The Weeky Verse: Who Said It Was Simple by Audre Lorde
Clearly, at some point during Pride Month, I had to do a Weekly Verse featuring Audre Lorde. A feminist and lesbian born to Caribbean immigrants, Lorde encompasses a whole lotta intersectionality all in one package, even before she puts pen to paper. And good golly–what words came forth from that pen.
I chose this poem in particular today because it is easy to forget, especially if you’re not living your whole life as a person who is routinely marginalized, that even in an era when progress seems to be bursting from every corner, people are still suffering. People are still being discriminated against; teens and adults are still being bullied over their sexualities, their genders, their skin colors. It’s so easy to get caught up in the everyday of being safe from various types of harm that I think we need to remember that it’s not over yet.
We also need to remember that under the ’cause’ of Pride, there are people. A whole wide spectrum of people who don’t need saviors, who aren’t struggling so that we can fix their problems and pat ourselves on the back. (I don’t personally know anybody who does this, this is not an occluded dig–just musing.)
It’s so, so, so important always to be inclusive when it comes to conversation, when it comes to hearing people. To learn to be quiet and to listen.
Maybe I’m thinking about this because sj wrote that great post about dialect and privilege or because I read Roxane Gay’s fab novel that has themes of privilege. Maybe it’s because I increasingly realize that, despite being queer myself, queer rights is not my personal struggle, because I can pass. Certainly I’m thinking about it because of “Who Said It Was Simple”, which not-too-gently reminds me that I live a life steeped in privileges. The privilege of passing as straight every damn day, the privilege of being white. Privileges that other people will never get to experience and that I will never not experience.
Not real sure where to go from here. Read the poem, aye?
Who Said It Was Simple
by Audre Lorde
There are so many roots to the tree of anger
that sometimes the branches shatter
before they bear.
Sitting in Nedicks
the women rally before they march
discussing the problematic girls
they hire to make them free.
An almost white counterman passes
a waiting brother to serve them first
and the ladies neither notice nor reject
the slighter pleasures of their slavery.
But I who am bound by my mirror
as well as my bed
see causes in colour
as well as sex
and sit here wondering
which me will survive
all these liberations.