This is a powerful piece by Audrey Lorde from 1981. Though nearly three decades ago, still powerful and poignant. If this doesn’t stir your conscious, nothing will. IJS
“In June 1981, Audre Lorde gave the keynote presentation at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference, Storrs, Connecticut. Her presentation appears below.
Racism. The belief in the inherent superiority of one race over all others and thereby the right to dominance, manifest and implied.
Women respond to racism. My response to racism is anger. I have lived with that anger, ignoring it, feeding upon it, learning to use it before it laid my visions to waste, for most of my life. Once I did it in silence, afraid of the weight. My fear of anger taught me nothing. Your fear of that anger will teach you nothing, also.
Women responding to racism means women responding to anger; Anger of exclusion, of unquestioned privilege, of racial distortions, of silence, ill-use, stereotyping, defensiveness, misnaming, betrayal, and co-optation.
My anger is a response to racist attitudes and to the actions and presumptions that arise out of those attitudes. If your dealings with other women reflect those attitudes, then my anger and your attendant fears are spotlights that can be used for growth in the same way I have used learning to express anger for my growth. But for corrective surgery, not guilt. Guilt and defensiveness are bricks in a wall against which we all flounder; they serve none of our futures.”
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Who is Audre Lorde?
A self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.
Read more about Audre here at the Poetry Foundation’s website.