For blacks, describing needs has been a dismal failure as political activity. It has succeeded only as a literary achievement. The history of our need is certainly moving enough to have been called poetry, oratory, epic entertainment - but it has never been treated by white institutions as the statement of a political priority. (I don’t mean to undervalue the liberating power for blacks of such poetry, oratory, and epic; my concern is the degree to which it has been compartmentalized by the larger culture as something other than political expression.) […] Even white descriptions of ‘the blues’ tend to remove the daily hunger and hurt from need and abstract it into a mood. And whoever could legislate against depression? Particularly something as rich, soulful, and sonorously productive as black depression.
— Patricia J. Williams in The Alchemy of Race and Rights: diary of a law professor, 1991