Freewrite #5 on Identities as a Rhetoric of Resistance

In Uncategorized on March 2, 2010 at 4:53 am

In Borderlands, I think Anzaluda reveals that the fundamental aspects of the formation of identities can be seen in the borderlands where two different culture meet, infuse and clash. The Texas-U.S. Southwest/Mexican border in particular has been a place where oppression of women, multiple identities conflict with integrity, struggles of native language are easily exposed.

She uses many rhetorical strategies in her writing, for example, the shift in the written language in particular and the usage of the poems or songs written by the natives. They both serve as her way of resistance because the mixture of language make her writing only partially understandable to the readers. It is a demonstration of the statement that “we have to meet in the middle” as Anzaluda proposed in the beginning of her book.

She first talks about the history of conflicts between the U.S. and Mexico, and she argues that borders create a border culture, where the unsafe meets the save, us meets them. The inhabitants living at the borders are excluded from the other side of the line; and even worse, from it’s own country too. Because of the fragile of the state of the borders, identities are constantly being challenged, killed and reborn.

Although she never directly mentions imperialism, Eurocentricism and modernity, she implies that the struggles of the people at the borders are inevitably resulted from those larger contexts. The ideology of male above female, the slavery of the native Mexicans, the struggles of the natives with their land–their home, the exploitation of the raw materials in Mexico and taking over the economic control by the U.S. that leads to tragedies during illegal border crossing…They are all wailings of Mexico.

Unlike Dussel, Anzaluda spends a lot of time looking at her own struggle with her multiple identities. By looking at her rebellion against the beliefs of her culture, she makes me understand the resistance of many. When we are talking about Eurocentricism, modernity, we cannot forget that it is not only the ideologies that we are dealing with, it is also the human beings from whom those ideologies are created and spread. She says that humans fear the supernatural, and that “Culture and religion seek to protect us from these two force.” It is the insecurity that humans feel created culture and religion, and then culture and religion are used to salvage, to oppress, to exclude.

“The queer are the mirror reflecting the heterosexual tribe’s fear: being different, being other and therefore lesser, therefore sub-human, in-human, non-human.” I even think when I was reading that if culture itself is a form of discrimination: As we classify what is or is not within our culture, we define what is excluded too. Culture may not be able to protect its own people without harming the others, or can it be?

The choice is clear, as Anzaluda says, either to be feel a victim or to feel strong and in control. So is it to feel secure within ourselves, we can resist to what oppress us?

She later on argues that language is the core to individual’s identity. “Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity–I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself.” Until one can take pride in him or herself, one can be strong and in control. “The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react,” she writes.

In order to solve the problems created by modernity, Eurocentricism and imperialism, we need to move towards “a more whole perspective, one that includes rather than excludes.” We need to tolerate, and to meet in the middle. We need to acknowledge the differences of each other’s way of living. We need to create this new value system that connect us to each other and to the planet because “nothing happens in the ‘real’ world unless it first happens in the images in our heads.”

The solution is internal: we need to be less individualistic and more communistic. Because if we contribute to the greatness of the whole, each one of us will achieve more. Collectivism, or communism (without any political implication) is a more advanced individualism in the end.

  1. Hi Kuan, I really love this line…and may find myself quoting you in the future:

    “When we are talking about Eurocentricism, modernity, we cannot forget that it is not only the ideologies that we are dealing with, it is also the human beings from whom those ideologies are created and spread.”

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