[from Adrienne Rich's Blood, Bread, and Poetry]
There are betrayals in my life that I have known at the very moment were betrayals: this was one of them. There are other betrayals committed so repeatedly, so mundanely, that they leave no memory trace behind, only a growing residue of misery, of dull, accreted self-hatred. Often these take the form not of words but of silence. Silence before the joke at which everyone is laughing: the anti-woman joke, the racist joke, the anti-Semitic joke. Silence and then amnesia. Blocking it out when the oppressor’s language starts coming from the lips of one we admire, whose courage and eloquence have touched us: She didn’t really mean that; he didn’t really say that. But the accretions build up out of sight, like scale inside a kettle.