Sister Outsider is a collection of essays and speeches by Audre Lorde, a black lesbian feminist more widely known for her poetry. Most of the works in Sister Outsider were presented or published between 1976 and 1983 and range from travelogues and letters to academic papers and presentations. Audre Lorde uses all of these forms to explore race and sex issues and the anger, guilt, and fear that may result from internalizing a skewed system of values.
Several themes are prominent in Lorde’s essays, one of which is a deeply-held distrust for the prevailing American system of values, which she believes promotes racism, sexism, homophobia, and a host of other ills. With material profit as its core, this value system discourages the exploration of the self in favor of unquestioning adherence to societal norms. Most minority groups, of course, are not included in these norms. Exacerbating this is the fact that most minorities are relatively powerless figures in the economic sense. Worse still, the structure of society, Audre believes, encourages division and infighting in minority groups, keeping their power to a minimum. Oppression is also a major theme in all of the works in Sister Outsider.
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