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      Our Heritage - Audre Lorde

      In her own words, Audre Lorde was a “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.”

      "Raising Black children -female and male- in mouth of a racist, sexist, suicidal dragon is perilous and chancy. If they cannot love and resist at the same time, they will probably not survive. And in order to survive they must let go. This is what mothers teach -love, survival- that is, self-definition and letting go. For each of these, the ability to feel strongly and to recognize those feelings is central: how to feel love, how to neither discount fear nor be overwhelmed by it, how to enjoy feeling deeply.

      I wish to raise a Black man who will not be destroyed by. nor settle for, those corruptions called power by the white fathers who mean his destruction as surely as they mean mine. I wish to raise a Black man who will recognize that the legitimate objects of his hostility are not women, but the particulars of a structure that programs him to fear and despise women as well as his own Black self.

      For me, this task begins with teaching my son that I do not exist to do his feeling for him.

      Men who are afraid to feel must keep women around to do their feeling for them while dismissing us for the same supposedly "inferior" capacity to feel deeply. But in this way also, men deny themselves their own essential humanity, becoming trapped in dependency and fear."

      Excerpt from Audrey Lorde's "Man Child: A Black Lesbian Feminists' Response" in Sister Outsider (Penguin Random House, 1984).

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