He took part in hunger strikes for the causes he believed in. He also wrote several best-selling books and held speaking engagements.
Don’t forget to also check out these tear-jerking 09/11 quotes that bring out the patriot in everyone.
Dick Gregory quotes about race
1. “You know, I always say white is not a color, white is an attitude, and if you haven’t got trillions of dollars in the bank that you don’t need, you can’t be white.” ― Dick Gregory
2. “I never believed in Santa Claus because I knew no white dude would come into my neighborhood after dark.” ― Dick Gregory
3. “We used to root for the Indians against the cavalry because we didn’t think it was fair in the history books that when the cavalry won it was a great victory, and when the Indians won it was a massacre.” ― Dick Gregory
4. “You know why Madison Avenue advertising has never done well in Harlem? We’re the only ones who know what it means to be Brand X.” ― Dick Gregory
5. “I waited at the counter of a white restaurant for eleven years. When they finally integrated, they didn’t have what I wanted.” ― Dick Gregory
6. “I am really enjoying the new Martin Luther King Jr stamp – just think about all those white bigots, licking the backside of a black man.” ― Dick Gregory
7. “If it wasn’t for Abe Lincoln, I’d still be on the open market.” ― Dick Gregory
8. “When I was a boy, I was taught never to use insulting expressions like, ‘I’ve been gypped,’ or, ‘He welshed on the deal.'” ― Dick Gregory
9. “When I go through the airport and see white women walking through the airport barefooted, like athlete’s feet don’t exist, there’s something wrong.” ― Dick Gregory
10. “I used to get letters saying, ‘I didn’t know black children and white children were the same.'” ― Dick Gregory
11. “I never thought I’d see the day that I would see white folks as frightened, or more so than black folks was during the civil rights movement when we were in Mississippi.” ― Dick Gregory
12. “Being white is a job in America. You take that away, you better get the soldiers out.” ― Dick Gregory
13. “Just being a Negro doesn’t qualify you to understand the race situation any more than being sick makes you an expert on medicine.” ― Dick Gregory
14. “Last time I was down South I walked into this restaurant, and this white waitress came up to me and said: ‘We don’t serve colored people here.’ “I said: ‘that’s all right, I don’t eat colored people. Bring me a whole fried chicken.” ― Dick Gregory
Dick Gregory quotes about government and politics
15. “Political promises are much like marriage vows. They are made at the beginning of the relationship between candidate and voter, but are quickly forgotten.” ― Dick Gregory
16. “When I lost my rifle, the Army charged me 85 dollars. That is why in the Navy the Captain goes down with the ship.” ― Dick Gregory
17. “In most places in the country, voting is looked upon as a right and a duty, but in Chicago, it’s a sport.” ― Dick Gregory
18. “If they took all the drugs, nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine off the market for six days, they’d have to bring out the tanks to control you.” ― Dick Gregory
19. “In America, with all of its evils and faults, you can still reach through the forest and see the sun. But we don’t know yet whether that sun is rising or setting for our country.” ― Dick Gregory
20. “Hell hath no fury like a liberal scorned.” ― Dick Gregory
21. “Now here’s what I’m saying: I’ve always believed that every other month we hear about compromisation of bank records, I think that’s the CIA and the FBI. Now let me tell you why I’m saying this. I don’t believe no insignificant pip-squeak is going to be able to pull this off month after month and we can’t find out what’s going on.” ― Dick Gregory
22. “I wouldn’t mind paying taxes – if I knew they were going to a friendly country.” ― Dick Gregory
23. “And we love to dance, especially that new one called the Civil War Twist. The Northern part of you stands still while the Southern part tries to secede.” ― Dick Gregory
24. “There is a limit on how much information you can keep bottled up.” ― Dick Gregory
25. “I tell people, ‘If you want to send a message to the White House, call my house.'” ― Dick Gregory
26. “America will tolerate the taking of a human life without giving it a second thought. But don’t misuse a household pet.” ― Dick Gregory
Make sure to check out our collection of pet quotes that celebrate our animal loved ones.
Dick Gregory quotes about love, family, and life
27. “Love is very dangerous if you just have love and don’t have the ability to be lovable.” ― Dick Gregory
28. “When you have a good mother and no father, God kind of sits in. It’s not enough, but it helps.” ― Dick Gregory
29. “My mother was the sweetest lady who ever lived on this planet, but if you tried to tell her that Jesus wasn’t a Christian, she would stomp you to death.” ― Dick Gregory
30. “I never learned hate at home, or shame. I had to go to school for that.” ― Dick Gregory
31. “Riches do not delight us so much with their possession, as torment us with their loss.” ― Dick Gregory
32. “There’s a God force inside of you that gives you a will to live.” ― Dick Gregory
33. “My belief is, you know, certain things have to be explained that’s never been explained.” ― Dick Gregory
34. “Poor is a state of mind you never grow out of, but being broke is just a temporary condition.” ― Dick Gregory
35. “If all you can do is judge a person by their appearance because you don’t have the spirit to judge someone from within, you’re in trouble.” ― Dick Gregory
36. “One of the things I keep learning is that the secret of being happy is doing things for other people.” ― Dick Gregory
Dick Gregory quotes on health and well-being
37. “People with high blood pressure, diabetes – those are conditions brought about by lifestyle. If you change the lifestyle, those conditions will leave.” ― Dick Gregory
38. “I went to Ethiopia, and it dawned on me that you can tell a starving, malnourished person because they’ve got a bloated belly and a bald head. And I realized that if you come through any American airport and see businessmen running through with bloated bellies and bald heads, that’s malnutrition, too.” ― Dick Gregory
39. “If you take 12 drinks of water from the coconut – not the ones you buy in the store, although that’s good – the fresh coconuts, the little brown ones with the three eyes. If you take 12 of those within 24 hours, your blood will go back to the way it was when you were born.” ― Dick Gregory
40. “Coconut milk is the only thing on this planet that comes identically to mother’s milk.”― Dick Gregory
41. “It’s cool to be healthy.” ― Dick Gregory
Dick Gregory quotes about humor, entertainment, and activism
42. “We thought I was going to be a great athlete, and we were wrong, and I thought I was going to be a great entertainer, and that wasn’t it either. I’m going to be an American Citizen. First-class.” ― Dick Gregory
43. “You hear entertainers all the time, saying, ‘If I couldn’t get paid for this, I’d do it for free.’ When’s the last time you ever heard a business person say, ‘If I couldn’t get paid for being chairman of British Petroleum, I’d do it for free?'” ― Dick Gregory
44. “Once I realized the value of making people laugh, I got very good at it. Fast.”― Dick Gregory
45. “I’m not a comic. I’m a humorist.” ― Dick Gregory
46. “It was an unwritten law that black comics were not permitted to work white nightclubs. You could sing and you could dance, but you couldn’t stand flat-footed and talk; that was a no-no.” ― Dick Gregory
47. “To me, seeing a really great comedian is a bit like watching a musician or a poet.” ― Dick Gregory
48. “Because I’m a civil rights activist, I am also an animal rights activist. Animals and humans suffer and die alike. Violence causes the same pain, the same spilling of blood, the same stench of death, the same arrogant, cruel, and vicious taking of life. We shouldn’t be a part of it.” ― Dick Gregory
49. “Everything we do we should look at in terms of millions of people who can’t afford it.” ― Dick Gregory
50. “When I first broke through, there was only NBC, CBS and ABC, and they had news in the morning and in the evening – there wasn’t no 24-hour news.” ― Dick Gregory
More Dick Gregory quotes
51. “No kid in the world, no woman in the world should ever raise a hand against a no-good daddy. That’s already been taken care of: A Man Who Destroys His Own Home Shall Inherit the Wind.” – Dick Gregory
52. “The only good thing about the good old days is they’re gone.” – Dick Gregory
53. “I personally believe breathatarianism to be the highest mode of human living breathing in pure air, absorbing the direct light and energies of the sun, bathing in pure water I look at the obituaries every morning and ain’t nobody listed but you eaters.” – Dick Gregory
54. “Makes you wonder. When I left St. Louis, I was making five dollars a night. Now I’m getting $5,000 a week — for saying the same things out loud I used to say under my breath.” – Dick Gregory
55. “Every door of racial prejudice I can kick down, is one less door that my children have to kick down.” – Dick Gregory
56. “When you shoot right and truth and justice down, the more right and truth and justice will rise up.” – Dick Gregory
57. “Even though he understood the depths of racism and black oppression, Ali lived his life as a free man—a free loving and lovable man.” – Dick Gregory
58. “Home was a place to be only when all other places were closed.” – Dick Gregory
59. “Did you know that in New Orleans they still have brown bag parties? What’s that, you ask? You and I go to a party, and when we get to the door, there’s a brown bag hanging down from the ceiling, and if our skin is darker than the brown bag, we can’t go in.” – Dick Gregory
60. “They told me there was very little racial prejudice in Hawaii. Like a woman is just a little bit pregnant.” – Dick Gregory
What did you learn from these Dick Gregory quotes?
Like many other prominent figures in the Civil Rights Movement, Dick Gregory went to Selma, Alabama for the Freedom Day rally. In 1964, he aided in finding James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner: three missing civil rights workers.
Hugh Hefner gave Gregory 25,000 to offer a reward, and this prompted the FBI to do the same. The men’s bodies were discovered over 40 days after they went missing. It would take another 41 years after their murders to bring their killer to justice.
Gregory didn’t just protest against race though. He was very vocal about Vietnam, drugs, and the economy. His book, Nigger: An Autobiography by Dick Gregory, is so popular that it is still in print today.
This brave man sought to bring awareness to serious problems in our country through the use of humor and his talent for making people laugh. He did incredibly important work for the movement.
Do you have any other Dick Gregory quotes and sayings I might have missed? Please leave them in the comments below!
March 2, 2021 6:00 AM EST