Due: September 16, 2014
Half and Half
I found these two sections of Half and Half to be a very nice read. I found both journeys very interesting and really enjoyed reading about their reflections on their experiences.
In the first story about the girl who was the daughter of an American Irish father and a Chinese woman was particularly interesting to me. Right at the beginning with the random women in the street calling out to her, “half breed bitch” I was appalled. This ignorance in society is so devastating. Even being that this story is from the past it disgusts me that anyone could have ever acted that way. I would love to believe that things like that are not still done but unfortunately I know that not to be true. I teach my students a unit on segregation and when I show them pictures of signs from the time period they never think that the pictures are real. Our society is not far from those blatantly racist times.
I think that she had a pretty amazing journey moving from place to place and experiencing so much culture. It did break my heart though when she wrote, “…I can go anywhere but home.” It was clear that she was dealing with a real identity crisis throughout her young life. Especially with her brother being cast as the “Chinese” one and her the “American” one. She had a real difficult time finding where she fit in and that clearly affected her. She said she was afraid to return to China. It was a foreign place to her. I can’t help but think of all the people who feel this way in their lifetime. It must be devastating to feel like you don’t have a home or a culture that is your own.
Her mother told her one night at dinner that she did not see her as one part Chinese and one part American she simply saw her as your daughter. I think it would be amazing if the majority of people could get to that place where people are seen as the person they are based solely on their character.
Julia Alvarez told a wonderful story as well. Her transition of life as a light skinned inhabitant of D.R to an unsure American was very interesting. She talked about filling in the box of race on forms when she went for jobs and not have a spot to check. She asked herself the question, “How could a Dominican divide herself this way?” Again we have a person dealing with an identity crisis. Instead of checking the box for other she would pause and have to decide what to check.
6,000 forms of a verb! I think that it is amazing how interested this person is in learning a language that is in their family history… especially a language as intricate as this one! The time and energy put into learning this language makes me envious I wish I could have that passion for learning a second language. Especially this one it seems so interesting.
“…repetition, overlap, accumulation, and remembering…” I enjoyed this addition to the beginning of this article I agree these things are necessary to retain information.
I teach about the Inca Empire and the quipu is something I make with my students. They really enjoy learning about how ancient societies worked. I found the article a bit wordy but overall I liked the idea of going back and analyzing ancient writings.
6 September 2014
In the piece A White Woman of Color, Julia shares that beauty was of utmost importance in her family. I found myself angered that she called it “currency”, which was entirely applicable in her situation, but the fact that her family treated these women as possessions is terrible. Also, she shared that whiteness essentially equated to beauty, which is absolutely ridiculous. Her identity, or the worth of who she was, was so dependent on the societal standard that was set before her; the fact that her mother supported this angered me as well. I found it interesting that her mother’s family was considered white because of their race and class. Does this mean that there are levels of whiteness? It’s as if being white or your “whiteness” was determined by some intense math equation. I obviously don’t know Alvarez’s mother… but I do not believe I would like her very much if I actually met her. She married someone who was darker, whose family is everything she speaks negatively of. It honestly baffles me. Alvarez shares that, “to separate oneself from those who were darker would have been to divide una familia, a sacrosanct entity in our culture.” So is this like “under the table” shaming? Does this happen behind closed doors? I just don’t understand how a mother and a family can be so racist towards darker family members, especially when skin color is something out of their control. I mean, all of Alvarez’s siblings came from the same two people, yet they are different shades; how can a child be penalized or viewed as less than because of that? It’s honestly disgusting. One of the most shocking parts of this piece was when she said, “All I had to do was stay out of the sun and behave myself and I could pass as a pretty white girl.” The fact that she believed this and was influenced in a way to see this as fact is mind-boggling. I feel so bad for her, to have been nurtured in an environment where you believe you aren’t good enough and to be pretty or better was to essentially be someone else. When Alvarez says, “… ethnicity and race are not fixed constructs or measurable quantities,” I felt as though it were a different person writing. You can see how her mindset changed and although she was influenced to believe that whiteness was better and equated to beauty, through her own experiences she new the truth of it all. I love that. Regardless of your influences, you do have a say in who you are and what you are.
The other article that stood out to me the most was Half and Half. It reminded me a little bit of the aforementioned piece; the question of identity was prevalent in both. O’Hearn’s response to comment “Half-breed bitch,” struck me immediately. She said, “How’d she know? What gave it away? as if it were a bad thing. I couldn’t believe it. As much as it’s cool that she was able to “test new characters” and make up stories about herself because of her mixed identity, it felt as though she was missing the opportunity to find herself. It was upsetting because here is this girl who feels that people don’t know where to “place” her, when in reality she didn’t know where she belonged either. Like the mother in the first piece, the mother in this angered me as well. It wasn’t O’Hearn’s fault that she didn’t look as Chinese as her brother and the fact that her mother held her to a different standard as her brother is extremely upsetting. It broke my heard when she talked about her inability to communicate with her grandparents. Although she was humiliated by her ability to only communicate on a second grade level in Chinese and with hand gestures, I was more saddened by the fact that they don’t really know her at all. Overall, I love what she ended the piece with; “Race and culture, are about inconsistent categories and shifting skins. Skin color and place of birth aren’t accurate signifiers of identity” and I think that a lot of people today do not realize that.
In Louise Erdrich’s piece “Writers on Writing; Two Languages in Mind, but Just One in the Heart,” Erdrich critically reflects on the interesting dichotomy between her Native American Heritage and her dominate language for reading and writing — English. She explains that English “an all-devouring language that has moved across North America like the fabulous plagues of locusts that darkened the sky and devoured even the handles of rakes and hoes” (102). English, Erdrich’s “first love,” (102) also symbolizes the language of the oppressing history of Western European colonization, and yet she uses this language to bring an epithetic voice to the very people that have long been marginalized in North America.
Erdrich also informs the reader of her strong desire to connect with her ethnicity by learning the language her grandfather spoke. She feels a deep connection to her family’s native language, Ojibwemowin, and uses it for prayer. Readers who can identify will their family’s native language can understand Erdrich’s emotional plea to further understand her own — there is a certain interconnectivity between us and our ancestors by speaking their language. It is as if they are speaking through us, enriching our own understanding of ourselves.
For English speakers, it’s foreign to read about the specificity in the Ojibwemowin language. Erdrich writes about the word Changite-ige which “describes the way a duck tips itself up in the water butt first” (105). That is an incredibly precise act, and English speakers and writers do not have a word to describe an act. And, if this is the case for Ojibwe speakers, there the ability to use descriptive language in a direct way and vastly superior in this sense. I wonder if bilingual Ojibwe / English speakers feel limited by the use of the English Language.
It is also informative to read that Ojibwemowin “was not originally a written language, people simply adapted the English alphabet and wrote phonetically” (105). Because of this, it’s undeniable to acknowledge the importance of oral tradition in Native American tradition. And, even though Erdrich describes her ability to communicate in Ojibwemowin as elementary, it’s inspiring to see Erdrich strive to find a deeper connection between herself and those that came before. Because Erdrich is an accomplished writer, it wouldn’t be surprising to find that learning her family’s native language has helped her own writing.
And lastly, Erdrich closes with one of the most insightful explanations about the interacting with one’s language. She writes, “to engage in the language is to engage in the spirit” (106). There is a deep, inexplicable connection between words and their meanings. Being able to articulate one’s deepest emotions and critical insight enriches experiences, and invites others to have an empathetic view of someone entirely different from themselves.
James F. Blandino
9/14/14, Cultural Rhetoric, Critical Response #2
Elsie(s)’s survival: voices rising from the “isolated flecks”
The modern American poet and doctor, William Carlos Williams, suddenly confronted in his upper class home with Elsie, his "ungainly" housemaid with "perhaps a dash of Indian blood", is thrown into despair for, as Clifford observes, "her inarticulateness stand(s) for groups marginalized or silenced in the bourgeois West." Williams sees in her (with his own perspective that inherently carries a host of cultural biases) a victim of colonization, a "pure product" gone crazy. Williams laments Elsie’s doom (and his own for he is in the car with her) for she is powerless in modern America, without a space to create a future in the cultural rhetoric defined by Western thought and authority. Williams is narrow in his scope (he wrote from a position of elite white privilege during the 1920's); he did not have the foresight to see a day in America where "Elsie" would demand a voice in all areas of society. Williams did leave some room for hope at the conclusion of the poem.
His invention of the "isolate flecks that something given off" are seeds that grew into the voices found in all four readings for this week. Elsie has survived and evolved over the last one hundred years in American culture. Elsie is in the work of Maya Angelou, Helen Keller, James Baldwin, Sandra Cisneros, Richard Pryor, Toni Morrison, Miles Davis, Roseanne Bar, Joy Harjo, Woody Guthrie, Martin Luther King, Carlos Santana, Jamaica Kinkaid, Sylvia Plath, Jerry Garcia, Naomi Shihab Nye (this list would be longer if my literary training was not rooted in the traditional canon of white male voices) and the in the countless perspectives, previously marginalized and suppressed, now claiming a voice and space in post-civil rights American culture.
Today, "Elsie" has claimed a foothold, though small in comparison with the canonical white male authority, in our modern American cultural discourse. Women and minority groups have gained access to the political and social scene. Clifford remarks, “After 1950 peoples long spoken for by Western ethnographers, administrators, and missionaries began to speak and act more powerful for themselves on a global stage. It was increasingly difficult to keep them in their traditional places.” I agree with Clifford. "Elsie" has given birth to new beginnings. The survival of the fragments create a new rhetoric that can reclaim old customs and authenticities through learning, language, art, and artifacts and blend them with our modern multicultural consciousness to create something new. From the fractals of the past, a new "thing", story, song, religion, folklore, a new rhetoric emerges. As our country becomes more diverse, a new multicultural perspective joins the rhetorical discourse and challenges our ideas that link identity to race and place of birth. It is not just the written or spoken word that contain this new rhetoric. The things we make, from the “isolate flecks”, are also important in this discourse.
Similar to Elsie, the practice of Native American basket making does not have a space in the cultural constructs of William Carlos Williams’ 1920’s America. However, after one hundred years of marginalization, it managed to survive, perhaps, from the “isolate flecks” that remained of the authentic product. The contemporary “making” of the American Indian baskets is part of the space or path that James Clifford believes is available for previously suppressed cultural rhetoric in the United States. The basket itself is rhetoric (otherwise, why make them painstakingly from rivercane? Walmart has plenty in plastic of all colors.). Malea Powell hints that the survival of the basket making is a “textual declaration of rhetorical sovereignty . . . the (basket’s) presence invokes meaning, it’s part of an entire structure of meaning that isn’t necessarily textual but that is nonetheless a discourse available for us to learn from.” Objects can inform us, persuade us. This idea reminds me of the focus of modern poetry on treatment of “the thing” itself. The things we make are filled with myth, context, and their disciplines can teach us about our individual and collective selves. Reclaiming rhetoric, nearly lost to the homogenization of American culture, can reconnect us with the “pure products”, and gives new relevance to an otherwise oppressed voice in American society.
Louise Erdrich’s struggles to learn the Ojibwe of her ancestors (like Robin McBride Scott’s work with traditional rivercane baskets) are proof that Elsie has managed to survive and gain a voice in modern America. Erdrich has Chippewa ancestry. (It is a shame that I can only think of boots when I read the word Chippewa in this text. The language of the Ch
This week, we read the notes for a lecture prepared by Malea Powell, who is a Miami scholar seeking to decolonize rhetorics and move away from the traditional discourse that attempts to locate all rhetorics in relation to the ancient Greeks and Romans (2), as exemplified by the Bizzell and Herzberg reading from last week. Citing the examples of Incan quipu, Iroquois wampum, and the work of Robin McBride Scott to revive basketry techniques (4-8), she illustrates how objects are themselves rhetorical and not just vehicles for delivering textual rhetoric. The distinction she makes in her “radical shift in terms of theorizing the objectness of the makings” is incredibly significant because it affirms the continuity of cultural practices from before the arrival of Europeans to the present day instead of relegating the objects, the people who created them, and the embedded meanings to the past (6-7). I admire Powell’s openness in discussing the evolution of her ideas throughout her scholarship, and I would like to hear one of her lectures live. When I have more time, I want to see if this one is available online so I can see the images that go along with it. One connection to her line of reasoning that I kept thinking of was a course in African Art History I took at BSU with Professor Shirland. He prompted me to start thinking about how literacies take multiple forms and how, for example, there could be as much or more meaning conveyed by an Akan linguist staff than a book containing the text of the story the staff represented. Coincidentally, the story of the basket’s design in Powell’s piece has to do with the origin of fire and the spider that carried it, and the particular staff I spent the most time reading about and actually got to see at the Met was about Anansi, also a spider.
We read two excerpts from books, both of which examine the experiences of bicultural people navigating their complex identities. The Louise Erdrich piece was familiar, but it is interesting to think about in terms of rhetoric, which is a new concept to me. She muses about the structure of Ojibwe as compared to English, how precisely a situation may be described with individual Ojibwe words, and her emotional associations with the language and her family. She points out, importantly, that “Ojibwemowin is not static, not confined to describing the world of some out-of-reach and sacred past” and demonstrates with examples the adaptability of the language to life today (104). In closing, she remarks that no one has ever been critical of her developing ability to speak Ojibwe (106), and that is probably because the very act of speaking Ojibwe is a declaration of a shared identity worth protecting.
From Half and Half, we read selections by Claudine Chiawei O’Hearn and Julia Álvarez. There are connections between these pieces and what I have been reading lately on my own, including The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan and The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz, which feature a bicultural Chinese-American protagonist and a bicultural Dominican-American protagonist, respectively. One sentence stood out in particular: “I stopped being American when I first came to the States to live eight years ago” (vii). I have heard many bicultural people describe experiences in which they did not feel fully a member of either group, often expecting to feel more comfortable in another setting until actually arriving in it. Chiawei O’Hearn describes how biracial people are marginalized because they “blended in both directions, moving between the groups, though always somewhat outside each” (xi). As a bisexual person, I can relate to some of the pressures she feels when surrounded by white people or Chinese people who see her as an outsider or want her to behave consistently as part of one group or the other. Álvarez shows how the perception and significance of race is context-specific and sheds light on how members of the same family can have different status due to their skin color and features even if they share both parents. She discusses the influence of the historical relationship between the D.R. and Haiti on how Dominicans value light skin, and we see how much foggier matters become in a new setting, as when her family came to the U.S. and were suddenly grouped in the artificial “Hispanic” category (145).
I really enjoyed reading those stories. While I was reading them it was inevitable to make a connection to my reality or my home country cultural aspects. It was interesting reading Half and Half and learn about the experience the authors have been through. In the piece Half and Half O’Hearn said “I stopped being American when I first came to the States to live eight years ago. Growing up in Asia, I knew being mixed set me apart, but I didn’t have to name it until people began to ask, Where are you from?” (viii). The title of the book is so relevant “Half and Half”, which shows that the authors in neither American nor Chines but half of those nations. She was never concerned about her origin until people started asking her. Often time, the sense of being mixed leads to an inner conflict. The authors was always confused about her identity; which nationality she could identify with. In order to preserve her mother’s cultural heritage often time she might be likely to identify herself as chines or try to identify as American due to her father and her birth place.
Julia argues that “of course, some Dominicans refused to grant me any status as a “real” Dominican because I was white” (149). The way she expresses it is noticeable that she is frustrated by others trying to deny her identity because she has a light skin. Nevertheless, those authors’ stories do resemble in certain point. The experience they have been through reminds me Cape Verdean parents’ children who were born in a foreign country. The majority will identify themselves as Cape Verdean but some will not. Some may want to identify themselves as Portuguese, American… but they might not be seemed as a part of that society. Some Cape Verdean’s children may not identify themselves as Cape Verdean for the reason that there is a lack of connection to the country, lack of the country culture heritage or history.
In What American Indian Making Can Teach Us About “Cherokee weavers have traditionally chosen red, brown and black for their basketry designs”. The tradition of making basket is rhetorical. Those baskets carry means, symbols and history; they have been manufactured throughout generation. Those baskets are something especial for Native people but in some other cultures it may mean nothing; just a recipient to put fruit or something else.
HW # 2 ~ 9/16/2014
This article was a bit confusing at times -I think the pictures/slides would have provided the visuals to aid understanding. I found it interesting that the author views cultural objects as having its own “text”; historical background connected with its creation, itemization and history of manufacturing. In turn, the object then represents symbolically all aspects of its creation? Overall, Powell’s theory was perplexing and left me with an ambiguous perception about her ideas.
For me, the language formation was the most interesting aspect about this article. The concept of using verbs (over 6,000 formations) for a variety of actions is remarkable; in comparison, there are many languages that use verbs (to a much lesser degree), but this language structure is intriguing. As an ELA teacher with a love of words, the intricate use of verbs holds appeal for towards further study
Half and Half
The narratives in Half and Half texts connected with me the most, because I was able to relate them to my own experiences. For example, the “Introduction” provides the story about a bi-racial girl with a Chinese mom and an Irish father and all the society prejudices that entails. From being called a “half breed bitch”, to the mom being asked “Is this your daughter?” the young girl is caught between two groups, while being unable to be categorized as either Irish or Chinese. In my experiences with bi-racial students, many have expressed concerns about identity and some confusion about which “ethnic culture” they represent more, so the author’s confusion about identity is something I can relate to.
In Alvarez narrative, the journey of a young girl moving from the Dominican Republic and the treatment she receives, demonstrates the prejudice in skin color and/or accent. The questioning of identity was also engaging and insightful; for example, raising her hand for both minority groups because she is unsure of which one she actually belongs in.
The question of identity has always been a concern in my life because of the discourse that was caused when my parents married. My grandparents were against their French daughter marrying my Portuguese father. In shock, my grandfather declared to my mother, “you will have mongrel children!” To prevent identity concerns, neither of my parents taught any of their four children either language; in fear of prejudice, they didn’t want any of us to appear different by being bilingual. In the end, growing up my parents focused on teaching us that there is one race, the human one.
The article Sovereign Bones is a “hymn” and a longing to a dying language. Louise Erdrich tries to put in words her admiration, respect and fascination towards the Ojibwemowin language. Even though the language lacks people who can use it, she argues that the Ojibwemo language has a place inside modern society, stating that the language evolves throughout time and that it can create new words as the society evolves. Being an English native speaker, she is divided between English and Objibwemo, with the Objibwemo language “winning the battle”, although the only person she can talk to is her teacher Naawii-giizis. The language may be disappearing from people’s mouth, but it lives and prosper inside Louise’s heart. Half and Half is an article about struggle in finding a place where one belongs. At the introduction of the article, Claudine O’Hearn made it clear that she always felt as if she did not belong to a culture in specific. With her Chinese family, she could not behave the way a Chinese person is supposed to behave, and when she was in an “American environment”, she could not fit either. She identified and wanted people to identify her as Chinese, even though “unconsciously” she wanted to be American. She experienced racism, but she was also being racist when not truly accepting her Chinese heritage. She would “play” the Chinese or American girl whenever it suited her. In the second part of the article, Julia Alvarez wanted to keep her Dominican culture in a “hostile” environment, the USA. When she and her family went to the USA they were discriminated. They were not discriminated like their aunt, since she had dark skin and they had white skin, but their habits, behavior and way of talking somehow made them “colored” people. As “cliché” as it sounds, our race should be what it really is, the human race, where Claudine and Julia would fit just perfectly. Rhetorical Powwows is a presentation from Malea Powell in a University in Miami. She shows her pride, respect, and admiration for her indigenous ancestors from Miami. She argues that not every “aspects of culture” can be “textualized”. In the making of a basket for example, how it is made is just a part of its story. The basket is more than a “thing”, it represents a culture, it has a story behind it. Spiritually, chronologically, it has something to say that somehow cannot be put into words, at least not just words. She wants people to look at “things” not merely as “things”, not just as objects, but as “storytellers”, as symbols of struggle and accomplishment.
This is for week 3, but I couldn't find a new place to post it :)
This week we read the script of a keynote address by Mary Louise Pratt called “Arts of the Contact Zone” and excerpts from Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldúa. We also were able to access the work Pratt analyzes, the 17th century Peruvian Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala’s two-part letter consisting of Nueva corónica and Buen gobierno y justicia, intended to reach King Philip III of Spain.
Pratt’s definition of “contact zones” overlaps with Anzaldúa’s notion of “borderlands”. For Pratt, these are “social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today” (34), and Anzaldúa says they are “physically present wherever two or more cultures edge with each other, where people of different races occupy the same territory, where under, lower, middle and upper classes touch, where the space between two individuals shrinks with intimacy” (preface).
As I reread the excerpts from Borderlands/La Frontera, I noticed many connections to this course. First, in the introduction, Sonia Saldivar-Hull states that “Anzaldúa presents history as a serpentine cycle rather than a linear narrative” (2). This is interesting in light of the rhetorical tradition and Robert Kaplan’s claims about the rhetorical patterns preferred by particular cultures. Although Kaplan overgeneralizes considerably in his landmark work, the observation that many rhetorics have emerged independently from the Greek/Roman tradition is important, and Andaldúa’s writing draws on symbols and organizational patterns from her many cultural influences.
In the preface, Anzaldúa discusses what it feels like to live “on borders and in margins” and says that it is “not comfortable but home”. This claim seems to contrast with what we read last week of Claudine Chiawei O’Hearn’s description of her experience as a member of multiple cultures: “But since these places are all home, they forfeit their definition as a single place I can come from. Suspended, I can go anywhere but home” (viii). Although both authors are in between in a sense, perhaps it is different to live in a community where many cultures meet than to be oneself a product of more than one culture yet experience them as spatially separated.
Continuing with the idea of home, the passage about Anzaldúa’s student who “thought homophobia meant fear of going home” struck me as especially powerful as well (42). For queer people of color, the intersection of one’s identities can create situations of internal conflict. As a white bisexual person, I can comfortably criticize those aspects of my culture that are threatening to my sexuality. However, if my racial identity was challenged from without, I would be in a different position and possibly afraid members of my racial group would see my criticism of homophobia and biphobia as an attack on our culture. It must be difficult to reconcile protecting two parts of oneself in conflict. It is amazing to me that Anzaldúa has the courage to take a stand and say she “will not glorify those aspects of my culture which have injured me and which have injured me in the name of protecting me” (44). She is aware of the risk she assumes with this position, saying that “if going home is denied me then I will have to stand and claim my space, making a new culture—una cultura mestiza—with my own lumber, my own bricks and mortar and my own feminist architecture” (44). For the same reasons I respect Anzaldúa, I can understand why it is often riskier for people of color to come out than it was for me. One strategy Anzaldúa employs to combat this is finding ways to identify one’s sexuality within the framework of one’s own culture instead of construing queerness as exclusively a product of interaction with white culture. The possibility that one can find evidence against heteronormativity is a compelling reason to study belief systems from pre-European contact times.
The first chapter, The Homeland, Aztlan was extremely upsetting. Firstly, in the poem, she wrote, “This land was Mexican once/was Indian always/and is/And will be again.” This jumped out to me and I felt it was extremely powerful, which what made the following information that much more disturbing. I was immediately uncomfortable with the talk of borders; they are there to “define the places that are safe and unsafe, to distinguish us from them.” Obviously, that is what borders are, but it’s more so knowing that the borders were there to protect the U.S. from Mexicans. Yet, by the way they are treated, you would think that it is the other way around. Does that make sense? Later on in the chapter, the image of white superiority “stripping Indians and Mexicans of their land while their feet were still rooted in it… jerked out by the roots, truncated, disemboweled, dispossessed, and separated from our identity and our history” was so vivid in my mind. I keep picturing a Looney Tunes scene where everything is pulled out from beneath them, leaving them with nothing, just emptiness. It’s cruel and unfair. My heart broke for her family when her grandma died; it’s hard enough to lose someone like that, but being unable to visit the burial grounds or even burry here there is terrible. They were being treated as subhuman.
I really liked chapter two of this reading. I love the line, “I had to leave home so I could find myself, find my own intrinsic nature buried under the personality that had been imposed on me.” Right off the bat you can see her need to find her own identity. This made me think a lot about college and leaving home. Half of college was search of finding out who I am without everything that had shaped me at home growing up. A lot of us can relate to what she is saying on some level. I can feel how strongly she felt about finding her own identity; being who she is on her own terms despite how others feel about it. This is ideal for most of us, but not many can truly say that we aren’t conflicted with the person that our culture wants us to be. I agree with what she says about culture forming our beliefs, which brings up the question of what truly is culture? Also, while discussing women in culture, she shares that “women are made to feel total failures if they don’t marry and have children.” I don’t think that this will ever go away; regardless of your sexual orientation. I also found it interesting when she discusses the human fear of the supernatural, both the undivine and the divine, and that “culture and religion seek to protect us from these two forces.” The fact that women have to be protected from herself is outrageous. As a woman, she is “alienated from her mother country, (and an) “alien” in the dominant culture,” which is terrible to imagine. I think this makes me love the line that appears later on in the passage even more; “I am a turtle, wherever I go I carry “home” on my back. I also think the stance she takes on her cultures treatment of her to be very brave; “I will not glorify those aspects of my culture which have injured me and which have injured me in the name of protecting me.” That is a very powerful idea and mindset to have, and its admirable that she refuses to sugar coat it for anyone.
I also liked chapter 5 of this reading. I hate when people say, “If you want to be American, speak “American’. It’s beyond ignorant. If you speak Spanish, you’re nearly always told to go back to Mexico, as if all people that speak Spanish are Mexican. It’s also terrible that her mother would be mortified, saying that she spoke English like a Mexican. We discussed accents in one of my other classes and there is no reason why someone should feel obligated to lose their accents, when that is part of who they are as well. I like the idea of having a “secret language” in order to communicate with one another. Also like the distinction of “home” tongues being the languages that she speaks with her sister and brothers and friends; when you think of home, you think of the personal and I think her definition of it holds true. The idea of language terrorism makes me uncomfortable. When she called Chicano Spanish a bastard language, it just felt wrong. I don’t think it’s right to use language against anyone to be honest. From her descriptions, I feel really bad for those who speak Chicano Spanish and the ability to speak any language isn’t something that one should be put down for.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.