My initial reaction to “Speaking in Tongues: A Letter to 3rd World Woman Writer” by Gloria Anzaldua first makes me reflect on how I have felt when, in a religious setting, watching someone speak in tongues. I feel as though I dont understand where this is coming from, I’m totally confused as it happens and I want a better understanding of what these people are going through. Anzaldua shows me that these same feeling are felt by people trying to understand female writers, but she is also reacting to the eyes that have been set apon her and others.
Anzaldua uses words of Cherrie Moraga to explain her “lack the language”. Even though Anzaldua and many other woman of color have “degrees, credentials and published books” she does not want to be “reduced to purveyors of resource list”. Through her writings and the writing of colored women Anzaldua does not want to tokenize the life and trials of womanhood that is not white.
She notes there is a differance between races but is afraid of making it too easy to make the blight of all races equal and even is afraid of becoming a sellout.”White eyes do not want to know us, they do not bother to learn our language, the language which reflects us” she realizes a lack of writing of the third word experience. Anzaldua is afraid of leaving behind the feelings and truths of the non-white female write to adopt the language and feeling of the white writer losing her native tongue when trying to enlighten others to the experiences of the third world. Speaking in tongues revealed itself to me as a soul search on what tongue to use in conveying ones feelings and life experiences.
Anzaldua feels that the the female third world writer has been stifled making her question herself Why am I compelled to write?” She finds strength in writing because she feels that writing “validates us a human” and encourages third world female writers to write fusing “personal experience and world view with the social reality we live in”