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Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa (Ch. 7)

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Euge Federico

on 25 May 2014

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Transcript of Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa (Ch. 7)

"Her fist step is to take inventory.
Despojando, desgranando, quitando paja
. Just what did she inherit from her ancestors? This weight on her back - which is the baggage from the Indian mother, which the baggage from the Spanish father, which the baggage from the Anglo? (p. 104)
Mexican War - Invasion
Mental Nepantilism
Gloria Anzaldúa
About the author


Path towards a new consciousness: The Mestiza Way

- Recover – Reconcile - Vindicate
- Acceptance – Recognition - Tolerance
- La Encrucijada / The Crossroad
- New Consciousness
- (R)evolution

The Mestiza Way
The new mestiza consciousness empowers the oppressed (el pueblo Chicano, women, indigenous peoples) and gives them a voice to challenge the borders constructed by patriarchal discourse, binarisms and otherness.
"Cradled in one culture sandwiched between two cultures, straddling all three cultures and their value systems,
la mestiza
undergoes a struggle of flesh, a struggle of borders and inner war." (p. 100)
crossed by several layers
indigenous / mexican / woman / lesbian

“The Anglo, feeling inadequate and inferior and powerless, displaces or transfers these feelings to the Chicano by shaming him. In Gringo world, the Chicano suffers from excessive humility and self-effacement, shame of self and self-deprecation.” (p. 105)
"I am possessed by a vision: that we Chicanas and Chicanos have taken back or uncovered our true faces, our dignity and self-respect. It's a validation vision." (p. 109)
La Encrucijada/The Crossroad
I am queer
"Being lesbian and raised catholic, indoctrinated as a straight,
I made the choice to be queer
(for some it is genetically inherent). It's an interesting path, one that continually slips in and out of the white, the Catholic, the Mexican, the indigenous, the instinct." (p. 41)
A self-described "chicana dyke-feminist, tejana patlache poet, writer, and cultural theorist."
She was born in 1942 in South Texas Rio Grande Valley. She died in 2004.

Borderlands/La Frontera (1987) examines the condition of women in Chicano and Latino culture, Chicanos in white American society, and lesbians in the straight world. Through a combination of history and personal narrative, Anzaldúa allows the reader both a close-up and distanced view into a life of alienation and isolation as a prisoner in the borderlands between cultures.

Her book is dedicated to being proud of one's heritage and to recognizing the many dimensions of her culture.

Source: University of Minnesota - Voices from the Gaps
“At some point, on our way to a new consciousness, we will have to leave the opposite bank, the split between the two mortal combatants somehow healed so that we are on both shores at once and, at once, see through serpent and eagle eyes.” (p. 100-101)
"We are the people who leap in the dark, we are the people on the knees of the gods. In our very flesh, (r)evolution works out the clash of cultures. It makes us crazy constantly, but if the center holds, we've made some kind of evolutionary step forward." (p. 103)
Cultural distinctiveness
"Chicano Spanish is a border tongue which developed naturally. Change,
evolución, enriquecimiento de palabras nuevas por invención o adopción
have created variants of Chicano Spanish,
un nuevo lenguaje
Un lenguaje que corresponde a un modo de vivir.
Chicano Spanish is not incorrect, it is a living language. . . Neither
español ni inglés
, but both." (p. 77)
New Consciousness
de Mujer
A consciousness of the Borderlands
heal the split
erasure of borders
Thank you.
Borderlands/La Frontera
by Gloria Anzaldúa
Chapter 7: La Conciencia de la mestiza
Towards a New Consciousness
untranslated words

"This land has survived possession and ill-use by five countries: Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the U.S., the Confederacy and the U.S. again. It has survived Anglo-Mexican blood feuds, lynchings, burnings, rapes, pillage." (p. 112)
"The 'lost land' she rediscovers or uncovers is always grounded in a specific material history of what was once northern Mexico . . . the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo signed on February 2, 1848, as the document that created a new U.S. minority: American citizens of Mexican descent . . . the appropriation of land by Anglo-Americans who did more than take territory: the process of absorption into the U.S. included the imposition of White Supremacy . . . " (p. 2)
"In a constant state of mental nepantilism, an Aztec word meaning torn between ways,
la mestiza
is a product of the transfer of the cultural and spiritual values of one group to another." (p. 100)
"Each of us must know our Indian lineage, our
, our history of resistance"(p. 108)
". . . I celebrate
el día de la Chicana y el Chicano
. On that day I clean my altars, light my
candle, burn sage and copal, take
el baño para espantar basura
, sweep my house. On that day I bare my soul, make myself vulnerable to friends and family by expressing my feelings. On that day I affirm who we are. On that day I look inside our conflicts and our basic introverted racial temperament. I identify our needs, voice them. I acknowledge that the self and the race have been wounded. I recognize the need to take care of our personhood, of our racial self." (p. 110)
"The new
copes by developing a tolerance for contradictions, a tolerance for ambiguity. She learns to be an Indian in Mexican culture, to be Mexican from an Anglo point of view. She learns to juggle cultures. She has a plural personality, she operates in a pluralistic mode - nothing is thrust out, the good, the bad and the ugly, nothing rejected, nothing abandoned." (p. 101)
and the queer exist at this time and point on the evolutionary continuum for a purpose. We are a blending that proves that all blood is intricately woven together, and that we are spawned out of similar souls." (p. 107)
"As a
I have no country, my homeland cast me out; yet all countries are mine because I am every woman's sister or potential lover. (As a lesbian I have no race, my own people disclaim me; but I am all races because there is the queer of me in all races.) I am cultureless because, as a feminist, I challenge the collective cultural/religious male-derived beliefs of Indo-Hispanics and Anglos; yet I am cultured because I am participating in the creation of yet another culture . . . " (p.102-103)
"Indigenous like corn, like corn, the
is a product of cross-breeding, designed for preservation under a variety of conditions. Like an ear of corn - a female seed -bearing organ - the
is tenacious, tightly wrapped in the husks of her culture." (p. 103)
white culture / Mexican culture / indigenous culture

Por la mujer de mi raza hablará el espíritu.
” (p.99)
"It is imperative that
support each other in changing the sexist elements in the Mexican-Indian culture. As long as woman is put down, the Indian and the Black in all of us is put down." (p. 106)
constantly has to shift out of habitual formations; from convergent thinking, analytical reasoning that tends to use rationality to move toward a single goal (a Western mode), to divergent thinking, characterized by a moment away from set patterns and goals and toward a more whole perspective, one that includes rather than excludes.” (p. 101)
“The borders and walls that are supposed to keep the undesirable ideas out are entrenched habits and patterns of behavior; these habits and patterns are the enemies within. Rigidity means death.” (p. 101)

Hay tantísimas fronteras
que dividen a la gente,
pero por cada frontera
existe también un puente.

– Gina Valdés (p.107)
"By creating a new mythos- that is, a change in the way we perceive reality, the way we see ourselves, and the ways we behave-
la mestiza
creates a new consciousness." (p. 102)
“Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them. A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep cage. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary. It is in constant transition. The prohibited and the forbidden are its inhabitants.” (p. 23)
"I seek new images of identity, new beliefs about ourselves, our humanity and worth no longer in question." (p. 109)
"Deconstruct, construct. She becomes a
, able to transform herself into a tree, a coyote, into another person. She learns to transform the small "I" into the total Self." (p. 105)
"I, like other queer people, am two in one body, both male and female." (p. 41)
"Being the supreme crossers of cultures, homosexuals have strong bonds with the queer white, Black, Asian, Native American, Latino and with the queer in Italy, Australia and the rest of the planet . . . Our role is to link people with each other . . . It is to transfer ideas and information from one culture to another." (p. 106-107)
"Soy un
. I am an act of kneading, of uniting and joining that not only has produced both a creature of darkness and a creature of light, but also a creature that questions the definitions of light and dark and gives them new meanings." (p. 103)
"The work of the
consciousness is to break down the subject-object duality that keeps her a prisoner and to show in the flesh and through the images in her work how duality is transcended. The answer to the problem between the white and the colored, between males and females, lies in healing the split. (p. 102)
Su cuerpo es una bocacalle.

La mestiza
has gone from being the sacrificial goat to becoming the officiating priestess at the crossroads." (p. 102)
Full transcript