50 Born A Crime Quotes With Page Numbers

These Born A Crime quotes with page numbers help you reference your favorite quotes. 

Born A Crime, by Trevor Noah, is about a black mother raising a mixed-race child in South Africa during apartheid. Noah gives a first-person perspective of both his and his mother’s experience with racism, abuse, love, survival, and heritage in an environment of discrimination and oppression.

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Born A Crime Quotes With Page Numbers

“If you’re Native American and you pray to the wolves, you’re a savage. If you’re African and you pray to your ancestors, you’re a primitive. But when white people pray to a guy who turns water into wine, well, that’s just common sense.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 6

 

“In any society built on institutionalized racism, race mixing doesn’t merely challenge the system as unjust, it reveals the system as unsustainable and incoherent. Race mixing proves that races can mix, and in a lot of cases want to mix. Because a mixed person embodies that rebuke to the logic of the system, race mixing becomes a crime worse than treason.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 21

 

“In America you had the forced removal of the native onto reservations coupled with slavery followed by segregation. Imagine all three of those things happening to the same group of people at the same time. That was apartheid.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Page 22

 

“I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t know any kids besides my cousins. I wasn’t a lonely kid—I was good at being alone. I’d read books, play with the toy that I had, make up imaginary worlds. I lived inside my head. I still live inside my head. To this day you can leave me alone for hours and I’m perfectly happy entertaining myself. I have to remember to be with people.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 30

 

“Women held the community together. “Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo!” was the chant they would rally to during the freedom struggle. “When you strike a woman, you strike a rock.” As a nation, we recognized the power of women, but in the home they were expected to submit and obey. In”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Page 39

 

“My grandmother always told me that she loved my prayers. She believed my prayers were more powerful, because I prayed in English. Everyone knows that Jesus, who’s white, speaks English. The Bible is in English. Yes, the Bible was not written in English, but the Bible came to South Africa in English so to us it’s English. Which made my prayers the best prayers because English prayers get answered first. How do we know this? Look at white people. Clearly they’re getting through to the right person. Add to that Matthew 19:14. “Suffer little children to come unto me,” Jesus said, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” So if a child is praying in English? To White Jesus? That’s a powerful combination right there.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 40

 

“When you shit, as you first sit down, you’re not fully in the experience yet. You are not yet a shitting person. You’re transitioning from a person about to shit to a person who is shitting. You don’t whip out your smartphone or a newspaper right away. It takes a minute to get the first shit out of the way and get in the zone and get comfortable. Once you reach that moment, that’s when it gets really nice. It’s a powerful experience, shitting. There’s something magical about it, profound even. I think God made humans shit in the way we do because it brings us back down to earth and gives us humility. I don’t care who you are, we all shit the same. Beyoncé shits. The pope shits. The Queen of England shits. When we shit we forget our airs and our graces, we forget how famous or how rich we are. All of that goes away.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Page 43

 

“Language brings with it an identity and a culture, or at least the perception of it. A shared language says “We’re the same.” A language barrier says “We’re different.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 49

 

“I could champion racial justice in our home, or I could enjoy granny’s cookies. I went with the cookies. —”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Page 53

 

“Nearly one million people lived in Soweto. Ninety-nine point nine percent of them were black—and then there was me. I was famous in my neighborhood just because of the color of my skin. I was so unique people would give directions using me as a landmark. “The house on Makhalima Street. At the corner you’ll see a light-skinned boy. Take a right there.” Whenever”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Page 53

 

“Language, even more than color, defines who you are to people.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 56

 

“I became a chameleon. My color didn’t change, but I could change your perception of my color. If you spoke Zulu, I replied to you in Zulu. If you spoke to me in Tswana, I replied to you in Tswana. Maybe I didn’t look like you, but if I spoke like you, I was you.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 56

 

“But the real world doesn’t go away. Racism exists. People are getting hurt. And just because it’s not happening to you, doesn’t mean it’s not happening. And at some point you have to choose; black or white, pick a side. You can try to hide from it. You can say, oh I don’t take sides, but at some point, life will force you to pick a side.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Pages 56, 57

 

“—a knowledgeable man is a free man, or at least a man who longs for freedom.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 61

 

“Learn from your past and be better because of your past,” she would say, “but don’t cry about your past. Life is full of pain. Let the pain sharpen you, but don’t hold on to it. Don’t be bitter.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 66

 

“So many black families spend all of their time trying to fix the problems of the past. That is the curse of being black and poor, and it is a curse that follows you from generation to generation. My mother calls it “the black tax.” Because the generations who came before you have been pillaged, rather than being free to use your skills and education to move forward, you lose everything just trying to bring everyone behind you back up to zero.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Page 66

 

“When it was time to pick my name, she chose Trevor, a name with no meaning whatsoever in South Africa, no precedent in my family It’s not even a Biblical name. “It’s just a name,” he explains. “My mother wanted her child beholden to no fate. She wanted me to be free to go anywhere, do anything, be anyone.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 67

 

“My mom did what school didn’t. She taught me how to think.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 68

 

“We tell people to follow their dreams, but you can only dream of what you can imagine, and, depending on where you come from, your imagination can be quite limited.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 73

 

“People thought my mom was crazy. Ice rinks and drive-ins and suburbs, these things were izinto zabelungu — the things of white people. So many people had internalized the logic of apartheid and made it their own. Why teach a black child white things? Neighbors and relatives used to pester my mom: ‘Why do this? Why show him the world when he’s never going to leave the ghetto?’

‘Because,’ she would say, ‘even if he never leaves the ghetto, he will know that the ghetto is not the world. If that is all I accomplish, I’ve done enough.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 74

 

“I was blessed with another trait I inherited from my mother, her ability to forget the pain in life. I remember the thing that caused the trauma, but I don’t hold onto the trauma. I never let the memory of something painful prevent me from trying something new. If you think too much about the ass kicking your mom gave you or the ass kicking that life gave you, you’ll stop pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules. It’s better to take it, spend some time crying, then wake up the next day and move on. You’ll have a few bruises and they’ll remind you of what happened and that’s ok. But after a while, the bruises fade and they fade for a reason. Because now, it’s time to get up to some shit again.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Pages 90, 91

 

“A dog is a great thing for a kid to have. It’s like a bicycle but with emotions.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 97

 

“The dogs left with us and we walked. I sobbed the whole way home, still heartbroken. My mom had no time for my whining.
“Why are you crying?!”
“Because Fufi loves another boy.”
“So? Why would that hurt you? It didn’t cost you anything. Fufi’s here. She still loves you. She’s still your dog. So get over it.”
Fufi was my first heartbreak. No one has ever betrayed me more than Fufi. It was a valuable lesson to me. The hard thing was understanding that Fufi wasn’t cheating on me with another boy. She was merely living her life to the fullest. Until I knew that she was going out on her own during the day, her other relationship hadn’t affected me at all. Fufi had no malicious intent.
I believed that Fufi was my dog, but of course that wasn’t true. Fufi was a dog. I was a boy. We got along well. She happened to live in my house. That experience shaped what I’ve felt about relationships for the rest of my life: You do not own the thing that you love. I was lucky to learn that lesson at such a young age. I have so many friends who still, as adults, wrestle with feelings of betrayal. They’ll come to me angry and crying and talking about how they’ve been cheated on and lied to, and I feel for them. I understand what they’re going through. I sit with them and buy them a drink and I say, “Friend, let me tell you the story of Fufi.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 100

 

“He chose to have me in his life… Being chosen is the greatest gift you can give to another human being”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 110

 

“Being chosen is the greatest gift you can give to another human being.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 110

 

“Relationships are built in the silences. You spend time with people, you observe them and interact with them, and you come to know them—and that is what apartheid stole from us: time.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 110

 

“Trevor, remember a man is not determined by how much he earns. You can still be a man of the house and earn less than your woman. Being a man is not what you have, it’s who you are. Being more of a man doesn’t mean your woman has to be less than you.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 127

 

“The names of the kids with detention were announced at every assembly, and I was always one of them. Always. Every single day. It was a running joke. The prefect would say, ‘Detentions for today…’ and I would stand up automatically. It was like the Oscars and I was Meryl Streep.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 139

 

“I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in life, any choice that I’ve made. But I’m consumed with regret for the things I didn’t do, the choices I didn’t make, the things I didn’t say. We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to. “What if…” “If only…” “I wonder what would have…” You will never, never know, and it will haunt you for the rest of your days.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 143

 

“We spend so much time being afraid of failure, afraid of rejection. But regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 143

 

“The first thing I learned about having money was that it gives you choices. People don’t want to be rich. They want to be able to choose. The richer you are, the more choices you have. That is the freedom of money.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 188

 

“People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 190

 

“People love to say, “Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.” What they don’t say is, “And it would be nice if you gave him a fishing rod.” That’s the part of the analogy that’s missing. Working with Andrew was the first time in my life I realized you need someone from the privileged world to come to you and say, “Okay, here’s what you need, and here’s how it works.” Talent alone would have gotten me nowhere without Andrew giving me the CD writer. People say, “Oh, that’s a handout.” No. I still have to work to profit by it.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 190

 

“People always lecture the poor: “Take responsibility for yourself! Make something of yourself!” But with what raw materials are the poor to make something of themselves? People”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Page 190

 

“The name Hitler does not offend a black South African because Hitler is not the worst thing a black South African can imagine. Every country thinks their history is the most important, and that’s especially true in the West. But if black South Africans could go back in time and kill one person, Cecil Rhodes would come up before Hitler. If people in the Congo could go back in time and kill one person, Belgium’s King Leopold would come way before Hitler. If Native Americans could go back in time and kill one person, it would probably be Christopher Columbus or Andrew Jackson.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Page 195

 

“I often meet people in the West who insist that the Holocaust was the worst atrocity in human history, without question. Yes, it was horrific. But I often wonder, with African atrocities like in the Congo, how horrific were they? The thing Africans don’t have that Jewish people do have is documentation. The Nazis kept meticulous records, took pictures, made films. And that’s really what it comes down to. Holocaust victims count because Hitler counted them. Six million people killed. We can all look at that number and rightly be horrified. But when you read through the history of atrocities against Africans, there are no numbers, only guesses. It’s harder to be horrified by a guess. When Portugal and Belgium were plundering Angola and the Congo, they weren’t counting the black people they slaughtered. How many black people died harvesting rubber in the Congo? In the gold and diamond mines of the Transvaal?”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Pages 195, 96

 

“We live in a world where we don’t see the ramifications of what we do to others because we don’t live with them. It would be a whole lot harder for an investment banker to rip off people with subprime mortgages if he actually had to live with the people he was ripping off.
If we could see one another’s pain and empathize with one another, it would never be worth it to us to commit the crimes in the first place.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 209

 

“The hood made me realise that crime succeeds because crime does the one thing the government doesn’t do: crime cares. Crime is grassroots. Crime looks for the young kids who need support and a lifting hand. Crime offers internship programmes and part-time jobs and opportunities for advancement. Crime gets involved in the community. Crime doesn’t discriminate.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime and Other Stories, Page 209

 

“It’s easy to be judgmental about crime when you live in a world wealthy enough to be removed from it. But the hood taught me that everyone has different notions of right and wrong, different definitions of what constitutes crime, and what level of crime they’re willing to participate in. If a crackhead comes through and he’s got a crate of Corn Flakes boxes he’s stolen out of the back of a supermarket, the poor mom isn’t thinking, ‘I’m aiding and abetting a criminal by buying these Corn Flakes.’ No. She’s thinking, ‘My family needs food and this guy has Corn Flakes’, and she buys the Corn Flakes.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 212, 213

 

“Hustling is to work what surfing the Internet is to reading. If you add up how much you read in a year on the Internet—tweets, Facebook posts, lists—you’ve read the equivalent of a shit ton of books, but in fact you’ve read no books in a year.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Page 217

 

“Comfort can be dangerous. Comfort provides a floor but also a ceiling.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 219

 

“In society, we do horrible things to one another because we don’t see the person it affects. We don’t see their face. We don’t see them as people. Which was the whole reason the hood was built in the first place, to keep the victims of apartheid out of sight and out of mind. Because if white people ever saw black people as human, they would see that slavery is unconscionable. We live in a world where we don’t see the ramifications of what we do to others, because we don’t live with them. It would be a whole lot harder for an investment banker to rip off people with subprime mortgages if he actually had to live with the people he was ripping off. If we could see one another’s pain and empathize with one another, it would never be worth it to us to commit the crimes in the first place.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, Pages 221, 222

 

“Nelson Mandela once said, ‘If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.’ He was so right. When you make the effort to speak someone else’s language, even if it’s just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them, ‘I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 236

 

“The world doesn’t love you. If the police get you, the police don’t love you. When I beat you, I’m trying to save you. When they beat you, they’re trying to kill you.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 243

 

“Don’t fight the system, mock the system”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 252

 

“Abel wanted a traditional marriage with a traditional wife. For a long time I wondered why he ever married a woman like my mom in the first place, as she was the opposite of that in every way. If he wanted a woman to bow to him, there were plenty of girls back in Tzaneen being raised solely for that purpose. The way my mother always explained it, the traditional man wants a woman to be subservient, but he never falls in love with subservient women. He’s attracted to independent women. “He’s like an exotic bird collector,” she said. “He only wants a woman who is free because his dream is to put her in a cage.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 253

 

“Love is a creative act. When you love someone you create a new world for them. My mother did that for me, and with the progress I made and the things I learned, I came back and created a new world and a new understanding for her.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 262

 

“Growing up in a home of abuse, you struggle with the notion that you can love a person you hate, or hate a person you love. It’s a strange feeling. You want to live in a world where someone is good or bad, where you either love or hate them, but that’s not how people are.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 267

 

“You want to live in a world where someone is good or bad. Where you either hate them or love them. But that’s not how people are.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 267

 

“People say all the time that they’d do anything for the people they love. But would you really? Would you do anything? Would you give everything? I don’t know that a child knows that kind of selfless love. A mother, yes. A mother will clutch her children and jump from a moving car to keep them from harm. She will do it without thinking. But I don’t think the child knows how to do that, not instinctively. It’s something the child has to learn.”

~Trevor Noah, Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, Page 279

Further Reading:

The Best Book Quotes With Page Numbers

The Hate You Give Quotes With Page Numbers

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