Speaking Subjectivity

Original Article Here

I wonder if Anzaldua is actually talking about a dentist? In all honesty, dental work as a metaphor for censorship is new to me, and it works pretty well. “Cutting a tongue out” is a visceral and gory explanation for the cultural loss that comes with Westernization, and seems to capture what I would imagine the feelings of the author were at the time.

The important thing to take away from this is that I don’t know what she went through – I’m a white dude. All of her stories and metaphors and explanations of her hardships cannot capture for me what she truly experienced, only paint a representation that I have to analyze and interpret. Sounds like a lot of work.

Next: I have an issue with the author thinking the language classes were to drop their accents. What proof does she have of that? It isn’t important, really, but it is curious to me.

In a whitewashed society nobody has to worry about being hurt by difference. But, difference doesn’t actually hurt all that much. We know that now, that’s why I’d like to think there aren’t too many accent-abolishing classes in the first world. But sexism, racism, and prejudice (from identifiers such as a thick Latina accent) do still exist. Surprised?

The concept of an identity arising to brand those who fell between the cracks of two other, stronger, identities is fascinating. Chicano Spanish may be frowned upon by outsiders, but those who call it a first language, or any one of their languages, certainly speak it because they choose to. What is most fascinating about this new language is that it is almost a stand in for all other genres; where can new forms of art or society arise, and between the cracks of what two other preexisting entities?

Anzaldua calls her “home” language the language she speaks around family and friends. In what ways do we have “home” language even without changing the country of origin of the words we speak? Some people swear more or less in certain circumstances, or use bigger or smaller words. Why do we make these choices and how do the impact the people around us?

She also talks about the shame of seeing the “lesser form” of oneself, specifically in how a “pure” Latina sees a “lesser” Chicana. This hierarchy created by language cannot be an isolated incident. Where else does it occur in humanity as a whole and in humans as individuals?

“Until I take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself” – Language must therefore be the root of self-identity, because we cannot have a “self” without a word for oneself. This seems more like the area of a philosopher than an artist, but it isn’t like one or the other of us could be more right or wrong; if I am to believe anything a philosopher has ever told me, it’s all subjective.

What it comes down to is a freedom to be able to shape your own language and find an audience that accepts and shares that language with you. They exist, the hard part is putting feet to floorboards and finding them.

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