Audre Lorde quotes

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

    #Inspirational #Inspiring #Equality

  • 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

    #Inspirational #Believe #Acceptance

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

    #Inspiring #Being Yourself #Diversity

  • 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

    #Inspirational #Encouragement #Powerful

  • I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Inspirational #Life #Inspiring

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

    #I Love You #Inspiring #Valentines Day

  • Your silence will not protect you.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Inspiring #Commitment #Healing

  • ‎Once 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.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Happiness #Success #Perseverance

  • 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

    #Fear #Women #Writing

  • Our visions begin with our desires.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Inspirational #Vision #Desire

  • 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.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Children #Growing Up #White

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

    #Inspirational Life #Done #Life Is

  • 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

    #Honesty #Silence #Empowering

  • I do not want to be tolerated, or misnamed. I want to be recognized.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Want

  • The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Peace #Equality #Emotional

  • What woman here is so enamored of her own oppression that she cannot see her heel print upon another woman's face?
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Faces #Oppression #Print

  • 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.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Long #People #Want

  • I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Believe #Caring #Self

  • 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.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Love You #Creativity #Missing

  • Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Women #Responsibility #Gay

  • ...oppression is as American as apple pie...
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Apples #Pie #Apple Pie

  • Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Differences #People #Rejection

  • If you do not learn to hate you will never be lonely enough to love easily nor will you always be brave, although it does not grow any easier. Do not pretend to convenient beliefs, even when they are righteous; you will never be able to defend your city while shouting.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Lonely #Hate #Cities

  • I learned so much from listening to people. And all I knew was, the only thing I had was honesty and openness.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Honesty #People #Listening

  • Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Knowledge #Emotional #Feelings

  • Without community, there is no liberation.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Change #Community #Collaboration

  • Silence has never brought us anything of worth.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Silence

  • My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Real #Differences #Silence

  • I am my best work - a series of road maps, reports, recipes, doodles, and prayers from the front lines.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Inspirational #Prayer #Maps

  • [Speaking] is never without fear; of visibility, of the harsh light of scrutiny and perhaps judgment, of pain, of death. But we have lived through all of those already, in silence, except death. And I remind myself all the time now, that if I were to have been born mute, and had maintained an oath of silence my whole life for safety, I would still have suffered, and I would still die.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Pain #Light #Safety

  • Without community, there is no liberation...but community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Mean #Differences #Community

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

    #Ideas #Black History #Way

  • 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

    #Life #Dream #Bridges

  • Wherever the bird with no feet flew, she found trees with no limbs.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Feet #Bird #Tree

  • But the true feminist deals out of a lesbian consciousness whether or not she ever sleeps with women.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Sleep #Feminist #Literature

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

    #Process #Riot #Learning Process

  • 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

    #Moving #Racism #Competition

  • It's possible to take that as a personal metaphor and then multiply it to a people, a race, a sex, a time. If we can keep this thing going long enough, if we can survive and teach what we know, we'll make it.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Sex #Race #Long

  • I have a duty to speak the truth as I see it and share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigated pain. It is important to share how I know survival is survival and not just a walk throught the rain.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Pain #Rain #Survival

  • Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Rocks #Names #Giving

  • 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

    #Lonely #Gay #Keys

  • Only by learning to live in harmony with your contradictions can you keep it all afloat.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Inspiring #Harmony #Contradiction

  • The failure of academic feminists to recognize difference as a crucial strength is a failure to reach beyond the first patriarchal lesson. In our world, divide and conquer must become define and empower.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Our World #Differences #Empowering

  • 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

    #Differences #Growth #Progress

  • 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

    #Writing #Circles #Racism

  • It's a struggle but that's why we exist, so that another generation of Lesbians of color will not have to invent themselves, or their history, all over again.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Struggle #Color #Generations

  • Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Names #Giving #Way

  • 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.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Silence #Protect

  • I am still learning - how to take joy in all the people I am, how to use all my selves in the service of what I believe, how to accept when I fail and rejoice when I succeed.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Perseverance #Believe #Self

  • Unless one lives and loves in the trenches, it is difficult to remember that the war against dehumanization is ceaseless.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Life And Love #War #Remember

  • Art is not living. It is a use of living. The artist has the ability to take that living and use it in a certain way, and produce art.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Art #Use #Way

  • ... poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Dream #Light #Rocks

  • There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Struggle #Issues #Feminism

  • We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves, our deepest cravings.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Raised #Craving

  • I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Feminist #Fearless #Different

  • Tell them about how you're never really a whole person if you remain silent, because there's always that one little piece inside you that wants to be spoken out, and if you keep ignoring it, it gets madder and madder and hotter and hotter, and if you don't speak it out one day it will just up and punch you in the mouth from the inside.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #One Day #Pieces #Mouths

  • For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. Racism and homophobia are real conditions of all our lives in this place and time. I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Real #Games #Differences

  • . . . it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are-until the poem-nameless and formless, about to be birthed, but already felt.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Names #Ideas #Giving

  • We must recognize and nurture the creative parts of each other without always understanding what will be created.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Creative #Understanding #Nurture

  • Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Caring #Compassion #Self

  • When we define ourselves, when I define myself, the place in which I am like you and the place in which I am not like you, I'm not excluding you from the joining - I'm broadening the joining.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Joining #Like You

  • What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Fear #Silence #Needs

  • Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Communication #Ignorance #Names

  • We tend to think of the erotic as an easy, tantalizing sexual arousal. I speak of the erotic as the deepest life force, a force which moves us toward living in a fundamental way.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Moving #Thinking #Arousal

  • For each of us as women, there is a dark place within, where hidden and growing our true spirit rises, beautiful and tough as chestnut stanchions against our nightmare of weakness. Within these deep places, each one of us holds an incredible reserve of creativity and power, of unexamined and unrecorded emotion and feeling
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Beautiful #Creativity #Dark

  • There is no Hierarchy of Oppressions
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Hierarchy #Oppression

  • The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations that we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Focus #Pieces #Revolutionary

  • For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Luxury #Existence #Poetry Is

  • The love expressed between women is particular and powerful because we have had to love in order to live; love has been our survival.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Powerful #Order #Survival

  • We are powerful because we have survived
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Powerful

  • Self-care is not about self-indulgence , it is about self-preservati on.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Self #Care #Indulgence

  • Perhaps...I am the face of one of your fears. Because I am a woman, because I am Black, because I am a lesbian, because I am myself--a Black woman warrior poet doing my work--come to ask you, are you doing yours?
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Warrior #Black #Faces

  • Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Accepting #Used

  • The transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation .
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Self #Silence #Action

  • If white American feminist theory need not deal with the differences between us, and the resulting difference in our oppressions, then how do you deal with the fact that the women who clean your houses and tend your children while you attend conferences on feminist theory are, for the most part, poor women and women of Color? What is the theory behind racist feminism?
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Children #White #Differences

  • Advocating the mere tolerance of difference between women is the grossest reformism. it is a total denial of the creative function of difference in our lives. Difference must be not merely toleration, but seen as a fund of necessary polarities between which our creativity can spark like a dialectic. Only then does the necessity for interdependency become unthreatening. Only within the interdependency of different strengths, acknowledged and equal, can the power to seek new ways of being in the world generate, as well as the courage and sustenance to act where there are no charters
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Creativity #Differences #Creative

  • The erotic has often been misnamed by men and used against women. It has been made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, the plasticized sensation.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Confused #Men #Psychotic

  • I started writing because I had a need inside of me to create something that was not there
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Writing #Needs

  • We are all more blind to what we have than to what we have not.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Gratitude #Blind #Dissatisfaction

  • The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Self #Feelings #Chaos

  • Once we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and from our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives. . . .
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Empowering #Joy #Lenses

  • Even the smallest victory is never to be taken for granted. Each victory must be applauded...
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Taken #Victory #Granted

  • When I speak of the erotic, then I speak of it as an assertion of the life force of women; of that creative energy empowered, the knowledge and use of which we are now reclaiming in our language, our history, our dancing, our loving, our work, our lives.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Dancing #Creative #Energy

  • And when the sun rises we are afraid it might not remain when the sun sets we are afraid it might not rise in the morning when our stomachs are full we are afraid of indigestion when our stomachs are empty we are afraid we may never eat again when we are loved we are afraid love will vanish when we are alone we are afraid love will never return and when we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard nor welcomed but when we are silent we are still afraid So it is better to speak remembering we were never meant to survive
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Morning #Fear #Our Words

  • Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference - those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are black, who are older - know that survival is not an academic skill...For the master's tools will not dismantle the master's house. They will never allow us to bring about genuine change.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Differences #Skills #Circles

  • Art is not living. It is the use of living.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Life #Art #Use

  • I realize that if I wait until I am no longer afraid to act, write, speak, be, I'll be sending messages on a Ouija board, cryptic complaints from the other side
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Inspirational #Writing #Diversity

  • The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Bridges #Differences #Broken

  • Pain is important: how we evade it, how we succumb to it, how we deal with it, how we transcend it.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Pain #Important #Deals

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

    #Peace #Power #House

  • Revolution is not a one time event.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Events #Revolution

  • You cannot use someone else's fire. You can only use your own. And in order to do that, you must first be willing to believe that you have it.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Believe #Fire #Order

  • ...and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Inspirational #Visibility #Vulnerable

  • From my membership in all of these groups I have learned that oppression and the intolerance of difference come in all shapes and sizes and colors and sexualities; and that among those of us who share the goals of liberation and a workable future for our children, there can be no hierarchies of oppression.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Children #Color #Differences

  • Sometimes we drug ourselves with dreams of new ideasl The head will save us. The brain alone will set us free. But there are no new ideas waiting in the wings to save us as women, as human. There are only old and forgotten ones, new combinations, extrapolations and recognitions from within ourselves--along with the renewed courage to try them out.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Dream #Wings #Ideas

  • Next time, ask: What's the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Littles #Next #Push Yourself

  • 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.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Jobs #Real #Believe

  • Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one's own actions or lack of action.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Guilt #Action #Response

  • Anger, used, does not destroy. Hatred does.
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Hatred #Black History #Doe

  • What is there possibly left for us to be afraid of, after we have dealt face to face with death and not embraced it? Once I accept the existence of dying as a life process, who can ever have power over me again?
    -- Audre Lorde

    #Dying #Faces #Accepting