As a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde’s intellectual strength and biting critques of mainstream feminism forever changed society.
Over countless books of poetry and essays, her influence on critical theories of race and gender can’t be understated.
When, in the 1970s, she eloquently argued for more understanding of “difference” within feminism, it was extremely controversial - and still is.
“Without community there is certainly no liberation, no future,” she argued, and women of all experiences have to band together to fight for their shared liberation. But we can’t ignore those different experiences.
“As women, we have been taught… to ignore our differences,” she explained in her (in)famous essay, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House.”
Any Black woman who has ever attempted to discuss the specific experience of being Black AND a woman, and received criticism from both Black men and white women for being “divisive,” knows that her words are still relevant today.
She argued that embracing and understanding our differences - across lines of race, gender, disability, and sexuality - is essential for true liberation of all people. In this respect, we still have a lot of work to do.
Though it’s been decades since her death, her words continue to resonate. Pick up one of her books today and get inspired!