I consider this essential reading for anyone who calls themselves a feminist. There are few who write with such clarity and wisdom as Lorde. I don’t want to try to summarise her work. Rather, let me give you some samples of it.
‘Women responding to racism means women responding to anger; the anger of exclusion, of unquestioned privilege, of racial distortions, of silence, ill-use, stereotyping, defensiveness, misnaming, betrayal and co-option… For example: I speak out of direct and particular anger at an academic conference, and a white woman says, ‘Tell me how you feel but don’t say it too harshly or I cannot hear you.’ But is it my manner that keeps her from hearing, or the threat of a message that her life may change?’
‘…where the words of women are crying to to be heard, we must each of us recognise our responsibility to seek those words out, to read them and share them and examine them in their pertinence to our lives… it is not difference which immobilises us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.’
And my favourite lines of the entire book; ‘I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, make verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect.’
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