Tiffany JohnsonQueer and Feminist Diaspora Studies Final Essay The Master’s Tools will never Dismantle the Master’s House Introduction: Speaks Out and Speaks up, Focusing on the Voices of the MarginalizedThis is an old and primary tool of all oppressors to keep the oppressed occupied with the master’s concerns (pp 27).In 1979, the New York Institute for the Humanities presented The Second Sex — Thirty Years Later: A Commemorative Conference on Feminist Theory. It was during this conference that writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist, Audre Lorde, criticized the feminist movement and feminist theory, of that time, during her well-known speech The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House. This powerful and still very relevant speech, spoke to and awaken the ambivalent role of the white women within Western culture, specifically in the United States. Spotlighting their role as being oppressed, women, but the oppressor in manys ways as discussed below, Lorde emphasized their neo-colonial social and political practices within academia that ignored and/or just tolerating differences in class, race, gender, access, and live experiences among marginalized and oppressed groups. By speaking up and out, Lorde challenged the socio-political racist and discriminative binary systems. Bringing to focus the voices of the social disadvantaged, Lorde confronted the reformism in feminism by pushing for them, mainly white women, to work towards a more radical and fluid way of structuring feminism and feminist theory. By centering the marginalized, Lorde urged everyone to shift the dialogue, and understanding and position of marginalized groups, especially the poor, lesbians, black, disabled persons, and older folks in society and in academia. Audre Lorde focused on transfiguring the economic state and the expressive and informative platforms beyond variabilities and polarizations. To Lorde, this change required putting an end to complicity in the symbolic and economic oppression of others (on complicity, Mathison, McPhail, and Strine 1997). Lorde’s objective seemed to acknowledge the practices within academia, and feminism that leads to rejection, tokenism, suppression, and exclusion by elevating the alertness and responsiveness within feminist theory. These practices are still visible today as they were at the conference in 1979. Even-though, Audre Lorde centered the speech around the issues within feminism and feminist theory, the content of the speech was and has been useful when considering and challenging the use of power and dominance to obtain liberation through conscious ignorance and artificial alliances; for the greater good of self and whiteness. Implementing Audre Lorde’s speech, here I look to reevaluate and analyze the ‘masters tool’ as repressive and impermantive mechanisms that can socially and politically restrict black, brown, LGBTQIA, disabled persons, and and many other oppressive beings in academia, society, economically and politically, specially here in white feminism and white feminist theory. Additionally, I look to question and examine if/how identity can be reshaped through knowledge production, disturbing social categories, redefining marginality, and how we can defining/alter our own identities using a queer lens. Pseudo-alliance and MarginalityIf white American feminist theory need not deal with the differences between us, and the resulting difference in our oppressions, then how do you deal with the fact that the women who clean your houses and tend your children while you attend conferences on feminist theory are, for the most part, poor women and women of Color? What is the theory behind racist feminism? (pp 27).First things first, there has to be an acknowledgement that there was never a moment in history after the enslavement of black beings in America and the creation of white women feminism that would allow a space for black and white women to come together and get to know each others differences via lived experiences, black women trauma due to slavery, and cultural differences. The creation of the first wave of feminism and the movements that followed those principles were for and has always been for white women rights and positioning within society. Black, brown and other marginalized groups, has always been ‘Othered’ throughout American history and it’s unrealistic to believe that similarities in social oppressions will create a bond or new social structure without recognizing that the country was built on principles of social, sexual and racial hierarchies. The same principles that were/are ingrained in many mentalities, mainly white people. Racism and sexism are two oppressive forces women of color cannot separate or ignore. If white women truly wanted black women involvement in the feminist movement, outside of being present but not active, there would have been an active acknowledgment of the multi-layered social struggles women of color encountered. Therefore, historically speaking, white feminism racist ideology is the backbone of white feminist theory and academia which lead to the lack of recognition dn inclusion of other oppressed groups. Ultimately, white women reformists, white feminist, wanted to disassemble some systems of oppression and privileges, specifically sexism, but still wanted the ability to enforced these same oppressive conditions onto the marginalized through racism, sexism, age differences, and class. This is due to white feminist refused to recognize their aspiration with holding on to some of the material, socio-political, and representations of privileges. In Anti-Essentialism and Intersectionality: Tools to Dismantle the Master’s House (2013), Trina Grillo states: The most vivid description of this interrelationship has been given by Adrienne Davis. Describing privilege and subordination as a “double-headed hydra”: you cannot get rid of the subordination without eliminating the privilege as well (pp 19). There has to be a recognition that for white, middle class women, they are socially inferior as a woman in comparison to their white male peers. Not taking away or muting their experience as a women, but also speaking on the privileges their race holds them and the fact that the foundation of white privileges is created on the backs of other marginalized groups. Standing on the backs of someone else’s oppressions to climb up to what you perceive as your social ladder. Women experiences of oppression, are not identical, and white women oppressions can not be seen as the stand-in for all women. Without acknowledging their privileges, and recognizing the mental and social cleanse that was and is needed to create a society were all women are equal (legally, mentally, physically, sexually, and spiritually), beautifully and creatively different, and able to shape their identity as women as they see fit, all women will continue to be oppressed. But our existence and participation is a threat to white privileges. From this any forms of alliance and organizations between white women and other marginalized groups that have been and continue to be created without admitting or recognizing these issues will always be forming a pseudo-alliance that omits the voices and issues of the most marginalized groups and reinforces white-norms and hierarchies. This also applies to other oppressive groups and organizations were some members hold privilege over others, and those privileges thrive through the minimization of other marginalized groups and beings. I believe the colonial ideology leaked into other oppressive groups, for example the LGBTQIA communities. This can be seen, when mainly white non-hetersexual men, use theirs alliances and association with other marginalized groups to create social and political changes, such as the right to gay marriage, but this ultimately helps to shift the society in accepting/tolerating their non-hetersexual differences. It doesn’t dismantle their privilege in the social structures, but heightens it. The saying goes ‘All skin folks, ain’t kin folks’ meaning just because an individually racially or culturally are similar to you doesn’t mean their support you. We have to admit and speak out against the segregation and discrimination within and between all marginalized groups and communities, as the colonial mentality also affected non-white communities psyches. Where there is self-hatred, a yearning to belong in society that only wants to use, abuse and in the end terminate your existence, there is presence of colonial ideology of self and civilization. Governing paradigms which have structured all of our lives are so powerful that we can think we are doing progressive work, dismantling the structures of racism and other oppressions, when in fact we are reinforcing the paradigms In the end these types of alliances, only creates a temporary space of belonging and only allows the representation of marginalized beings but never their voices, options, or actions (Grillo, 2013, pp 16). In the end, no one’s free unless we’re all free to make our own choices, create our own identity, and live in a society beyond tolerance and othering.