I cannot hide my anger to spare your guilt, nor your hurt feelings, nor answering anger; for to do so insults and trivializes all our efforts. Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.
– Audre Lorde from the essay “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism” – in the text Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde
My THAC-colleague, Ajamu, had this in his sig file for an email he sent me. Ajamu often has lengthy quotations in his sig, and I often skim over them, but I’m glad I read this one fully because it communicates something in different words that I have heard many times over the last few years.