Sister Outsider Quotes

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Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde
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Sister Outsider Quotes (showing 1-30 of 75)
“Your silence will not protect you.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“Revolution is not a one time event.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“I find I am constantly being encouraged to pluck out some one aspect of myself and present this as the meaningful whole, eclipsing or denying the other parts of self.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose
the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution,
but more usually
we must do battle where we are standing.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“I know the anger lies inside of me like I know the beat of my heart and the taste of my spit. It is easier to be furious than to be yearning. Easier to crucify myself in you than to take on the threatening universe of whiteness by admitting that we are worth wanting each other.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“Because the machine will try to grind you into dust anyway, whether or not we speak.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people. As members of such an economy, we have all been programmed to respond to the human difference between us with fear and loathing and to handle that difference in one of three ways: ignore it, and if that is not possible, copy it if we think it is dominant, or destroy it if we think it is subordinate. But we have no patterns for relating across our human differences as equals. As a result, those differences have been misnamed and misused in the service of separation and confusion.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“How much of this truth can I bear to see and still live
unblinded?
How much of this pain
can I use?”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“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.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“When we define ourselves, when I define myself, the place in which I am like you and the place in which I am not like you, I'm not excluding you from the joining - I'm broadening the joining.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“I cannot shut you out the way I shut the others out, so maybe I can destroy you. Must destroy you?”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“Sometimes we drug ourselves with dreams of new ideasl The head will save us. The brain alone will set us free. But there are no new ideas waiting in the wings to save us as women, as human. There are only old and forgotten ones, new combinations, extrapolations and recognitions from within ourselves--along with the renewed courage to try them out.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“Men who are afraid to feel must keep women around to do their feeling for them while dismissing us for the same supposedly "inferior" capacity to feel deeply. But in this way also, men deny themselves their own essential humanity, becoming trapped in dependency and fear.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“If what we need to dream, to move our spirits most deeply and directly toward and through promise, is discounted as a luxury, then we give up the core -- the fountain -- of our power, our womanness; we give up the future of our worlds. (From "Poetry is Not a Luxury")”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
tags: poetry
“Whenever the need for some pretense of communication arises, those who profit from our oppression call upon us to share our knowledge with them. In other words, it is the responsibility of the oppressed to teach the oppressors their mistakes. I am responsible for educating teachers who dismiss my children’s culture in school. Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“You do not have to be me in order for us to fight alongside each other. I do not have to be you to recognize that our wars are the same. What we must do is commit ourselves to some future that can include each other and to work toward that future with the particular strengths of our individual identities. And in order for us to do this, we must allow each other our differences at the same time as we recognize our sameness.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“Somewhere, on the edge of consciousness, there is what I call a mythical norm, which each one of us within our hearts knows “that is not me.” In america, this norm is usually defined as white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, christian, and financially secure. It is with this mythical norm that the trappings of power reside within this society. Those of us who stand outside that power often identify one way in which we are different, and we assume that to be the primary cause of all oppression, forgetting other distortions around difference, some of which we ourselves may be practicing.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“How are you practicing what you preach—whatever you preach, and who is exactly listening?”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“Did you ever read my words, or did you merely finger through them for quotations which you thought might valuably support an already conceived idea concerning some old and distorted connection between us?”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“I cannot hide my anger to spare you guilt, nor hurt feelings, nor answering anger; for to do so insults and trivializes all our efforts. Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one's own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“What better way is there to police the streets of a minority community than to turn one generation against the other?”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“We do not have to romanticize our past in order to be aware of how it seeds our present. We do not have to suffer the waste of an amnesia that robs us of the lessons of the past rather than permit us to read them with pride as well as deep understanding. We know what it is to be lied to, and we know how important it is not lie to ourselves. We are powerful because we have survived, and that is what it is all about—survival and growth.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“I wish to raise a Black man who will not be destroyed by, nor settle for, those corruptions called power by the white fathers who mean his destruction as surely as they mean mine. I wish to raise a Black man who will recognize that the legitimate objects of his hostility are not women, but the particulars of a structure that programs him to fear and despise women as well as his own Black self.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“The way you get people to testify against themselves is not to have police tactics and oppressive techniques. What you do is build it in so people learn to distrust everything in themselves that has not been sanctioned, to reject what is most creative in themselves to begin with, so you don’t even need to stamp it out.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“As Black people, if there is one thing we can learn from the 60s, it is how infinitely complex any move for liberation must be. For we must move against not only those forces which dehumanize us from the outside, but also against those oppressive values which we have been forced to take into ourselves. Through examining the combination of our triumphs and errors, we can examine the dangers of an incomplete vision. Not to condemn that vision but to alter it, construct templates for possible futures, and focus our rage for change upon our enemies rather than upon each other.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
“What makes her eyes slide o of mine? What does she see that angers her so, or infuriates her, or disgusts her? Why do I want to break her face o where her eyes do not meet mine? Why does she wear my sister's face? My daughter's mouth turned down about to suck itself in? The eyes of a furious and rejected lover? Why do I dream I cradle you at night? Divide your limbs between the food bowls of my least favorite animals? Keep vigil to you night after terrible night, wondering? Oh sister, where is that dark rich land we wanted to wander through together? . . . [W]hose future image have we destroyed --your face or mine-- without either how shall I look again at both --lacking either is lacking myself.”
Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

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