“I use labels because we haven’t gotten beyond race or class or other differences yet. When I don’t assert certain aspects of my identity like the spiritual part or my queerness, they get overlooked and I’m diminished. When we come to a time when I don’t have to say, ‘Look, I’m a dyke,’ or ‘I’m spiritual,’ or ‘I’m intellectual,’ I’ll stop using labels. That’s what I want to work towards. But until we come to that time, if you lay your body down and don’t declare certain facets of yourself, they get stepped on.”—Gloria Anzaldúa (via thatswhatshesaidquotes)
If we feel deeply, and we encourage ourselves and others to feel deeply, we will find the germ of our answers to bring about change. Because once we recognize what it is we are feeling, once we recognize we can feel deeply, love deeply, can feel joy, then we will demand that all parts of our lives produce that kind of joy. And when they do not, we will ask, “Why don’t they?” And it is the asking that will lead us inevitably toward change.
So the question of social protest and art is inseparable for me. I can’t say it is an either-or proposition. Art for art’s sake doesn’t really exist for me. What I saw was wrong, and I had to speak up. I loved poetry, and I loved words. But what was beautiful had to serve the purpose of changing my life, or I would have died. If I cannot air this pain and alter it, I will surely die of it. That’s the beginning of social protest.