Cherie Moraga Preface

Cherie Moraga writes the Preface for This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color as a series of personal experiences. The experiences add up to reveal to the reader what the purpose behind the book is, to her. What the motivation Moraga had for bringing together writings not only feminist, but radical. Not by just any women, but by a specific community of women whose writings were not propagated at the time.

Her journey begins with a visit to Barbara Smith in Boston, who calls her sister, despite the fact that Moraga is Chicana and Smith Black. "But the passage is through, not over, not by, not around, but through. This book, as long as I see it for myself as a passage through, I hope will function for others, colored or white, in the same way" (xiv). This book was a project of passion, and a passionate desire to build understanding. Unconscious exclusion is based on not knowing enough about the other to understand how to invite them in. How can we stop that without talking to each other and gaining the ability to consciously include?
It is a calculated system of damage intended to ensure our separation from other women, but particularly those we learned to see as most different from ourselves, and therefore, most fearful. The women whose pain we do not want to see as our own. Call it racism, class oppression, men, or dyke-baiting, the system thrives. 
The oppressed find differences, others, and join the dominant faction in oppressing these new others. Those in turn find others to oppress, and the cycle continues in a downward spiral. Never punching up, for fear of retribution.

For Moraga, these women write the body. They embody the words that they have written for this anthology. "The materialism in this book lives in the flesh of these women's lives: the exhaustion we feel in our bones at the end of the day, the first we feel in our hearts when we are insulted, the knife we feel in our backs when we are betrayed, the nausea we feel in our bellies when we are afraid, even the hunger we feel between our hips when we long to be touched" (xviii). Emotion and the body are tied together. Is that how women write the body? By writing our lives, through the flesh with which we experience it?

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