QSR2 – Anzaldua

Culture can be a very broad term for most people because it entails many factors ranging from food to music and even language. Of these factors, language may perhaps be the most important representation of culture because it enables individuals within a given cultural grouping to communicate and understand one another. At the same time, the integration of different cultures may pose a problem seeing as it often results in the creation of new languages that may not be readily accepted by dominant cultures. Gloria Anzaldua makes this apparent in her essay titled “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” where she states that the cultures that emerge from the fusion of two or more others are often treated with disdain. More specifically, she states that her Chicana identity has placed her at odds with other Spanish-speaking people as well as Americans because “there is no one Chicano language just as there is no one Chicano experience” (39). Anzaldua, nevertheless, insists that she will provide a voice for any individual who feels that they have been unjustly antagonized because of their language preference.

In the article “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” Anzaldua further notes that “Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity – I am my own language.” In my opinion, the author has used the phrase “I am my own language” to denote that language is an inextricable part of one’s ethnicity or race. In other words, the phrase implies that there is a strong connection between the language that one speaks and their cultural heritage. This assertion seems valid because as mentioned above, language remains to be one of the most important factors that can unite people who have a common heritage. A different explanation of the phrase is that individuals cannot be forced to give up their sense of self and culture as expressed through language to be accepted in America. Instead, they should be embraced and respected for who they are. In the case of Anzaldua, she is insisting that she wants Americans to accept that she cherishes her Chicano Spanish roots and that she will not bow to pressure to speak or relate to another language.

Anzaldua’s experiences are relatable to most people because unless one belongs to the majority racial group, they will always face some degree of backlash over the use of their native language in expressing themselves. The attack on languages spoken by minorities or immigrants eventually causes repression and marginalization of individuals from such communities. Nevertheless, I find hope and joy in Anzaldua’s assertion that “one day the inner struggle will cease and a true integration take place” (44). For native English speakers, this statement might not mean much because they are accustomed to speaking the language from birth. However, for individuals who share a racial identity and whose language is not considered to be among the mainstream ones, such a statement brings happiness and even inspires them to take pride in their linguistic identity because the mistreatment they face for belonging may soon be a thing of the past.

One thought on “QSR2 – Anzaldua

  1. This is a great analysis of these Anzaldúa quotes and a great summary up top. When we talk about the difference between summary and analysis, I think I’m going to use this as an example to show the difference!

    I was curious about the word/phrase/grammatical construction/pronunciation that brings you joy! Seems you forgot that part of the assignment? Otherwise, great work and enjoyed reading!

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