Gloria Anzaldúa

Gloria Anzaldúa: the mestiza feminist of the border

Esta entrada también está disponible en: ES (Spanish)

The message in Gloria Anzaldúa’s writing remains current and powerful.

Gloria Anzaldúa was a poet, educator, feminist theorist, and Chicana activist. Her writing and theory focused on issues of identity and sexual orientation.

She received numerous accolades, including the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, the Lambda Literary Award for Small Press, and the Fiction Award from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

One of her works was included in the list of the 38 best books by The Literary Journal in 1987.

Gloria Anzalduaa Nota
Credit: CRT

In 2005, she posthumously received the Academic Achievement Award from the National Association for Chicano Studies.

Additionally, she was the author of children’s books in two languages. She conducted workshops in creative writing, Chicano studies, and feminist studies at the University of Texas (UT), San Francisco State University (SFSU), Vermont College of Norwich University (NU), and the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).

In her memory, awards such as the Anzaldúa Scholar Activist Award and the Gloria E. Anzaldúa Award for Independent Researchers have been established.

Gloria Anzaldúa was born on September 26, 1942, in Texas, into an immigrant family.

From a young age, she faced discrimination that affected her community and fought against the indifference and repression that crossed her path.

Gloria Anzalduaa Nota1
Credit: Texas State Historical Association

Some of the author’s most notable works include “La Frontera,” “Amigos del Otro Lado,” “Prietita” andLa Llorona.”

Her interviews have also been compiled, capturing the most powerful ideas that represented Gloria Anzaldúa.

The entirety of her work is an expression against discrimination, representing a way to give voice to third-world women living on American soil.

Furthermore, it’s important to highlight that her freedom and struggle are not limited solely to cultural differences but also encompass religious and sexual differences. Furthermore, it’s important to highlight that her freedom and struggle are not limited solely to cultural differences but also encompass religious and sexual differences.

Her rejection of the idea of dividing everything into a binary world and her desire to find a place within a mestiza identity are important aspects of her work.

Gloria Anzalduaa Nota2
Credit: HJCK

A Poem by Gloria Anzaldúa

To live in the borderlands means you

are neither hispana india negra espanola

ni gabacha, eres mestiza, mulata, half-breed

caught in the crossfire between camps

while carrying all five races on your back

not knowing which side to turn to, run from;

To live in the Borderlands means knowing that the india in you, betrayed for 500 years,

is no longer speaking to you,

the mexicanas call you rajetas, that denying the Anglo inside you

is as bad as having denied the Indian or Black;

Cuando vives en la frontera

people walk through you, the wind steals your voice,

you’re a burra, buey, scapegoat,

forerunner of a new race,

half and half-both woman and man, neither-a new gender;

To live in the Borderlands means to

put chile in the borscht,

eat whole wheat tortillas,

speak Tex-Mex with a Brooklyn accent;

be stopped by la migra at the border checkpoints;

Living in the Borderlands means you fight hard to

resist the gold elixir beckoning from the bottle,

the pull of the gun barrel,

the rope crushing the hollow of your throat;

In the Borderlands

you are the battleground

where enemies are kin to each other;

you are at home, a stranger,

the border disputes have been settled

the volley of shots have scattered the truce

you are wounded, lost in action

dead, fighting back;

To live in the Borderlands means

the mill with the razor white teeth wants to shred off

your olive-red skin, crush out the kernel, your heart

pound you pinch you roll you out

smelling like white bread but dead;

To survive the Borderlands

you must live sin fronteras

be a crossroads.

Sources: Blog Fausto Marcelo, Enciclopedia de la literatura en México, Bestia Lectora

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