The excerpts from Gloria Anzaldúa’s “Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza,” highlights the identity struggle that minorities in the United States face when attempting to assimilate to United States culture. Gloria Anzaldúa, provides a firsthand, personal account of the hardships she experiences due to her Chicana identity, which was very difficult to learn about. In the excerpt “Linguistic Terrorism,” Anzaldúa stresses the importance of her language in the makeup of her identity as she states that “I am my language” and claims that “if you want to really hurt me, talk badly about my language.” Since I have never lived in a different country before, I never fully realized the immense conflict that people face due to language barriers and differences. I am very fortunate that I am able to speak and understand English, the primary language in the United States and the rest of the world, as it would be an immense challenge and a huge discomfort to not be able to communicate easily with others. In the second and third excerpts, Anzaldúa expands on the struggles she endures as a Chicana women in the United States as she explains that “Chicanos and other people of color suffer economically for not acculturating” and that “In the Borderlands, you are at home, a stranger…” It is very unfortunate that Anzaldúa and the Chicano people have to deal with these issues due to their cultural differences in comparison to culture in the United States. The people of the United States need to be aware of the hardships that minority groups face in order to become a more inclusive and prosperous culture.
The chapters within Jacob Riis’ “How The Other Half Lives” further illustrated the unfair issues immigrants face when moving to the United States. Riis explains that Italian and Chinese immigrants engage in activities, such as gambling and doing drugs, in order to mitigate the stress of their problems when immigrating to the United States. It is very sad that Italian and Chinese immigrants have to turn to gambling and drugs in order to handle the stress that they experience as their actions only worsen their identity struggles as people living in the United States perceive them as problematic.