“Who Said It Was Simple” – Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde | Poetry Foundation
Audre Lorde (1934-1922); pic creds. poetryfoundation.org
There are so many roots to the tree of anger
that sometimes the branches shatter
before they bear. 

Sitting in Nedicks
the women rally before they march 
discussing the problematic girls 
they hire to make them free. 
An almost white counterman passes 
a waiting brother to serve them first
and the ladies neither notice nor reject
the slighter pleasures of their slavery. 
But I who am bound by my mirror
as well as my bed
see causes in color
as well as sex

and sit here wondering
which me will survive
all these liberations. 

This poem, “Who Said It Was Simple” was published in Lorde’s third volume of poetry, From a Land where Other People Live in 1973. Some things to note about Lorde is that she was an American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist. She described herself as “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” and dedicated her life and works to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism and homophobia. Furthermore, this poem was written during a time in which abortion was made legal (Roe vs. Wade 1973), and five years earlier, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, and President Johnson expanded the Civil Rights act of 1964.

In this poem, Lorde scrutinizes those who define themselves as feminists but do not act when other groups are oppressed, and even benefit from the oppression. She portrays this in the first stanza with the “tree of anger,” for she is furious at the exclusivity of the so-called feminists who are sexist, racist, and homophobic. Her “tree of anger” has roots that go down to encompass hundreds, if not thousands, of years of oppression—denying basic human rights or protections just because of her race, gender identity, and sexual orientation.

The second part of the poem talks about her experience “sitting in Neidicks,” an East Coast chain restaurant, and listening to the white women talking about the non-white ‘girls’ that they employ to clean their houses and/or take care of their children, right before they go to a women’s rally where they march for women’s rights. They want equal rights yet they benefit from the oppression of the girls that they employ.

Lorde’s intersecting identities as a black, homosexual women make her more oppressed and each one pulls her to and fro to lead her to some sense of liberation, but she wonders “which me will survive / all these liberations.” The women’s movements seems to solely wants her to focus on women’s rights, while the civil rights movement wants her to focus on black rights. Either way, a part of her identity is denied.

Sources:

https://prezi.com/fek2r6_6drxm/who-said-it-was-simple/

https://poetryisnotaluxurysite.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/who-said-it-was-simple-by-audre-lorde-and-intersectionality/

WHO IS JACOB BLAKE?

Yesterday, August 23rd, a police officer shot Jacob Blake 7 times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin. While his 3 children were in the car watching. Attorney Benjamin Crump, a civil rights lawyer retained by Blake’s family, said Blake was attempting to de-escalate a fight between two other people when officers arrived at the scene, drew their weapons, and tased him. Currently, he is alive and in the ICU fighting for his life. However, he shouldn’t have been in this situation in the first place. His kids should not be traumatized from watching their own father being shot repeatedly in the back by the police. We must have an immediate and transparent investigation and the officers involved should be held accountable for their actions. We must demand justice. #JusticeForJacobBlake

Here are some resources to help demand justice for Jacob Blake:

  • Sign the petition calling for justice for Jacob Blake here.
  • Donate to the official gofundme for Jacob Blake’s family here
  • Donate to the Milwaukee Freedom Fund which is assisting protestors in Kenosha with bail funds here
  • Call/Email Kenosha state officials from this list created by @ankita_71 on twitter https://twitter.com/ankita_71/status/1297805867455307777

If you go to the next page, there will be footage of the whole ordeal. Please do not click if you are triggered by gunshots.

THE RACIST HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN POLICE

History of police in the US: How policing has evolved since the ...
The evolution of a police officer. Picture creds: Bettman & Anadolu Agency/ Getty

When people say abolish the police or ACAB, it’s necessary to know why exactly they are saying this. You might say, “but not all cops…” However, this is not what they are referring to. Rather, they are referring to the fact that cops uphold a racist and corrupt system that should be changed and abolished in order to create a new one.

The American police originally started as slave patrols and has since evolved into the American police force that we know today. It has set its foundation as racist and broken. It was created to protect white wealth at the expense of Black people, immigrants, and minorities. In the South, after slavery was abolished and slave patrols became uncommon, police took on new forms such as sheriffs who enforced segregation or groups like the KKK. In the North, police were used to control the increasing numbers of immigrant workers and would block labor strikes to suppress poor Americans.

In the 1800s, centralized white, male police departments formed in big cities like Boston, NYC, and Chicago. Springing from these police departments were patrols like Mounted Guards (now the Border Patrol) who maintained minority quotas and prevented illegal crossings. This was due to the increasing fear of labor uprisings and xenophobia. During Jim Crow, the police would enforce laws called “Black Codes” which upheld racism and segregation. The police would suppress protests during the Civil Rights movement, much like what they are doing right now. Black Americans would protest police abuse and racial profiling and would be met with violence–tear gas, high pressure hoses, and attack dogs.

Now, you might be wondering, would abolishing the police actually work? It has before! Several cities like Durham have implemented successful no-cop zones and harm-free zones where communities self-protect. Police abolition is not a new idea. It has been around since the 18th century. Additionally, the USA today spends approximately $100 billion a year on policing and a further $80 billion on incarceration. Defunding the police could result in more focus on education and health.

If you are still on the edge, I have included a story that I found on twitter about the corrupt police system. Adrian Schoolcraft went into the police force because he thought that he, along with the other police, would make the world a better place. So when he realized that some of his colleagues were lying and fudging numbers in order to meet their quotas, he reported them to his higher ups. The higher ups responded by saying that if he didn’t like it, then he could find a different job. Schoolcraft woke up on October 31, 2009 to the NYPD entering his home and forcibly interring him into a mental hospital. After he was discharged, he released the tapes of the conversations he overhead by officers about the faulty arrests, the clear issues in stop and frisk, and the general corruption of the NYPD. The Village Voice published them in their series “The NYPD Tapes.” The good cops are otracised, abused, and kidnapped by the “bad apples.”

https://www.villagevoice.com/2010/05/04/the-nypd-tapes-inside-bed-stuys-81st-precinct/