In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.
The speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don't miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And at last you'll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.
...oppression is as American as apple pie...
...my experience with people who tried to label me was that they usually did it to either dismiss me or use me.
If I cannot air this pain and alter it, I will surely die of it. That's the beginning of social protest.
If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.
Whenever a conscious Black woman raises her voice on issues central to her existence, somebody is going to call her strident, because they don't want to hear about it, nor us. I refuse to be silenced and I refuse to be trivialized, even if I do not say what I have to say perfectly.
Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.
Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people.
When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.
I am a bleak heroism of words that refuse to be buried alive with the liars.
I was going to die, if not sooner, then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.
When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.
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.
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.
Unless one lives and loves in the trenches, it is difficult to remember that the war against dehumanization is ceaseless.
It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.
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.
I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. That the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect....what I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid? ...Death on the other hand, is the final silence...my silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you.
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.
I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.
"ŽOnce we recognize what it is we are feeling, once we recognize we can feel deeply, love deeply, can feel joy, then we will demand that all parts of our lives produce that kind of joy.
The difference between poetry and rhetoricis beingready to killyourselfinstead of your children.
Our visions begin with our desires.
Anger is loaded with information and energy.
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.
What I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid?
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.
Anger, used, does not destroy. Hatred does.
Because the machine will try to grind you into dust anyway, whether or not we speak.
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.
What do we want from each other after we have told our stories
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.
How much of this truth can I bear to see and still live unblinded? How much of this pain can I use?
I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.
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 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.
When you reach out and touch other human beings, it doesn't matter whether you call it therapy or teaching or poetry.
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.