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Words of Wisdom

June Jordan: Fear of Telling the Truth is the Most Painful Sensation

"As a child I was taught that to tell the truth was often painful. As an adult I have learned that not to tell the truth is more painful, and that the fear of telling the truth — whatever the truth may be — that fear is the most painful sensation of a moral life."

June Jordan (1936 – 2002) was a prolific Caribbean-American writer and bisexual political activist who tackled issues of race, gender, and sexuality in her work. Jordan published 27 books during her lifetime and was a beloved professor at universities spanning the United States. When she died of breast cancer in 2002, Jordan’s UC Berkeley obituary deemed her “the poet of the people.”


“As a child I was taught that to tell the truth was often painful. As an adult I have learned that not to tell the truth is more painful, and that the fear of telling the truth — whatever the truth may be — that fear is the most painful sensation of a moral life.”

Source: from the On Call (1985), Ch. 10  (h/t WikiQuote)


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