Monthly Archives: August 2018

Managing your privilege

Whatever power you will have begins with accepting who you are.

Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

I was fortunate enough to see Audre Lorde speak not long before she died. There was a moment that evening that’s always stuck with me, and I think it’s relevant to what some of my friends and I are facing in our lives these days.

A young woman in the audience – maybe 20 or 21 and obviously looking to the famous activist guest of honor for validation – went off on all the injustice being perpetrated by whites against minorities. She concluded by saying she was ashamed of being white.

Lorde, if you don’t know, checked off a lot of minority boxes. Black. Woman. Lesbian. And perhaps worst of all, poet.

Her reply surprised me. She told the girl that whatever power she was ever to have in life, whatever chance she was to have of confronting the injustices of our society, it all started with acceptance of self. She couldn’t be black. She had no choice but to draw power from her whiteness and from her womanhood, so she needed to accept these things and get on with it. Read more