What does Audre Lorde mean when she says, "the masters tools will never dismatle the masters house?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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From a larger sense, Lorde is suggesting that the notion of empowerment and reclamation of voice can only happen when there is a pure transformation of paradigm.  Individuals that seek to enhance voice and discourse can only do so when they are committed to increasing power and sharing it with these voices.  For example, if a company is not committed to racial and ethnic inclusion, but installs a person of color in their bevy of vice presidents or other executives, little, if anything, changes.  The "master's house" is still present as well as the repression of voice. Simple and shallow forms of inclusion do not alter the imbalance of power in dynamics and relationships.  Only when there is a true transformation, or dismantling of "the master's house," can there be change to the house and those who inhabit it.