Audre Lorde’s There is No Hierarchy of Oppressions is a personal take from the author on what it is like to grow up as a member of a number of different groups that are often oppressed and “hated” in America. Lorde is a black woman who is also a lesbian. She raises two children as a part of an interracial couple. From these experiences, she has concluded that all forms of oppression come from the same source and that no form of oppression is more important or more meaningful than any other.
Keith Boykin wrote in the Huffington Post about a trend in the African-American community. Many in that community have been slow to back same-sex marriage rights. More than that, many leaders within the community have been unwilling to concede that the oppression of homosexual people is akin to the oppression faced by black people over the course of time. Boykin described the situation in the past, which he admits is changing, when he wrote, “But all that started to change in 2003 when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued its groundbreaking decision making it the first state to allow same-sex marriage. The decision prompted outrage from critics, including some vocal black ministers. Suddenly, black gays and lesbians were under attack within their own community on an issue they hadn’t necessarily chosen” (Boykin). It is clear that the black community has undergone a transition on this issue, as many of its leaders did not see gay rights as being a worthy cause for many years leading up to this one.
Oppression is all around us, and it is important to understand a person’s pain is real no matter what the source of that pain might be. It is not fair to say that one form of oppression is any better or more worthy of attention than another. This article can teach me and all other people to spend our time advocating on a wide range of different people, even if that form of oppression is not in a popular form.
- Boykin, Keith, Huffington Post, “Why Blacks Evolved So ‘Quickly’ on Gay Marriage,” June 5, 2012, retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/keith-boykin/black-community-gay-marriage_b_1567781.html