2014's Most Notable Quote: 'I Can't Breathe!'

Many on Yale's annual list have to do with race
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 9, 2014 10:11 AM CST
2014's Most Notable Quote: 'I Can't Breathe!'
In this Sept. 8, 2014, file photo, the George Washington Bridge spans the Hudson River between Fort Lee, NJ, and New York, rear.   (Mel Evans)

"I can't breathe!"—the exclamation made by Eric Garner while in a police chokehold—was chosen as the most notable quote of the year in an annual list released by a Yale University librarian. It was one of several quotes chosen for the list that reflect tumult over race in America in 2014. Fred Shapiro, an associate director at Yale Law School's library, says he had already completed the list without Garner's quote but revised it as protests grew following a grand jury's decision last week to not indict a white officer in his death. "These are not necessarily quotes I agree with or quotes I think are eloquent or admirable," Shapiro says, but rather those that reflect the spirit of the times. The rest:

  1. "Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee."—Bridget Anne Kelly, aide to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Jan. 9.

  1. "Hands up! Don't shoot!"—Demonstrators protesting the death of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Mo., August.
  2. "Mr. Commissioner, we found out by one phone call. You guys have a whole legal department. Can you explain that?"—TMZ reporter Adam Glyn questioning Roger Goodell on the NFL's alleged inability to view video of the Ray Rice incident, Sept. 19.
  3. "It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people."—Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to V. Stiviano, April 27.
  4. "We came out of the White House not only dead broke, but in debt."—Hillary Clinton, June 9.
  5. "I grew up castrating hogs on an Iowa farm, so when I come to Washington, I'll know how to cut pork."—Iowa Senate candidate Joni Ernst, March 25.
The full list includes a couple of conscious uncouplers. (More Yale University stories.)

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