1934 - 1992
must recognize and nurture the creative parts of each other without
always understanding what will be created.
You have to learn to love yourself before you can love me or
accept my loving. Know we are worthy of touch before we can reach
out for each other. Not cover that sense of worthlessness with
"I don't want you" or "it doesn't matter" or "white folks feel,
Black folks DO."
The energies I gain from my work help me neutralize those implanted
forces of negativity and self-destructiveness that is White America's
way of making sure I keep whatever is powerful and creative within
me unavailable, ineffective, and non-threatening.
How often have I demanded from another Black woman what I had
not dared to give myself -- acceptance, faith, enough space to
Am I reaching out for you in the only language I know? Are you
reaching for me in your only salvaged tongue? If I try to hear
yours across our difference does that mean you can hear mine?
My Black woman's anger is a molten pond at the core of me, my
most fiercely guarded secret. Your silence will not protect you!
The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.
We cannot settle for the pretenses of connection, or for the
parodies of self-love.
We cannot continue to evade each other on the deepest levels
because we fear each other's angers, nor continue to believe that
respect means never looking directly nor with openness into another
black woman's eyes.
We are African women and we know, in our blood's telling, the
tenderness with which our foremothers held each other.
Hopefully, we can learn from the 60s that we cannot afford to
do our enemies work by destroying each other.
If our history has taught us anything, it is that action for
change directed against the external conditions of our oppressions
is not enough.
We are powerful because we have survived.
There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we
do not live single-issue lives.
We welcome all women who canmeett us, face to face, beyond objectification
and beyond guilt.
Differences between ourselves as Black women are also being misnamed
and used to separate us from one another.
Difference is that raw and powerful connection from which our
personal power is forged.
The erotic cannot be felt secondhand.
To encourage excellence is to go beyond the encouraged mediocrity
of our society.
The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of
self and the chaos of our strongest feelings.
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.
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