Audre Lorde writes from the fabric of her life: black woman, lesbian, feminist, activist, daughter of immigrant parents, mother of a biracial child, cancer survivor. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches explores ways of increasing empowerment among minority women and the need for women to candidly deal with racism, sexism, and classism. It also promotes the unity of difference. Lorde explores the fear and hatred that exists between black men and women, lesbians and heterosexuals, and black women and white women and insists that we all must find common ground.
Lorde had an abiding belief in the unity of all peoples and the crucial role of communication in bridging the divisions that separate us. Rather than turning a blind eye to our different identities, she insisted that through the process of naming those differences and honestly and justly dealing with them, divergent perspectives could be brought together. Lorde's own identity crosses so many racial, sexual, and physical lines that in a sense she belongs to no one group and was thus able to see us all with a unique, unprejudiced clarity.
Sister Outsider covers almost a decade of Lorde's work. Nine of the pieces were written after she discovered that she had cancer. In the process of her coming to terms with her disease, she discovered universal lessons that we can all take with us in our struggles, whatever they be. Lorde finally lost her battle with cancer in 1992, but she has left behind a stirring legacy for us all.