Books and Breakfast: Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

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On Saturday, September 24th, Books and Breakfast took place again at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, where community members and students came together to discuss the powerful text Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde.

Led by Dr. Terri Jett,  Associate Professor of Political Science, the discussion focused on themes highlighted in the book. The attendees split into two groups, and were initially guided by a series of discussion questions. The questions reflected on topics such as feminism, having a voice in society, diversity, capitalism, and considerations of Audre Lorde’s work in the context of today’s society.

Many of the participating students were from a Butler University class titled “Activism.”  The class’ topic this semester focused on hunger-related activism, and this flavored the discussion, allowing the participants to consider Lorde’s text in the context of real world activism.

As the discussion unfolded, attendees discussed misconceptions of feminism in the public and how examining its roots in texts like Lorde’s can help challenge these misconceptions. In particular, the importance of intersectionality in today’s feminism was discussed, considering Lorde’s convergence of many perspectives and her bravery in so openly discussing her identity and giving such outspoken criticism of society in the time period it was written.

Another topic that was focused upon was the critique of capitalism that Sister Outsider offers. The particular suffering of the marginalized in the current form of this system was discussed, as well as the best way to work toward reforming or replacing the system that leads to this suffering. The need to focus on empowering community members to cooperate with each other and make changes in their own neighborhoods to improve the situation was repeatedly considered, and the discussion greatly benefited from the perspective of community members that were in attendance.

The event seemed to be a success. “I feel like this was a great way to start a Saturday,” said Butler Student Addie Barret, “I love to discuss marginalized communities because I think it’s really important. I don’t think it’s something people are comfortable talking about.” Events like Books and Breakfast allow for intentional discussion of topics that many may not normally have the opportunity to consider. “It was very enlightening. I didn’t know what to expect. I enjoyed it,” said community member Marvalynn Jones.

We invite you to attend the next Books and Breakfast on November 5th. We will be discussing  Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser. I look forward to another engaging conversation and free breakfast!

By: Chad Marks

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