Audre Lorde, American Poet ( February 18, 1934 1992 - )

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It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.~Audre Lorde

Celebrate Differences

I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We've been taught that silence would save us, but it won't.~Audre Lorde

Women Respect Fear

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.~Audre Lorde

Words Silent Speak

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.~Audre Lorde

Strength Service I Am

If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.~Audre Lorde

Strength Myself People

We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit because what was native has been stolen from us, the love of Black women for each other.~Audre Lorde

Love Women Black

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.~Audre Lorde

Risk Believe Me

When I use my strength in the service of my vision it makes no difference whether or not I am afraid.~Audre Lorde

Strength Service I Am

You know how fighting fish do it? They blow bubbles and in each one of those bubbles is an egg and they float the egg up to the surface. They keep this whole heavy nest of eggs floating, and they're constantly repairing it. It's as if they live in both elements.~Audre Lorde

Fish Live You

The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house.~Audre Lorde

Tools Master House

Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.~Audre Lorde

Change Future Architecture

But the question is a matter of the survival and the teaching. That's what our work comes down to. No matter where we key into it, it's the same work, just different pieces of ourselves doing it.~Audre Lorde

Work Survival Doing

Our visions begin with our desires.~Audre Lorde

Begin Desires Visions

Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now.~Audre Lorde

Life Short Done

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.~Audre Lorde

Work Growth Living

In other words, I would be giving in to a myth of sameness which I think can destroy us.~Audre Lorde

Words Giving Think

There's always someone asking you to underline one piece of yourself - whether it's Black, woman, mother, dyke, teacher, etc. - because that's the piece that they need to key in to. They want to dismiss everything else.~Audre Lorde

Mother Teacher Woman

Black women are programmed to define ourselves within this male attention and to compete with each other for it rather than to recognize and move upon our common interests.~Audre Lorde

Women Black Attention

The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.~Audre Lorde

Learning Process You

Your silence will not protect you.~Audre Lorde

Silence You Protect

Each time you love, love as deeply as if it were forever.~Audre Lorde

Love Time You

Attend me, hold me in your muscular flowering arms, protect me from throwing any part of myself away.~Audre Lorde

Myself Me Hold

There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.~Audre Lorde

Brainy Ideas New

Black writers, of whatever quality, who step outside the pale of what black writers are supposed to write about, or who black writers are supposed to be, are condemned to silences in black literary circles that are as total and as destructive as any imposed by racism.~Audre Lorde

Racism Quality Step

I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.~Audre Lorde

Inspirational I Am Nothing

I remember how being young and black and gay and lonely felt. A lot of it was fine, feeling I had the truth and the light and the key, but a lot of it was purely hell.~Audre Lorde

Light Truth Lonely