Speaking In Tongues, By Zadie Smith

2354 Words 10 Pages
The voices we use every day may not seem to be of importance when thinking about an individual’s identity, however the human voice is something worth paying attention to. Some people have different voices that they use for different environments, while others have one main voice they use to communicate with people in their surroundings. In “Speaking in Tongues”, Zadie Smith explains the up and downsides of speaking with more than one voice, as it can either provide flexibility for things in life or come off as unauthentic for the speaker. Having many different voices can be a result of imitating languages from other cultures through memes, as people will tend to pick up on all different kinds of accents and languages and put them to their …show more content…
Many people including myself can say that having different voices can affect the way people perceive our identity whether personally or culturally. However, using multiple voices may be beneficiary when communicating with different categories of people, as the current president of the United States, Barack Obama does so in order to fix all issues going on in the country and sometimes internationally. Someone in such a high leadership position like Obama needs to use different voices when conversing with others to make people feel relatable and relevant in their community. Obama’s voices come from a world called Dream city where [everything is doubled, everything is various. You have no choice but to speak in tongues] (Smith 252). Obama’s use of different voices is a strategy to appear open to all possibilities that citizens of American will bring when they approach him. Zadie Smith describes the ambiguous voices of Obama by saying, “He says one thing but he means another”—this is the essence of the fear of the campaign. He says he’s a capitalist, but he’ll spread your wealth. He says he’s a Christian, but he’s going to empower the Muslims…. He says sweet potato pie in Philly and Main Street in Iowa” (Smith 253)! Obama simply wants to unify everyone together and therefore refrains to share a one-sided opinion about a particular topic. He wants everyone to feel a sense of belonging, which makes him very likeable among Americans and …show more content…
Although, some people attempt to use singular voices when communication with others, it is inevitable to do so. We all need to use multiple voices to be appropriate in different social situations. For instance, how we might talk to our friends is different from how we voice ourselves to our families, or professors and elders. It is not honest to say that having multiple voices do not allow us to pass or fit into desired social groups; however, that is not a terrible thing as people may need to fake it to make it in certain situations. Having multiple voices can also reveal the different layers of your identity or personality, as using only one voice will conceal some other behaviors that may not come out when conversing with others. Smith describes the good that comes out of having multiple voices by describing President Obama’s dreams saying, “For Obama, having more than one voice in your ear is not a burden, or not solely a burden—it is also a gift. And the gift is of an interesting kind, not well served by that dull publishing title Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance with its suggestion of a simple linear inheritance, of paternal dreams and aspirations passed down to a son, and fulfilled” (Smith 251). Obama’s use of multiple voices benefited in a way that helped him achieve all his desires and his dreams. Being bi-racial (black and white), he had challenges with race and took the right direction

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