Your Silence Will Not Protect You: Essays and Poems

Publication Year
Number of Copies


Pinelopi Flaouna

When I first joined OPL I was uncertain as to where I should begin with. I decided to borrow Audre Lorde's " Your silence will not protect you", as it was a recommended reading by the OPL librarian.

Audre Lorde's poetry is a darkness, that touches everyone's soul. It is a powerful, political and socially focused poetry. It pinpoints the dark moments in the history of liberation and rights of Black people in general and of black women in particular: racism, sexism, hatred. The sense of entitlement of white race is shown with the darkest of colours: the atrocity of their crimes, the justifiable accumulated resentment and hatred of Black people towards these atrocities. Similarly, the crimes of Black men against Black women are there to remind us another sense of entitlement: that of gender. It is not alleviated by the fact that they are of the same race. Instead, it makes those crimes be the cruellest and highlights the dual sexism that Black women had to face: that of white men, and that of black men. Furthermore, it explores the limits in which this sexism expands within the same gender: what is the stereotypical black woman's behaviour and with how much hatred/exclusion will women who dare to break free from what's considered as 'tradition'.

Unlike an ancient Greek tragedy, there is not a sense of catharsis. The crimes and the hatred against them are there to been seen. Are there to remind us and to alert us to the pain and the terror the Black people experience on a daily basis.

Another brilliant aspect are the talks and essays of Audre Lorde, that have either been read in conferences, either are parts of interviews or letters. Audre demonstrates with a humble but proud voice all the differences that divide Black and white women. How the latter tend to neglect and not grasp the tremendous difficulties and the further discrimination that Black women have to deal with. How, unless white women understand, or better admit the privileges of their race, they won't achieve a full understanding of Black women's oppression.

Audre's tone and essays touched me. As an immigrant woman, even though privileged by my race, I can well understand how it is to be discriminated even by my own gender and even by my own race. This can be felt it in every aspect in my life: from the treatment an immigrant will receive because of their accent, the way they do not befall into the norms of the society. Imagine the same x10 times worse: this is how a Black woman feels. And Audre is there to speak for them, without hiding a single piece of a harsh reality.

To conclude, "The Silence will not protect you" is a perfect reading to make us ponder and actually be aware and be a part of the voices that promote change in the society. Her easily-read and well written arguments stem from the Heart of the Black Mother. Her voice and her anger, the considered as "non feminine features" are there to remind us that the distinction between masculine and feminine is artificial. That whichever part of us is considered as masculine or vice versa is not gender based. Feelings are felt universally by every gender and the parts of them which we discriminate as "masculine" or "feminine" are there to tell us something about our psyche and the hidden energy inside us.

Many thanks for this amazing book recommendation! I cannot wait to read more.
5 years ago


Please login to write a review.