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Jeffrey Sprung Blog Post for 10/5

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.

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5 Comments

  1. Michael Childress Michael Childress

    I did not think about gambling and other activities mentioned in the first reading as stress relief for immigrants. Often times activities like these get negative connotations, but it seems to be more directed at minorities. For example, if a rich white man were gambling I feel like most people wouldn’t see a huge issue, but if a poor minority is seen gambling the common assumption is “that’s why they’re poor, because they gamble all of their money away”, and it is far from the truth in most cases.

  2. Mohamad Kassem Mohamad Kassem

    I agree that it is really important that US citizens are aware of the hardships that minority groups face in order for the country to become more inclusive, as these struggles come from an identity they did not choose. I also think that the activities mentioned above, and I agree with Michael, are looked down upon if a minority group engages in them however, they are normalized for upper-class white elites.

  3. Henry Groves Henry Groves

    I agree that it is very sad that Italian and Chinese immigrants need to result in gambling and drugs to deal with the stress on top of all the hardships of being an immigrant. It really made me take a step back when realizing that immigrant’s hardships really don’t start/end when getting to America and it is only really the halfway point.

  4. Michael Stein Michael Stein

    I think this reading made me realize the immense privilege I have to be able to walk into any store, restaurant, or social gathering and be able to speak my native language without receiving weird looks or a difficult time. Indeed, my language has always been an after thought to me. I did not assumed everyone could communicate wherever they went; however, I did not realize the emotional impact that these language barriers have on people.

  5. Pierce Kaliner Pierce Kaliner

    I have been extremely fortunate throughout my life to mostly never have to think about my own identity. And, I empathize with Anzaldúa, because I’m sure that it is extremely hard to try and keep her language alive while also adapting to US standards. And, I think that there is a little bit of a double standard in the US. Because, I feel that largely we aren’t really accepting of other languages in the US, but we want to treat ourselves as the “melting pot” like Dr. Bezio mentioned. So, I think we need to start to adapt just a little bit to make a more inclusive culture.

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