Cleveland Heights, OH
I began with six words from Alice Walker’s novel about FGM, Possessing the Secret of Joy : “The secret of joy is resistance.” I’m a white radical lesbian feminist, and I associate them with my primary teachers about race in America: Audre Lorde (Sister Outsider) and Derrick Bell (Faces at the Bottom of the well). Lorde’s elegant accessible and mercilessly insightful prose at the intersection of race, class, and sex gave me a steady lens and a decoder ring, and Bell answered the despair clarity can bring with fierce humor, speculation, an outsider interpretation of civil rights history, and a story of the gleam in an old black woman’s eye describing her dealings with white folks.
Racism endures, oppression endures. Joy is not something to wait for til we are free, it is essential to OUR endurance, to achieving integrity in captivity.