Read By: Roxane Gay - 92Y, New York

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Read By: Roxane Gay

May 13, 2020

This episode was re-released on June 1, 2020.

Roxane Gay on her selection:

There is this thing that happens, all too often, when a black woman is being introduced in a professional setting. Her accomplishments tend to be diminished. The introducer might laugh awkwardly, rushing through whatever impoverished remarks they have prepared. Rarely do they do the necessary research to offer any sense of whom they are introducing. The black woman is spoken of in terms of anecdote rather than accomplishment. She is referred to as sassy on Twitter, maybe, or as a lover of bacon, random tidbits bearing no relation to the reasons why she is in that professional setting. Whenever this happens to me or I witness it happening to another black woman, I turn to Audre Lorde. I wonder how Lorde would respond to such a micro-aggression because in her prescient writings she demonstrated, time and again, a remarkable and necessary ability to stand up for herself, her intellectual prowess and that of all black women, with power and grace. She recognized the importance of speaking up because silence would not protect her or anyone. She recognized that there would never be a perfect time to speak up because, “while we wait in silence for that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us.”

Drawn from her editor's introduction to The Selected Works of Audre Lorde, forthcoming this fall. Pre-order at


Intro and outro from "Shift of Currents" by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0

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Categories: Literary Read By
Tags: Roxane Gay

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