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 be found. 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 the enchantment of power of the terror of fear overshadowed the will to love.
A generous heart is always open, always ready to receive our going and coming. In the midst of such love we need never fear abandonment. This is the most precious gift true love offers - the experience of knowing we always belong.
In patriarchal culture men are especially inclined to see love as something they should receive without expending effort. More often than not they do not want to do the work that love demands. When the practice of love invites us to enter a place of potential bliss that is at the same time a place of critical awakening and pain, many of us turn our backs on love.
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.
Why is it so difficult for many white folks to understand that racism is oppressive not because white folks have prejudicial feelings about blacks (they could have such feelings and leave us alone) but because it is a system that promotes domination and subjugation?
Any black person who clings to the misguided notion that white people represent the embodiment of all that is evil and black people all that is good remains wedded to the very logic of Western metaphysical dualism that is the heart of racist binary thinking. Such thinking is not liberatory. Like the racist educational ideology it mirrors and imitates, it invites a closing of the mind.
Part of the racialized sexism wants everyone to think that a 15-year old Mexican is not a girl, she’s a woman. We know she’s a girl. We can never emphasize this enough, because this is the fate of colored girls globally right now: the denial of their girlhood, the denial of their childhood, and the constant state of risk and danger they are living in.
Time and time again when I talk to individuals about approaching love with will and intentionality, I hear the fear expressed that this will bring an end to romance. This is simply not so. Approaching romantic love from foundation of care, knowledge, and respect actually intensifies romance
The notion that black folks have nothing to learn from scholarship that may reflect racial or racist biases is dangerous. It promotes closed-mindedness and a narrow understanding of knowledge to hold that "race" is such an overwhelming concept that it negates the validity of any insights contained in a work that may have some racist or sexist aspects.
..the struggle to end sexist oppression that focuses on destroying the cultural basis for such domination strengthens other liberation struggles. Individuals who fight for the eradication of sexism without struggles to end racism or classism undermine their own efforts. Individuals who fight for the eradication of racism or classism while supporting sexist oppression are helping to maintain the cultural basis of all forms of group oppression.
We must continually remind students in the classroom that expression of different opinions and dissenting ideas affirms the intellectual process. We should forcefully explain that our role is not to teach them to think as we do but rather to teach them, by example, the importance of taking a stance that is rooted in rigorous engagement with the full range of ideas about a topic.
When we only name the problem, when we state complaint without a constructive focus or resolution, we take hope away. In this way critique can become merely an expression of profound cynicism, which then works to sustain dominator culture.
This fear of maleness that they inspire estranges men from every female in their lives to greater or lesser degrees, and men feel the loss. Ultimately, one of the emotional costs of allegiance to patriarchy is to be seen as unworthy of trust. If women and girls in patriarchal culture are taught to see every male, including the males with whom we are intimate, as potential rapists and murderers, then we cannot offer them our trust, and without trust there is no love.
Any woman who wishes to be an intellectual, to write non-fiction, to deal with theory, faces a lot of discrimination coming her way and perhaps even self-doubt because there aren't that many who've gone before you. And I think that the most powerful tool we can have is to be clear about our intent. To know what it is we want to do rather than going into institutions thinking that the institution is going to frame for us.
There is no life to be found in violence. Every act of violence brings us closer to death. Whether it's the mundane violence we do to our bodies by overeating toxic food or drink or the extreme violence of child abuse, domestic warfare, life-threatening poverty, addiction, or state terrorism.
One of the greatest difficulties the left faces in reaching out to masses of people in America is its profound disrespect of spirituality and religious life…people on the left need to acknowledge – we need to grapple with – the question of religion.
Genuine love is rarely an emotional space where needs are instantly gratified. To know love we have to invest time and commitment...'dreaming that love will save us, solve all our problems or provide a steady state of bliss or security only keeps us stuck in wishful fantasy, undermining the real power of the love -- which is to transform us.' Many people want love to function like a drug, giving them an immediate and sustained high. They want to do nothing, just passively receive the good feeling.
Writing is my passion. It is a way to experience the ecstatic. The root understanding of the word ecstasy—“to stand outside”—comes to me in those moments when I am immersed so deeply in the act of thinking and writing that everything else, even flesh, falls away.
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.
I feel that I have many real students whom I have not met. Many are in cloisters and they never get out. Others are in prison. But in many cases they practice the teachings much better than those who meet me every day.
The most basic activism we can have in our lives is to live consciously in a nation living in fantasies. Living consciously is living with a core of healthy self-esteem. You will face reality, you will not delude yourself.
Sadly, at a time when so much sophisticated cultural criticism by hip intellectuals from diverse locations extols a vision of cultural hybridity, border crossing, subjectivity constructed out of plurality, the vast majority of folks in this society still believe in a notion of identity that is rooted in a sense of essential traits and characteristics that are fixed and static.
Hip-Hop is diverse. But the white, capitalist producers and distributors of Hip-Hop are most interested in the Hip-Hip that is misogynist, that is Black-hating, that is pugilistic, that is to say all about fighting and war and killing and gangsterism.
If Black women stand strong and our commitment is to ending domination I know that I'm supporting Black males, Black children male and female Black elderly because the bottom line is the struggle to end domination in all its forms.
Feminism has never emerged from the women who are most victimized by sexist oppression; women who are daily beaten down, mentally, physically, and spiritually - women who are powerless to change their condition in life. They are a silent majority.
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.
The crisis facing men is not the crisis of masculinity, it is the crisis of patriarchal masculinity. Until we make this distinction clear, men will continue to fear that any critique of patriarchy represents a threat.
Feminist pedagogy can only be liberatory if it is truly revolutionary because the mechanisms of appropriation within white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy are able to co-opt with tremendous ease that which merely appears radical or subversive
When I began to think deeply about the metaphysics of love I talked with everyone around me about it. I talked to large audiences and even had wee one-on-one conversations with children about the way they think about love. I talked about love in every state. I talked about love everywhere I traveled.
The time has come to tell the truth. Again. There is no love without justice. Men and women who cannot be just deny themselves and everyone they choose to be intimate with the freedom to know mutual love. If we remain unable to imagine a world where love can be recognized as a unifying principle that can lead us to seek and use power wisely, then we will remain wedded to a culture of domination that requires us to choose power over love.
Privilege is not in and of itself bad; what matters is what we do with privilege. I want to live in a world where all women have access to education, and all women can earn PhD’s, if they so desire. Privilege does not have to be negative, but we have to share our resources and take direction about how to use our privilege in ways that empower those who lack it.
A central theme of all about love is that from childhood into adulthood we are often taught misguided and false assumptions about the nature of love. Perhaps the most common false assumption about love is that love means we will not be challenged or changed.
Black males who refuse categorization are rare, for the price of visibility in the contemporary world of white supremacy is that black identity be defined in relation to the stereotype whether by embodying it or seeking to be other than it…Negative stereotypes about the nature of black masculinity continue to overdetermine the identities black males are allowed to fashion for themselves.
They wanted black women to conform to the gender norms set by white society. They wanted to be recognized as 'men,' as patriarchs, by other men, including white men. Yet they could not assume this position if black women were not willing to conform to prevailing sexist gender norms. Many black women who has endured white-supremacist patriarchal domination during slavery did not want to be dominated by black men after manumission.
If only one party in the relationship is working to create love, to create the space of emotional connection, the dominator model remains in place and the relationship just becomes a site for continuous power struggle.