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Audre Lorde on Race Consciousness

But we never ever talked about what it meant and felt like to be Black and white, and the effects that had on our being friends. Of course, everybody with any sense deplored racial discrimination, theoretically and without discussion. We could conquer it by ignoring it.

How meager the sustenance was I gained from the four years I spent in high school; yet, how important that sustenance was to my survival. Remembering that time is like watching old pictures of myself in a prison camp picking edible scraps out of the garbage heap, and knowing that without that garbage I might have starved to death. The overwhelming racism of so many of the faculty, including the ones upon whom I had my worst schoolgirl crushes. How little I settled for int he way of human contact, compared to what I was conscious of wanting.

It was in high school that I came to believe that I was different from my white classmates, not because I was Black, but because I was me.

-Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (pp. 81-82)

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