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Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference

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Omotoyosi Famuyiwa


Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference

In the article ‘Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference’, Audre Lorde addresses the fact that the people being criticized or oppressed are the people trying to solve the problem while the oppressors maintain their position and do not take responsibility for their own actions (Lorde 114). In summary, the victims are the people fighting for themselves while everyone else is either ignorant or contributing to the problem. Audre is black, a lesbian, in an inter-racial couple, a feminist and socialist which means she deals with all sorts of criticism everyday of her life. She is a victim of racialism, sexism, ageism and all other sorts of discrimination and talks from experience which is the best teacher.

In the article, Audre states there is a ‘mythical norm’ which in my own words, means the different features that are classified as ‘superior’ in a society (Lorde 116). Audre uses America as an example, if you are white, you are superior over other races and this applies for the features as follows; thin, male, young, heterosexual, Christian, and financially secure. People need to understand each person came to the world differently, in different families and situations without choice. Nobody chooses the race they are or gender and each person deserves equal rights and judgment.

In this article, Audre states something very important; “By ignoring the past, we are encouraged to repeat its mistakes” Audre states that children who are the future leaders, may view their older members as contemptible and will not be able to ask the questions they ought to have been answered in the first place. Therefore, the cycle continues, like it has for years (Lorde 117). Adults need to educate their children on all the different types of discrimination, they need to know what behaviour is acceptable and to treat everyone equally no matter their appearance or background or whatsoever.

Audre talks about the different ways people show ignorance towards the different types of discrimination. Audre talks about the white woman who gets white privileges but defines woman in terms of her experience knowing there are ‘other’ women who are not getting those same privileges. By defining woman according to her own lifestyle, she gives room for people to classify women of other races as ‘other’ which means less important or a different type of woman which is not meant to be. A fellow woman is classified as ‘other’ because of the color of their skin. This is unacceptable and is very common (Lorde 117). Mothers that act this way end up teaching their daughters in the same way and the cycle goes on which encourages discrimination.

In this article, Audre states many ways discrimination is encouraged and reasons why discrimination is still taking place. This mean carrying out the opposite of what was stated or not making the mistakes that are being made everyday, will help reduce discrimination if not completely eradicate it. Ignorance is the biggest cause, in my opinion, of discrimination. Ignorance is acting like nothing is going on or acting indifferent to the situation, this makes everything a hundred times worse because it makes it look like it is not a big deal or that people are putting too much importance to it. Meanwhile people are suffering from discrimination, getting depressed, not getting jobs because of the way they look or the family they came from. And the truth is everyone, whether black, white, brown etc. is human and all deserve to be treated equally. Parents should also educate their children on all the different types of discrimination so the bad cycle does not continue.



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