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Audre Lorde

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Elena L'Annunziata

on 4 March 2015

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Transcript of Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde
Age, Race, Class, and Sex
Women Redefining Difference

What do we need to know about our identities?
Self identified Black, lesbian,feminist, mother, warrior and poet, Audre Lorde speaks to the complexities of our multiple identities.
There is nothing automatic, nor essentially inherent about these markers
They are fluid, rather than primordial, socially constructed and subject to deconstruction and reconstruction
Race, gender, sexuality, class, age...
These are common markers of our identities
While we may experience these markers as innate parts of our being
While we may experience our identities as fixed, innate parts of our being
We must keep in mind that identities are not just personal matters
We do not simply get to choose the markers of our identities
Gender: Masculinity/femininity
Sexuality: Heterosexual/Homosexual
Race: White/"Other"

These are the reductive binaries ascribed to our bodies whether we chose them or not
draws on her experiences, to argue that these categories, age, race, class and sexuality, to name a few, are all simultaneous and interlocking aspects of one's identity.
Audre Lorde

Matrix of Domination in
Theorizing Difference from Multiracial Feminism
The matrix of domination accounts for the multiple ways we experience ourselves as gendered, raced, classed and sexualized
Depending on our social location within systems of power that rely on these differentiating categories
We experience simultaneous advantages and disadvantages, oppression and opportunity
domination and subordination
Nomy Lamm in
It's a Big Fat Revolution
Lamm self identifies as a "Fatkikecripplecuntqueer"
As a white, middle-class college kid, she recognizes her privileged social location based on her race and class
As a queer in a heterosexist world, as physically disabled in an abelist world, and as "fat" in a sizist world she is also disadvantaged
Group Activity

In pairs discuss
ways in which you identify
ways in which people identify you
what privileges and/or disadvantages do you experience based on your varied identifying markers?
Audre Lorde
From Sister Outsider
As a "sister outsider,"
Lorde is troubling the notion of sisterhood based on a single aspect of our being.
Sisterhood based on gender alone is not sufficient to unite us as women
Our identities as complex and multifaceted call for a unity across difference, not a unity based on sameness.
In a capitalist profit driven world, we cannot have profit with out having surplus populations, who like the women in the maquiladoras are rendered (race, class, gender) less valuable and somehow inherently disposable
It is "not those differences between us that are separating us" but the distortions that result from the meanings attributed to those differences
We need, she claims to
extract the "distortions from our living"
"recognize, reclaim and redefine" the differences in more human, holistic, and meaningful ways
Lorde importantly points out that "misnaming and ignoring our differences is something we all can inadvertently do (242)
When people who occupy positions of privilege ignore difference and define the "norm" based on their own experiences, then people of color become the "other"
For marginalized and subjugated communities the "need for unity is often misnamed as a need for homogeneity" (242).
To call out the men in her community for the violence they illicit against women is labeled divisive and treacherous
Experiences she wanted included in the history and struggles of what it means to be Black in America got labeled irrelevant and tangential
(Lorde often found her lesbian identity sidelined by her community)
"As a Black lesbian feminist comfortable with the many different ingredients of my identity" (242).
Lorde argued that we should not fragment ourselves, compartmentalize ourselves, nor seek homogeneity amongst each other.
These are divide and conquer strategies that work against our struggles to find
unity across difference
"For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house" (243).
"As a Black lesbian feminist comfortable with the many different ingredients of my identity, and a woman committed to racial and sexual freedom from oppression, 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. But this is a destructive and fragmenting way to live" (242).
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