Reading through Gloria Anzaldúa’s excerpts made me think that no matter who we are or where we come from, we will have this idea that if something is different, then it is bad simply because it is not us. I wish that this wasn’t true, but stories like this prove that this is. Her stories about outwardly speaking Spanish stuck out to me because I see a lot of these problems from an outside perspective. For my friends who speak Spanish, they feel that when they speak Spanish around English speakers, they are being judged for not speaking the same language, or for their heavy accent when they do speak English. It is so much of a problem for some of them that they don’t even feel comfortable speaking it at home either. The fact that many people feel this way is a problem. It’s not just about Spanish speakers, what about the many other languages that people speak in the U.S.? I am sure that this is something that they feel as well. This can be very damaging because smaller problems can snowball into bigger ones. If one generation within a family doesn’t feel comfortable learning their native language and they grow up not passing it onto the next generation, then that as an aspect of culture that is slowly being washed away from a family tree.
I think this problem originated with imperialism in the Americas. Although the history of the Americas is not the first example of imperialism, identity mattered the most then and that is why it matters so much now. The three parts of identity that mattered the most were your race, gender, and economic status because those were telling factors of the life you were going to live. As time went on, these problems were only perpetuated further and made things worse. The fact that differences amongst people were used as a tool to advance other people, its something we can’t let go of and is the basis of many problems in our country today. If differences between cultures were embraced years ago, it would be a much different story. Do you think that this is something we will ever be able to change? I really do think that the way our country was founded and progressed is the reason why we automatically think that anything different or new to us is either a bad thing or something we can use to advance ourselves. We are wired to think this way. Can we rewire our way of thinking to do the exact opposite? Beyond recognizing and addressing it as a problem, can we ever naturally assume the difference is a good thing?