Making It Work: Audre Lorde’s “The Master’s Tools” and the Unbearable Difference of GSOC

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Elizabeth Loeb


At heart, I am asking whether, in our passion for a contract, we may have at times undermined the strength of our union and of our strike by failing to consider the experiences of empowerment and disempowerment that were encountered by our own members within the union.  I am further suggesting that we may have ourselves failed to interrogate our own use of the master’s tools, and that we may have deployed such tools at our own expense. More specifically, I will offer my analysis of the three themes listed above in order to suggest that in all three cases, we might have strengthened ourselves as a union by paying greater respect and attention to the raced, gendered, and sexed experiences of GSOC members.  For the first theme, I will question how GSOC reproduced the tension found in the conversation between Lorde and Benjamin through our frequent public silence regarding the raced and gendered issues raised internally by our members.

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