What they were saying aloud was, “We need strong [Trans] people”- but what they were also saying was that their ideas of what strong was had come from our oppressors and didn’t jibe with their feelings at all.
I have always had the sense of Armageddon and it was much stronger in those days, the sense of living on the edge of chaos. Not just personally, but on the world level. That we were dying, that we were killing our world- that sense had always been with me. That whatever I was doing, whatever we were doing that was creative and right, functioned to hold us from going over the edge. That this was the most we could do, while we constructed some saner future.
What about the effects of white racism upon the ways Black people view each other? Racism internalized? What about black teachers going into ghetto schools? … Not just in terms of expectations, but of self-image, in terms of confusion about loyalties. In terms of identifying with the oppressor.
The black mother who is the poet in every one of us. Now when males, or patriarchal thinking whether it’s male or female, reject that combination then we’re truncated. Rationality is not unnecessary. It serves the chaos of knowledge. It serves feeling. It serves to get from some place to some place. If you don’t honour those places then the road is meaningless. Too often, that’s what happens with intellect and rationality and that circular, academic, analytic thinking. But ultimately, I don’t see feel/think as a dichotomy. I see them as a choice of ways and combinations.
I’m saying that we must never close our eyes to the terror, the chaos which is black which is creative which is female which is dark which is rejected which is messy which is sinister, smelly, erotic, confused, upsetting-
The way you get people to testify against themselves is not constantly to have police tactics and oppressive techniques. What you do is to build it in, so people learn to distrust everything in themselves that has not been sanctioned, to reject what is most creative in themselves- to have them reject it to begin with, so you don’t even need to stamp it out.
But I’m used to associating a request for documentation as a questioning of my perceptions, an attempt to devalue what I’m in the process of discovering.
I have a difficult enough time making my perceptions verbal, tappng that deep place, forming that handle, and documentation at that point is often useless. Perceptions precede analysis just as visions precede action or accomplishments. It’s like getting a poem-
That’s the only thing I have to fight with, my whole life, preserving my perceptions of how things are, and later, learning to accept and correct both at the same time, and doing this in the face of tremendous opposition and cruel judgment. And I spent a long period of time questioning my perceptions and my first interior knowledge, not dealing with them, being tripped by them.
Quotes from A Conversation between Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich. I hope to inspire you to seek her out, as her writing is liberating.