Of the writings you have analyzed during the semester, which have impacted you the most – personally, socially, politically, and “spiritually” (not in a religious context; spiritual processes – mind, body, soul) (as defined / employed / characterized by any one of or a number of the writers)?
From Colonize This! Susan Muaddi Darraj’s “It’s Not an Oxymoron: The Search for an Arab Feminism” was one of the first essays to really impact me because I was able to see the world beyond my own world view. One size will not fit all; thus, feminism must adapt itself to situations in which contradictions are allowed to exist simultaneously, such as a woman taking her husband’s last name for social purposes but maintaining her maiden name for business purposes. The same is true for feminism throughout the world. White, middle class, American feminism will not work in places where families and religion are considered a blessing (298).
There were several essays in This Bridge We Call Home that spoke to me, but Diana Courvant’s “Speaking of Privilege” was a smack to my face. This was me. I was completely ignorant about white privilege when I began the Literature by Women of Color course. For some reason, having another person with a background I perceive to be similar to mine explain privilege and the harm my ignorance does to women of color finally made complete sense. It’s a shame that it 2/3 of the way through the second of three books for me to get it, but I understand more about white privilege now. I just wish I’d learned about this when I was younger. My task now is to make other white who are unaware aware of the systemic racism in America.
This Bridge Called My Back truly was a radical book. It seems cliché to say that now, but its poetry and criticism are still potent today. It truly is a shame that the book is no longer in print. I could say many things about many of the essays and poems, but Gloria Anzaldúa’s “Speaking In Tongues: A Letter To 3rd [sic] World Women Writers” spoke to me so much that I developed an entire essay based on its format and am in the process of writing my book chapter using that essay as a basis.
There are a couple essays from The Woman That I Am that have also affected me. This text was initially assigned as the basis for our final paper, but as the course progressed the focus of our final paper became the book chapter that each of us would write. Thus, The Woman That I Am fell off the syllabus. One of the most thought-provoking essays is Trinh T. Minh-ha’s “Grandma’s Story,” which examines the difference between fact and story and the idea that a story may be truthful in character (463) but not factual. Minh-ha examines this idea in detail by looking at Leslie Marmon Silko’s “Story-Teller.” The idea that there is a truth different from the Western idea of truth as fact has been brewing in my mind for quite some time. Here is a piece of writing that explicates that idea. In addition, Paula Gunn Allen’s “Something Sacred Going On out There: Myth and Vision in American Indian Literature” continues the idea of truth in character versus truth as fact. Both essays capture the essence of what Western culture fails to realize: there are multiple paths to knowledge just as there are multiple types of knowledge.
Allen, Paula Gunn. “Something Sacred Going On out There: Myth and Vision in American Indian Literature.” The Woman That I Am: The Literature and Culture of Contemporary Women of Color. Ed. D. Soyini Madison. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994. 547-560. Print.
Anzaldúa, Gloria. “now let us shift. . .the path of conocimiento . . . inner work, public acts.” This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation. Eds. Glorida E. Anzaldúa and Analouise Keating. New York: Routledge, 2002. 540-578. Print.
—. “Speaking In Tongues: A Letter to 3rd World Women Writers.” This Bridge Called My Back. 2nd ed. Eds. Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa. New York: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, 1983. 165-173. Print.
Darraj, Susan Muaddi. “It’s Not an Oxymoron: The Search for an Arab Feminism” Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism. Eds. Daisy Hernández and Bushra Rehman. Emeryville, CA: Seal Press, 2002. 295-311. Print.
Courvant, Diana. “Speaking of Privilege.” This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation. Eds. Glorida E. Anzaldúa and Analouise Keating. New York: Routledge, 2002. 458-463. Print.
Minh-ha, Trinh T. “Grandma’s Story.” The Woman That I Am: The Literature and Culture of Contemporary Women of Color. Ed. D. Soyini Madison. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994. 462-485. Print.