70+ Best Audre Lorde Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Audre Lorde was an American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist. As a poet, she is best known for technical mastery and emotional expression, as well as her poems that express anger and outrage at civil and social injustices she observed throughout her life. Profoundly inspirational Audre Lorde quotes will encourage growth in life, make you wiser and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for motivating activist quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of profound Bell Hooks quotes, amazing Coretta Scott King quotes and top Dorothy Day quotes.

Famous Audre Lorde Quotes

Without community, there is no liberation. Audre Lorde

Your silence will not protect you. Audre Lorde

The difference between poetry and rhetoric is being ready to kill yourself instead of your children. Audre Lorde

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive. Audre Lorde

Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before. Audre Lorde

When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid. Audre Lorde

If they cannot love and resist at the same time, they probably will not survive. Audre Lorde

I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. Audre Lorde

Oppression is as American as apple pie. Audre Lorde

For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. Racism and homophobia are real conditions of all our lives in this place and time. I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices. Audre Lorde

Oppressed peoples are always being asked to stretch a little more, to bridge the gap between blindness and humanity. Audre Lorde

Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness. Audre Lorde

But, on the other hand, I get bored with racism too and recognize that there are still many things to be said about a Black person and a White person loving each other in a racist society. Audre Lorde

There is no thing as a single issue struggle because we do not live single issue lives. Audre Lorde

I learned so much from listening to people. And all I knew was, the only thing I had was honesty and openness. Audre Lorde

Revolution is not a one time event. Audre Lorde

It is not the destiny of Black America to repeat white America’s mistakes. But we will, if we mistake the trappings of success in a sick society for the signs of a meaningful life. Audre Lorde

I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love, and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do. I am going to write fire until it comes out of my ears, my eyes, my noseholes everywhere. Until it’s every breath I breathe. I’m going to go out like a fucking meteor! Audre Lorde

Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now. Audre Lorde

The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. Audre Lorde

Your silence will not protect you. Audre Lorde

Pain is important how we evade it, how we succumb to it, how we deal with it, how we transcend it. Audre Lorde

When I dare to be powerful to use my strength in the service of my vision then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid. Audre Lorde

Black and Third World people are expected to educate white people as to our humanity. Women are expected to educate men. Lesbians and gay men are expected to educate the heterosexual world. The oppressors maintain their position and evade their responsibility for their own actions. There is a constant drain of energy which might be better used in redefining ourselves and devising realistic scenarios for altering the present and constructing the future. Audre Lorde

We must wake up knowing we have work to do and go to bed knowing we’ve done it. Audre Lorde

Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge. Audre Lorde

Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me. Audre Lorde

My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. But for every real word spoken, for every attempt I had ever made to speak those truths for which I am still seeking, I had made contact with other women while we examined the words to fit a world in which we all believed, bridging our differences. Audre Lorde

And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking. Audre Lorde

I find I am constantly being encouraged to pluck out some one aspect of myself and present this as the meaningful whole, eclipsing or denying the other parts of self. Audre Lorde

What you hear in my voice is fury, not suffering. Anger, not moral authority. Audre Lorde

Without community, there is no liberation. Audre Lorde

You cannot, you cannot use someone else’s fire. You can only use your own. And in order to do that, you must first be willing to believe that you have it. Audre Lorde

I have a duty to speak the truth as I see it and share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigated pain. It is important to share how I know survival is survival and not just a walk throught the rain. Audre Lorde

We do not need to become each other in order to work together. Audre Lorde

I am my best work a series of road maps, reports, recipes, doodles, and prayers from the front lines. Audre Lorde

If you can’t change reality, change your perceptions of it. Audre Lorde

Unless one lives and loves in the trenches, it is difficult to remember that the war against dehumanization is ceaseless. Audre Lorde

Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end. Audre Lorde

But the true feminist deals out of a lesbian consciousness whether or not she ever sleeps with women. Audre Lorde

How much of this truth can I bear to see and still live unblinded? How much of this pain can I use? Audre Lorde

Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me. Audre Lorde

Because the machine will try to grind you into dust anyway, whether or not we speak. Audre Lorde

Tell them about how you’re never really a whole person if you remain silent, because there’s always that one little piece inside you that wants to be spoken out, and if you keep ignoring it, it gets madder and madder and hotter and hotter, and if you don’t speak it out one day it will just up and punch you in the mouth from the inside. Audre Lorde

Survival is the greatest gift of love. Audre Lorde

We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves, our deepest cravings. Audre Lorde

I cannot shut you out the way I shut the others out, so maybe I can destroy you. Must destroy you? Audre Lorde

Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are black, who are older know that survival is not an academic skill. For the master’s tools will not dismantle the master’s house. They will never allow us to bring about genuine change. Audre Lorde

We are all more blind to what we have than to what we have not. Audre Lorde

The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot. Audre Lorde

How are you practicing what you preach whatever you preach, and who is exactly listening? Audre Lorde

The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. Audre Lorde

For Black women as well as Black men, it is axiomatic that if we do not define ourselves for ourselves, we will be defined by others  for their use and to our detriment. Audre Lorde

Men who are afraid to feel must keep women around to do their feeling for them while dismissing us for the same supposedly inferior capacity to feel deeply. But in this way also, men deny themselves their own essential humanity, becoming trapped in dependency and fear. Audre Lorde

No woman is responsible for altering the psyche of her oppressor, even when that psyche is embodied in another woman.Audre Lorde

What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence.” Audre Lorde

As a Black lesbian mother in an interracial marriage, there was usually some part of me guaranteed to offend everybody’s comfortable prejudices of who I should be. Audre Lorde

Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. Audre Lorde

It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences. Audre Lorde

The white fathers told us I think, therefore I am. The black goddess within each of us the poet whispers in our dreams I feel, therefore I can be free. Audre Lorde

I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. Audre Lorde

I realize that if I wait until I am no longer afraid to act, write, speak, be, I’ll be sending messages on a Ouija board, cryptic complaints from the other side. Audre Lorde

Revolution is not a one time event. Audre Lorde

Without community, there is no liberation but community must not mean a shedding of our differences, nor the pathetic pretense that these differences do not exist. Audre Lorde

I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t. Audre Lorde

I know the anger lies inside of me like I know the beat of my heart and the taste of my spit. It is easier to be furious than to be yearning. Easier to crucify myself in you than to take on the threatening universe of whiteness by admitting that we are worth wanting each other. Audre Lorde

Black women are programmed to define ourselves within this male attention and to compete with each other for it rather than to recognize and move upon our common interests. Audre Lorde

Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people. Audre Lorde