Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism

By Trinh T. Minh-Ha | Go to book overview

III.
Difference: “A Special:
Third World
Women Issue”

It is thrilling to think—to know that for any act of mine, I shall
get twice as much praise or twice as much blame. It is quite
exciting to hold the center of the national stage, with the
spectators not knowing whether to laugh or to weep

—Zora Neale Hurston,
“How It Feels to Be Colored Me”

It must be odd
to be a minority
he was saying.
I looked around
and didn’t see any.
So I said
Yeah
it must be
.

—Mitsuye Yamada,
“Looking Out” in Camp Notes

Words empty out with age. Die and rise again, accordingly invested with new meanings, and always equipped with a secondhand memory. In trying to tell something, a woman is told, shredding herself into opaque words while her voice dissolves on the walls of silence. Writing: a commitment of language. The web of her gestures, like all modes of writing, denotes a historical solidarity (on the understanding that her story remains inseparable from history). She has been warned of the risk she incurs by letting words run off the rails, time and again tempted by the desire to gear herself to the accepted norms. But where has obedience led her? At best, to the satisfaction of a “made-woman,” capable of achieving as high a mastery of discourse as that of the male establishment in power. Immediately gratified, she will, as years go by, sink into oblivion, a fate she inescapably shares with her foresisters. How many, already, have been condemned to premature deaths for having borrowed the master’s tools and thereby

-79-

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Woman, Native, Other: Writing Postcoloniality and Feminism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • The Story Began Long Ago … 1
  • I - Commitment from the Mirror-Writing Box 5
  • II - The Language of Nativism- Anthropology as a Scientific Conversation of Man with Man 47
  • III - Difference- "A Special Third World Women Issue" 79
  • IV - Grandma’s Story 119
  • Notes 153
  • Selected Bibliography 161
  • Index 169
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