“The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”

July 22, 2011 § 1 Comment


Oh man. As many of you know, nothing brings me greater joy than a well-executed political troll. The kind of troll that goes far beyond “tits or GTFO” or “lol your dead” or “ZOMG ZOMG RULES 1 & 2” or whatever other boiler-plate trolling response. Political trolling, take-no-prisoners trolling, really can be a art. See Stephen Colbert’s utterly masterful White House Correspondent’s Dinner reception speech; see audre lord’s study in honeybadger badassery, “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” In a nutshell, there was this conference, see? Focused on feminism and how important it is for women to Stand Together as One. audre lord, a token black-gay-former poor, was invited to speak (she was a black person people knew!), and took the opportunity to smack the proverbial shit out of her audience. She was like listen. It’s real great all you middle-class white ladies are so eager to make the world a better place for women. The problem is that by “women” you mean “white middle-class women.” So when you talk about “female solidarity” you’re actually not including the interests or acknowledging the differences between groups of women. You tolerate these differences, sure. You even devote whole special journal issues to Third World Feminism! But this is little more than celebratory, uncritical pandering which shields you from ever having to examine the ways in which your own life choices impact lesbians and/or women of color and/or poor people. “If white American feminist theory need not deal with the differences between us,” she says, not giving a shit, “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? So– devote all the Special Issues you want; however noble your intentions, you are effectively silencing difference, difference –and not solidarity– being the only way to break the chains of oppression. Hence “the master’s tools.” You can’t commit the same indignities as the assholes in charge and expect to be anything but a perfect carbon-copy embodiment of that which you profess to abhor.

And, scene. [crickets]

I can only imagine what the audience’s response to this speech must have been. It’s beautiful –verging on art, even– because they would have no choice but to sit there and take it; any protestation could be construed as evidence of lorde’s claims. Just. Fucking. Brilliant.

In terms of the exams, golly. I somewhat doubt my examiner will go the “social change” route — but if she does, this will be the framing text. And actually connects to an idea I was kicking around this morning on my run, about cyberbullying. Not that I’ll be sharing here, it’s locked safely in my dissertation dream-journal. But just so everyone knows. I have a plan.


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