Friday, November 6, 2009

Anzaldua and Borderlands

In our class yesterday, it seemed that many of us had a bone to pick with Anzaldua and her essay on the new mestiza. Particularly, there were many thoughts on Anzaldua, perhaps, writing from a rather defensive (perhaps embittered) position. If you think that Anzaldua is writing in this manner, how does it affect your reading of the essay? Is credibility lost by way of an overly passionate prose or is the passion refreshing and effective? See the passage below as an example of her bluntness:

"The dominant white culture is killing us slowly with its ignorance. By taking away our self-determination, it has made us weak and empty. As a people we have resisted and we have taken expedient positions, but we have never been allowed to develop unencumbered --we have never been allowed to be fully ourselves. The whites in power want us people of color to barricade ourselves behind our separate tribal walls so they can pick us off one at a time with their hidden weapons; so they can whitewash and distort history" (2219)


  1. Your post actually reminds me of something I meant to bring up in class, but it wasn't on our outline. When I was reading the text, especially the passage which you quoted here, I felt strange reading it in modern context, and I questioned the relevancy of her work as the liberation movements during which she wrote have faded. Perhaps that is a reason we find her writing so irritating at points--how relevant and coherent is it today? No one in our class was alive to experience the liberation movements she represents in her writing, just as none of us live her same ethnic experience. Do you think, had we participated in those movements, we could understand more of where she's coming from?

    It's also possible, however, that even if we had, we would still find issues with her. Overall, I'm left asking the same question: how relevant are her thoughts, especially her opinions toward "the dominant white culture" today?

  2. Mixing it up as always.

    The "production value" isn't great, but it might provide some interesting imiagery to ponder while considering Megan's questions.

  3. Those visuals give a clearer picture than I believe she built with imagery in her text. Perhaps her strong tone does distract and detract from her message. In any event, in my opinion such a tone puts us towards one cultural consciousness, that of the Mexican, rather than the "mestiza", raceless and cultureless, belonging to all and no culture or race, consciousness that she purportedly advocates (yet again disallows by her sometimes aggressive stance). A spoonful of moderation would certainly help this bitter medicine of racial tensions and identities go down.

  4. As long as nobody was mad at the presentation of Anzaldua I'm happy haha.

    I definitely think that Anzaldua does lose some credibility due to what I would call overreaction. She does write in a very firey manner but at the same time she is very angry, which to many I can see how this would make her lose credence as a contemporary writer. While her culture, sexual orientation, etc... is treated with a certain amount of disdain by mainstream society (white society) at the same time it seems almost like she tries to flout this fact to make her point and ultimately get her way

  5. I think that Anzaldua's point is definitely clear although I do not know if she is representing her points as efficiently as possible. In my Post Colonial Literature class we just read a text by Jamaica Kincaid, which reminded me of Anzaldua and her style. The piece by Kincaid is called "A Small Place." In this text, Kincaid attempts to have her voice heard in a similar way to Anzaldua. Instead of proactively representing herself, it seems as if she is angry and belittling her readers. Kincaid is dissatisfied with the way Colonialism has impacted Antigua, mainly the great affects of tourism on the economy, the corruption in the government, and the lack of identity in native culture due to European influence.

    Just thought that is was interesting that both texts were read simultaneously and conveyed similar points in similar manors.

  6. I'm in the same other literature class as Zach and made the same parallels between Anzaldua and Kincaid. Both write in a defensive tone against the colonizers, and against those who oppose minority cultures.
    Over the weekend I went to a small conference sort of gathering by STAND, which is an organization that hopes to lessen poverty across the world. One thing that a speaker said which really stuck with me was "responsibility is the ability to respond". I feel that both of these writers are simply doing their duty to respond to the events around them and how they are effecting them, particularly as they are the inferior race in the situation.