According to the common understanding, a liminal state is supposed to be one we use to pass from one phase to the next. But what happens when that liminal state is a permanent residence? Although Anzaldua passed away in , her ideas may be even more relevant today. As an American-born Chicana, Anzaldua explores the contradictions and challenges of being considered neither one nor the other. She notes often in her writing that this Otherness is socially and culturally — and sometimes — infrastructurally constructed.
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According to the common understanding, a liminal state is supposed to be one we use to pass from one phase to the next. But what happens when that liminal state is a permanent residence? Although Anzaldua passed away in , her ideas may be even more relevant today.
As an American-born Chicana, Anzaldua explores the contradictions and challenges of being considered neither one nor the other. She notes often in her writing that this Otherness is socially and culturally — and sometimes — infrastructurally constructed.
Those who permanently reside in this liminal state already are not considered normal, Anzaldua asserts. Americans see the border people as too Mexican. Mexicans see the border people as too American.
What remains for those of us who oppose the wall is less how we can stop something that will occur anyway and more how we can eschew labels and embrace the Otherness of those along the border. That trick, Anzaldua writes, will require us to fight against what she calls cultural tyranny.
To do so, we need to understand our dominant culture — what it represents and what the effects are. Our dominant society has helped us develop images, stereotypes of Mexican nationals, Chicanx peoples, border peoples. We need a new consciousness, Anzaldua writes, one that values not one dominant culture but one that values more. In essence, the border culture is to be embraced.
That open wound, the split, needs to heal, and we can aid by starting to walk away from what Anzaldua terms dualistic thinking. Anzaldua uses a clever analogy of corn to explain how escaping dualism can benefit us. Corn, of course, is a staple of Mexican food culture. Miles literally and figuratively away , corn also is a staple of Midwest American food culture. Corn can be transformed into tortillas; anyone who has travelled rural American has seen signs in corn fields touting the newest hybrid.
And it is effective. Her metaphors underscore her assertions and her poetry gives images to our ideas. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. Skip to content According to the common understanding, a liminal state is supposed to be one we use to pass from one phase to the next.
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Must Reads: Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa
Today it is my theoretical bible, the text that I turn to first whenever I need to work out a problem in my writing or just to seek solace and resistance in the face of so many physical and psychological attacks on immigrants and people of color post-election. It also privileges ever-changing kinds of physical embodiment and multiple sexualities as modes of resistance in patriarchal cultures. But this inability to fully belong is not a state of despair and abjection — far from it. Rather, it is a productive state that signals agency and adaptability even as it honors the pain that comes with embodying contradiction.
Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
Embracing the Border: Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera
We are your linguistic nightmare, your linguistic aberration, your linguistic mestizaje , the subject of your burla. Because we speak with tongues of fire we are culturally crucified. Chicanas who grew up speaking Chicano Spanish have internalized the belief that we speak poor Spanish. It is illegitimate, a bastard language. And because we internalize how our language has been used against us by the dominant culture, we use our language differences against each other.
Borderlands / La Frontera: The New Mestiza
Borderlands is a semi-autobiographical account that contains a mixture of prose and poetry. El otro Mexico que aca hemos construido, el espacio es lo que ha sido territorio nacional. Este el efuerzo de todos nuestros hermanos y latinoamericanos que han sabido progressar. The other Mexico that we have constructed, the space is what has become national territory. This is the work of all our brothers and Latin Americans who have known how to progress. Esos movimientos de rebeldia que tenemos en la sangre nosotros los mexicanos surgen como rios desbocanados en mis venas. Those rebellious movements we Mexicans have in our blood surge like overflowing rivers in my veins.
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