Sister Outsider Summary
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde is a collection of speeches and essays that Lorde wrote from 1976 to 1984. The essays are informed by Lorde's identity as a black woman who is also a parent, lesbian, and member of an interracial relationship. Each essay challenges traditional ideas on things like sexuality, class, and race; Lorde believes that differences between people are empowering and can be used to create change in the world.
In "Notes from a Trip to Russia," Lorde talks about a trip to Moscow for an African-Asian writing conference she observed. She talks about how some parts of Russia remind of her Africa, though the faces are white rather than black.
In "Poetry Is Not a Luxury," she talks about the power of poetry to help one understand oneself. She also exalts it as a way to create action from thought.
In "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action," she discusses her own experience with cancer. She also describes what drives some people to act while others remain silent.
In "Scratching the Surface: Some Notes on Barriers to Women and Loving," Lorde talks about problems with trust in relationships. It focuses on both black men and black women's relationships with women.
In "Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power," she talks about how the erotic can be used to better understand a person's experience. She says that desire should be conscious and that the erotic is the most self-responsible source of a woman's power.
In "Sexism: An American Disease in Blackface," she talks about the problems patriarchy and traditional masculinity create for black people. She also discusses ways that they damage the community.
In "An Open Letter to Mary Daly," Lorde responds to Daly, a feminist writer. She talks about the problems of white feminism and how it excludes women of color.
In "Man Child: A Black Lesbian Feminist's Response," she talks about her relationship with her son in the context of her sexuality and the racial makeup of her relationship.
"An Interview: Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich" is a partial transcript of a recorded interview with the two women.
"The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House" discusses how feminism is harmed by tokenism and exclusion. It challenges the discrimination of feminist...
(The entire section is 567 words.)