bell hooks


Teaching to Transgress:  Education as the Practice of Freedom

(New York:  Routledge, 1994)



Chapter 11

Language:  Teaching New Worlds/New Words



Adrienne Rich's poem, "The Burning of Paper Instead of Children" (167)

--    "This is the oppressor's language yet I need it to talk to you" (Rich)

----    "Standard English is not the speech of exile.  It is the language of conquest and domination; in the United States, it is the mask which hides the loss of so many tongues, all those sounds of diverse, native communities we will never hear, the speech of the Gullah, Yiddish, and so many other unremembered tongues" (hooks, 168)


Gloria Anzaldua in Borderlands/La Frontera

--     "So, if you really want to hurt me, talk badly about my language" (Anzaldua)

--      "It is difficult not to hear in standard English always the sound of slaughter and conquest" (hooks, 169)


--     "Learning English, learning to speak the alien tongue, was one way enslaved Africans began to reclaim their personal power within a context of domination" (hooks, 170)

--    "The power of this speech is not simply that it enable resistance to white supremacy, but that it also forges a space for alternative cultural production and alternative epistemologies—different way of thinking and knowing that were crucial to creating a counter-hegemonic worldview" (hooks, 171)

--   "it is evident that we must change conventional ways of thinking about language, creating spaces where diverse voices can speak in words other than English or in broken, vernacular speech" (hooks, 173-174)