Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.— Audre Lorde
The most useful Audre Lorde quotes to get the best of your day
If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.
I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.
Some problems we share as women, some we do not.
You [white women] fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you; we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street, and you will turn your backs on the reasons they are dying.
There is no such thing as a single-issues struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.
My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences.
It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those other identified as outside the structures, in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make the strengths. For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.
Divide and conquer must become define and empower.
Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people.
Oppression is as American as apple pie.
To face the realities of our lives is not a reason for despair-despair is a tool of your enemies. Facing the realities of our lives gives us motivation for action. For you are not powerless... You know why the hard questions must be asked. It is not altruism, it is self-preservation-survival.
Unless one lives and loves in the trenches, it is difficult to remember that the war against dehumanization is ceaseless.
The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations that we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us.
For we have built into all of us, old blueprints of expectation and response, old structures of oppression and these must be altered at the same time that we alter the living condition which are the result of those structures. For the master's tool will never dismantle the master's house.
I am a Black Feminist. I mean I recognize that my power as well as my primary oppressions come as a result of my blackness as well as my womaness, and therefore my struggles on both of these fronts are inseparable.
I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent.
Caring for myself is an act of survival.
We tend to think of the erotic as an easy, tantalizing sexual arousal.
I speak of the erotic as the deepest life force, a force which moves us toward living in a fundamental way.
Revolution is not a one time event.
I realize that if I wait until I am no longer afraid to act, write, speak, be, I'll be sending messages on a Ouija board, cryptic complaints from the other side
It is not the destiny of Black America to repeat white America's mistakes.
But we will, if we mistake the trappings of success in a sick society for the signs of a meaningful life.
The failure of academic feminists to recognize difference as a crucial strength is a failure to reach beyond the first patriarchal lesson. In our world, divide and conquer must become define and empower.
Without community, there is no liberation.
I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.
...and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.
I have a duty to speak the truth as I see it and share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigated pain. It is important to share how I know survival is survival and not just a walk throught the rain.
I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't.
...my experience with people who tried to label me was that they usually did it to either dismiss me or use me.
You are the one that you are looking for.
What woman here is so enamored of her own oppression that she cannot see her heel print upon another woman's face?
For we have been socialized to respect fear more than our own needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.
Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me.
When you reach out and touch other human beings, it doesn't matter whether you call it therapy or teaching or poetry.
I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love, and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do.
There's always someone asking you to underline one piece of yourself - whether it's Black, woman, mother, dyke, teacher, etc. - because that's the piece that they need to key in to. They want to dismiss everything else.
From my membership in all of these groups I have learned that oppression and the intolerance of difference come in all shapes and sizes and colors and sexualities; and that among those of us who share the goals of liberation and a workable future for our children, there can be no hierarchies of oppression.
The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.
Even the smallest victory is never to be taken for granted. Each victory must be applauded...
Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.
For each of us as women, there is a dark place within, where hidden and growing our true spirit rises, beautiful and tough as chestnut stanchions against our nightmare of weakness. Within these deep places, each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling
June Jordan once said something which is just wonderful.
I'm paraphrasing her-that her function as a poet was to make revolution irresistible. Well o.k. that is the function of us all, as creative artists, to make the truth, as we see it irresistible.
Every Black woman in America lives her life somewhere along a wide curve of ancient and unexpressed angers.
We are all more blind to what we have than to what we have not.
Without community, there is no liberation.
..but community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.
I am not only a casualty, I am also a warrior.
Anger, used, does not destroy. Hatred does.
I believe one of the hardest things you can do is conquer your fears, but if you have a goal, then it's your job to open up and let it be real no matter how scary it seems.
For within livin structures defined by profit, by linear power, by institutional dehumanization, our feelings were not meant to survive. Kept around as unavoidable adjuncts or pleasant pastimes, our feelings were expected to kneel to thought as women were expected to kneel to men. But women have survived. As poets.
Battling racism and battling heterosexism and battling apartheid share the same urgency inside me as battling cancer.
I am a Black Lesbian Feminist Warrior Poet Mother, stronger for all my identities, and I am indivisible.
The oppression of women knows no ethnic nor racial boundaries, true, but that does not mean it is identical within those boundaries.
Tell them about how you're never really a whole person if you remain silent, because there's always that one little piece inside you that wants to be spoken out, and if you keep ignoring it, it gets madder and madder and hotter and hotter, and if you don't speak it out one day it will just up and punch you in the mouth from the inside.