“If a person, Chicana or Latina, has a low estimation of my native tongue, she also has a low estimation of me. Often with mexicanas y Latinas we’ll speak English as a neutral language. Even among Chicanas we tend to speak English at parties or conferences. Yet, at the same time we’re afraid the other will think we’re agingadas because we don’t speak Chicano Spanish.” These sentences are mostly in English, but were oppressed by the three words “mexicanas y Latinas.”
The immigrants entering the United States throughout its history have always had a profound effect on American culture. However, the identity of immigrant groups has been fundamentally challenged and shaped as they attempt to integrate into U.S. society. The influx of Mexicans into the United States has become a controversial political issue that necessitates a comprehensive understanding of their cultural themes and sense of identity. The film Mi Familia (or My Family) covers the journey and experiences of one Mexican-American (or “Chicano”) family from Mexico as they start a new life in the United States. Throughout the course of the film, the same essential conflicts and themes that epitomize Chicano identity in other works of literature
Gloria Anzaldúa's personal experience growing up in the Rio Grande Valley was inspiration for Borderlands, which was published in 1987. In this highly acclaimed work, she explores the effects of the Mexican-American border on her self-identification as mixed race, Chicana, a woman, and a lesbian. Shunned from each of these groups, Anzaldúa creates a new mestiza identity which both allows for and encourages a synthesis of disparate elements of identity into a synergistic whole. A mestiza is a woman of mixed Caucasian, Hispanic, and Native American descent. This consciousness which encourages opposition and contradiction is made necessary by the conditions created by the geographical, political, and psychological border.
“The common denominator all Latinos have is that we want some respect. That 's what we 're all fighting for” - Cristina Saralegui. Judith Ortiz Cofer published the article, “The Myth of the Latin Woman,” where she expresses her anger towards stereotypes, inequality, and degradation of Latin Americans. Cofer explains the origins of these perceived views and proceeds to empower Latin American women to champion over them. Cofer establishes her credibility as a Latin American woman with personal anecdotes that emphasize her frustration of the unfair depiction of Latinos in society.
Situated near the U.S.-Mexico border during the early twentieth century is the fictional setting of Fort Jones, the outskirts of which is where Americo Paredes’ short story “Macaria’s Daughter” takes place. Emblematic of the disappropriation of Mexican land, as well as the increased marginalization of the Mexican people, the overbearing presence of Fort Jones reveals the struggle for preservation that characterizes the Mexican-American community of the story. “Macaria’s Daughter” is the tragic account of what happens in a small community when the upholding of Mexican values and institutions, and opposition to Anglo-American culture, become more important than a young woman’s life. In this essay, I will argue that “Macaria’s Daughter” is a text
In “Se Habla Espanol,” Tanya Barrientos elaborates on her personal experience growing up in the United States. In the first couple decades of her life, Barrientos distanced herself from her cultural roots fearing that she would be judge and belittle. It was essential for Barrientos to fit in with the American society. Barrientos formats the short story where she is speaking from firsthand experience.
The Mexican-American culture has undergone a lot of changes over time. Through the studies by Anzaldúa (530) and Menchaca (45), it can be seen how the culture has changed from ‘Chicano’ to ‘Chicana/o’ and finally to ‘Xicanx.’ Resistance
Both authors go in detail about their ethnic backgrounds and blend their language for us to better understand throughout their story. Gloria Anzaldua describes herself as a Mexican-American Chicana
He shows this through his many experiences with bilingual court and education. At the end of his essay, Espada concludes with a basic summary of what he has learned. Espada claims “The repression of Spanish is part of a larger attempt to silence Latinos, and, like the crazy uncle at the family dinner table yelling about independence or socialism, we must refuse to be silenced.” Through the summary the reader understands despite English being the prevalent language the in the U.S. today the Spanish culture is still being preserved through bilingualism. On the other hand Rodriguez argues that in order to gain a public identity, one must be willing to sacrifice some part of their own cultural identity.
Throughout “The Mexican in Fact, Fiction, and Folkore” examines the term “Mexican” as it is applied in Southwest literature and argues the Anglo society has made a conscious effort to misrepresent Mexicans (Rios 60). He states the people of Mexican descent are viewed as un-American because they are perceived as filthy, lazy, and dumb. Ricatelli adds to the conversation of Mexican stereotypes by examining the literary expressions of Chicanas and Mexicanas in the literature of both the United States and Mexico. In “The Sexual Stereotypes of The Chicana in Literature” Ricatelli explains how in Yankee literature, the Chicana is referred to as the “fat breeder, who is a baby factory” meanwhile the Mexican is described as an “amoral, lusty hot tamale” (Ricatelli 51). He makes note of these stereotypes in order to highlight the ethnocentric and nativist points of view that dominated Anglo literature.
Because of this, she also believes there is a lack of respect for Hispanic culture. It is also unfair that Spanish is taught with little respect, yet English is usually a “pretentious” subject. She majored in English in college to show her teachers that she was capable of learning about the language, but still has her Hispanic identity. On top of being Hispanic alone, there are even more stereotypes about Hispanic women that both authors talk about.
Gloria Anzaldúa’s “La Prieta” tell her struggles with identity by talking about prejudices she dealt with while growing up. These prejudices, such as colorism, sexism, and heteronormativity, were not only held by people outside her social groups but within them as well. Anzaldúa goes on to explain the way identity is formed by intersecting factors and not only one aspect of someone’s life therefore denying one factor of identity can cause isolation and self-hatred. The fact that Anzaldúa developed faster than is deemed normal the first struggle in forming her identity.
Within each book, it questions the message of “culture and gender” (Louelí, “An Interpretive Assessment of Chicano Literature and Criticism”). Clearly, positive figures influenced how the Chicano community acted then and now. Rudolfo Anaya and other Chicano writers
From the start, it is clear that T.C. Boyle’s Tortilla Curtain aims to shed a light on the topic of Mexican immigrants in the United States. However, by having both a Mexican and an American woman share similar violent experiences with men, Boyle also places an emphasis on the less pronounced theme of sexual violence and discrimination against women, even in polar opposite realities. Early on, an invisible bond begins to form between the two main female characters, America, a recent Mexican immigrant and mother to be, and Kyra a successful white businessman. And while they never actually meet one another, as they endure and recover from their own personal problematic experiences with certain men, they are affected immensely by these events. America tries her best balance her new life of being an illegal, living in the ravine of Topanga Canyon with Candido, finding work and preparing for her baby to come.