It's really important to have life strategies and part of that is sort of knowing where you want to go so you can have a map that helps you to get there. And the traditional way tells us oh we get into school and someone else advises us, helps us, but that often does not work for African Americans female and male. Because what works for the dominant culture often does not work for us.
My grief was a heavy, despairing sadness caused by parting from a companion of many years but, more important, it was a despair rooted in the fear that love did not exist, could not befound. And even if it were lurking somewhere, I might never know it in my lifetime. It had become hard for me to continue to believe in love's promise when everywhere I turned theenchantment of power of the terror of fear overshadowed the will to love.
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It is important and vital is to keep that education for critical consciousness around intersectionalities, so that people are able to not focus on one thing and blame one group, but be able to look holistically at the way intersectionality informs all of us: whiteness, gender, sexual preferences, etc. Only then can we have a realistic handle on the political and cultural world we live within.
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In our young minds houses belonged to women were their special domain, not as property, but as places where all that truly mattered in life took place - the warmth and comfort of shelter, the feeding of our bodies, the nurturing of our souls. There we learned dignity, integrity of being; there we learned to have faith. The folks who made this life possible, who were our primary guides and teachers, were black women.
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It was the world of Southern, rural, black growing up, of folks sitting on porches day and night, of folks calling your mama, 'cause you walked by and didn't speak, and of the switch waiting when you got home so that you could be taught some manners. It was a world of single black older women schoolteachers, dedicated, tough; they had taught your mama, her sisters, and her friends. They knew your people in ways that you never would and shared their insight, keeping us in touch with generations. It was a world where we had a history.
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Dare I speak ,to oppressed and opressor in the same voice? Dare I speak to you in a language that will move beyond the boundaries of domination- a language, that will not bind you, fence you in, or hold you? Language is also a place of struggle. The oppressed struggle in language to recover ourselves, to reconcile, to reunite, to renew. Our words are not without meaning, they are an action, a resistance. Language is also a place of struggle.
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For most people, what is so painful about reading is that you read something and you don't have anybody to share it with. In part what the book club opens up is that people can read a book and then have someone else to talk about it with. Then they see that a book can lead to the pleasure of conversation, that the solitary act of reading can actually be a part of the path to communion and community.
All too often we think of community in terms of being with folks like ourselves: the same class, same race, same ethnicity, same social standing and the like..I think we need to be wary: we need to work against the danger of evoking something that we don't challenge ourselves to actually practice.
Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, revelling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community.
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I mostly want to remind her of the recipes of healing, and give her my own made-on-the spot remedy for the easing of her pain. I tell her, "Get a pen. Stop crying so you can write this down and start working on it tonight." My remedy is long. But the last item on the list says: "When you wake up and find yourself living someplace where there is nobody you love and trust, no community, it is time to leave town "" to pack up and go (you can even go tonight). And where you need to go is any place where there are arms that can hold you, that will not let you go.
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I think the invitation offered the non-black reader is to join us in this expression of our familiarity and via that joining, come to understand that when black people come together to celebrate and rejoice in black critical thinking, we do so not to exclude or to separate, but to participate more fully in world community. However, we must first be able to dialogue with one another, to give one another subject-to-subject recognition that is an act of resistance that is part of the decolonizing, anti-racist process.
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Like many white liberals, Ken sees the whiteness of his social life as more an accident of circumstance than a choice. He would welcome greater diversity in the neighbourhood. However, he does not consciously do enough work either in his social life or in the larger community to make that diversity possible.
It is no accident that this homeplace, as fragile and as transitional as it may be, a makeshift shed, a small bit of earth where one rests, is always subject to violation and destruction. For when a people no longer have the space to construct homeplace, we cannot build a meaningful community of resistance.
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The intellectual tradition of the West is very individualistic. It's not community-based. The intellectual is often thought of as a person who is alone and cut off from the world. So I have had to practice being willing to leave the space of my study to be in community, to work in community, and to be changed by community.
Solidarity is not the same as support. To experience solidarity, we must have a community of interests, shared beliefs and goals around which to unite, to build Sisterhood. Support can be occasional. It can be given and just as easily withdrawn. Solidarity requires sustained, ongoing commitment.
None of us, irrespective of our sexual preference and/or practice, imagine that we can have an intimate relationship with a partner and always have seamless harmony. Indeed, most of us assume that once the "honeymoon" period is over differences will emerge and conflicts will happen. Positively, we also assume that we will be "safe" in those moments; that even if voices are raised and emotions expressed are intense, there will not be and should not be any abuse or any reason to be unsafe, and that the will to connect and communicate will prevail.
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Women have endeavored to guide men to love because patriarchal thinking has sanctioned this work even as it has undermined it by teaching men to refuse guidance...A useful gift all love's practitioners can give is the offering of forgiveness. It not only allows us to move away from blame, from seeing others as the cause of our sustained lovelessness, but it enables us to experience agency, to know we can be responsible for giving and finding love.
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When I write provocative social and cultural criticism that causes readers to stretch their minds, to think beyond set paradigms, I think of that work as love in action. While it may challenge, disturb and at times even frighten or enrage readers, love is always the place where I begin and end.
Even the most subjected person has moments of rage and resentment so intense that they respond, they act against. There is an inner uprising that leads to rebellion, however short- lived. It may be only momentary but it takes place. That space within oneself where resistance is possible remains.
When liberal whites fail to understand how they can and/or do embody white supremacist values and beliefs even though they may not embrace racism as prejudice or domination (especially domination that involves coercive control), they cannot recognize the ways their actions support and affirm the very structure of racist domination and oppression that they wish to see eradicated.
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Fame is fun, money is useful, celebrity can be exciting, but finally life is about optimal well-being and how we achieve that in dominator culture, in a greedy culture, in a culture that uses so much of the world's resources. How do men and women, boys and girls, live lives of compassion, justice and love? And I think that's the visionary challenge for feminism and all other progressive movements for social change.
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Another response to racism has been the establishment of unlearning racism workshops, which are often led by white women. These workshops are important, yet they tend to focus primarily on cathartic individual psychological personal prejudice without stressing the need for corresponding change in political commitment and action. A woman who attends an unlearning racism workshop and learns to acknowledge that she is racist is no less a threat than one who does not. Acknowledgment of racism is significant when it leads to transformation.
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To be changed by ideas was pure pleasure. But to learn ideas that ran counter to values and beliefs learned at home was to place oneself at risk, to enter the danger zone. Home was the place where I was forced to conform to someone else's image of who and what I should be. School was the place where I could forget that self and, through ideas, reinvent myself.
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While it is positive for young black males and females to learn discipline and self-responsibility, those attitudes, values, and habits of being can be taught with pedagogical strategies that are liberatory, that do not rely on coercive control and punishment to reinforce positive behavior.
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