WSTA01 READINGS Week 6.docx

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Women's and Gender Studies
Siphiwe Dube

WSTA01 READINGS PART TWOWeek 6 What difference RaceThe Masters Tools will Never Dismantle the Masters HouseI would be commenting upon papers dealing with the role of difference within the lives of american women difference of race sexuality class and age The absence of these considerations weakens any feminist discussion of the personal and the politicalof feminist theory without examining our many differences and without a significant input from poor women Black and Third World women and lesbians And yet I stand here as a Black lesbian feminist having been invited to comment within the only panel at this conference where the input of Black feminists and lesbians is represented What this says about the vision of this conference is sad in a country where racism sexism and homophobia are inseparableWhat does it mean when the tools of a racist patriarchy are used to examine the fruits of that same patriarchyThe absence of any consideration of lesbian consciousness or the consciousness of Third World women leaves a serious gap within this conference and within the papers presented hereFor women the need and desire to nurture each other is not pathological but redemptive and it is within that knowledge that our real power is rediscoveredIt is this real connection which is so feared by a patriarchal world Only within a patriarchal structure is maternity the only social power open to womenInterdependency between women is the way to a freedom which allows the I to be not in order to be used but in order to be creative This is a difference between the passive be and the active beingAdvocating the mere tolerance of difference between women is the grossest reformism It is a total denial of the creative function of difference in our lives Difference must be not merely tolerated but seen as a fund of necessary polarities between which our creativity can spark like a dialecticDifference is that raw and powerful connection from which our personal power is forged As women we have been taught either to ignore our differences or to view them as causes for separation and suspicion rather than as forces for change Without community there is no liberation only the most vulnerable and temporary armistice between an individual and her oppression
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