because the woman's place is wherever the woman is...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Audre Lorde

It is not by happenstance that world famous author and poet Audre Lorde put the word "warrior" before the word "poet" when referring to herself. Active in civil rights, anti-war, lesbian and womanist movements in the 1960's and beyond, Lorde was one of the first and most vehement of critics of early feminists for focusing primarily on the experiences of White middle-class women to the exclusion of women of color, whose lives were radically different.

Her essay "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House" is considered by many to be a classic discussion of one of the most crucial concepts related to social change. Declaring without apology that White feminists who ignore the double burden of women of color (on both racial and gender lines) are "agents of oppression" just like White men, Lorde responded to their outrage by saying, "What you hear in my voice is fury, not suffering."

When arch-conservative and well-known racist Senator Jesse Helms attacked her work, Lorde wrote like the in-your-face woman she was: "Helms' objection to my work is not about obscenity...or even about sex. It is about revolution and change...[He] represents...white patriarchal power...[and he] knows that my writing is aimed at his destruction, and the destruction of every single thing he stands for."

1 comment:

  1. I hope yr still around. I was looking for an online version of Audre Lorde's brilliant poem - Jesse Helms. Alas, I'll hv to get up and retrieve my hard copy. Serendipitously, I found the notice abt yr book project. I'd like to hear more. Teresa V.