"Talking Back" by Bell Hooks

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In'Talking Back, hooks investigates feminist theory in an accessible style and grounds her discussion in personal testimony. Essays discuss homophobia, everyday feminism, the portrayal of women in films, autobiography, and Black women writers. 'Talking Back' renders the readers with an intellectually appealing view of the world through the eyes of a mature black woman…

Introduction

She discusses her use of authority to enable her students. For her, teacher authority is a necessary part of helping her students find their voices. Writing is a healing act of power for this woman who grew up in an "old school" Southern black world where children were meant to be seen and not heard. "Talking Back" was punished with silence. But in the world of woman-talk, where the everyday rules of how to live and how to act were established, hooks made language her birthright. When it comes to bigotry, there are no mincing words; bell hooks talks back. Right to speak is a requisite part of claiming a self. As bell hooks asserts, "moving from silence into speech is for the oppressed, the colonized, the exploited, and those who stand and struggle side by side a gesture of defiance that heals, that makes new life and'growth possible. It is that act of speech of 'talking back,' that is no mere gesture of empty words that is the expression of moving from object to subject-the liberated voice." When it comes to language, she asserts that language'is a crucial issue for folk whose movement outside the boundaries of poor and working-class backgrounds changes the nature and direction of their speech. Language reflects the culture from which we emerge. ...
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