Rad Reading: "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House"

by Abaki Beck

Text: The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House

Author: Audre Lorde

Quote to Highlight: "Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society's definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference -- those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older -- know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house."

Quick Summary: In this essay, which was originally a speech at an academic conference, Lorde calls out academia for excluding women of color feminists. She argues that liberation can only occur when all voices are included, and when differences are embraced and analyzed, not merely "tolerated." She states that doing so - for example, tokenizing feminists of color or ignoring differences - only replicates systems of power and oppression that (white) feminism claims to be working against.

File it under: Women of color, feminism, intersectionality, community

Type of text:  Short, poetic, academic text, some jargon


POC Online Classroom strives to make texts and resources that celebrate the intellectual tradition and knowledge production of marginalized communities more accessible. Rad Reading is a new series that highlight texts so readers get an idea of what it’s about before delving in. We will post every Tuesday and Thursday. This is one of the first in the series, but we hope to have one for every resource on the website in the future. Stay tuned!




Abaki Beck