In this week’s reading of Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference by Audre Lorde, Lorde made it clear that the world is made up of binaries.  While these binaries are important in order to define opposition, they also give the idea that that one part of a binary is superior to the other.  “In a society where good is defined in terms of profit rather than in terms of human need, there must always be some group of people who…occupy the place of the dehumanized inferior” (114).  Lorde is making the case that while some people are considered superior, others are considered inferior. In order to be superior in our society, Lorde states that one has to be male, white, and heterosexual.  Therefore all women, blacks, and homosexuals are considered inferior.  These binaries would be considered, judgments, and these judgments keeps groups separate, even when they do not need to be, and gives people the idea that differences must be considered as either good or bad.

                This reminded me of a book I am reading for my class, Movement for the Theatre.  The book is The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey.  While this book might seem to have nothing to do with this class, considering it is about tennis, it actually has very little to do with the technical aspects of tennis, and instead the book discusses how observing and recognizing aspects of the game of tennis, without judging your own performance is the best way improve your own game.  Lorde discusses how “many white women are heavely invested in ignoring the real differences” between black women and themselves (118).Therefore they are viewing their own recognition of difference as a negative thing instead of observing the differences without judgment, and just accepting them.  Lorde goes on to say that after this judgment takes place guilt quickly follows, and the guilt will continue until differences longer mean that someone must be inferior (118).  This goes along perfectly with Gallwey’s thoughts on judgments in the game of tennis.  He states that judgment “perpetuates the process of thinking and self-conscious performance.  As a consequence…negative evaluations are likely to continue with growing intensity” (Gallwey 19). Therefore, one’s judgments about their own game only leads to them over-thinking their game, and not reaching their desired outcome.  So if judgement, positive or negative keeps one from being focused and reaching our goals, then women judging differences makes it impossible for us to unite the way Lorde wants us too.

Even though it is important not to judge differences as good or bad, Lorde stresses that recognizing differences is still important.  “Refusing to recognize difference makes it impossible to see the different problems and pitfalls facing us as women” (118).  Gallwey could not agree more about the importance of recognition and observation.  He says that “letting go of judgment does not mean ignoring errors.  It simply means seeing events as they are and not adding anything to them” (Gallwey 20).  This is exactly what Lorde seems to be asking for in her piece.  She wants all women to unite, but says that making our differences mean that one group is inferior to another makes it impossible for women to unite and reach our desired outcome of equality. 

 

Megan Taub

 

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