Friday, September 25, 2009

Borderlands/La Frontera

Mestiza: When we look at the literal meaning, Mestiza is used to describe a person of mixed decent, usually of European and American Indian blood. This term was coined around the late 1500's and early 1600's, around the time the Spanish ruled over Central America. They developed a caste system which separated the people into different classes based on their racial characteristics. A Mestizo is someone who is the offspring of a European and American Indian or the offspring of two Mestizo parents. When we examine the differences between the literal definition and Anzaldua's take on the term, we must remember that Ms. Anzaldua says “New Mestiza” in her title. I think the “New” part is very important because she is not talking about Mestiza in the context of the Spanish caste system, she is referring to Mexican-American women of today. While Anzaldua was growing up, she struggled with her identity because she didn't want to take the mantle of the traditional sub-servant female. "She has this fear that she has no names… that she has many names…that she doesn't know her names." (Anzaldua 65). The author is attempting to re-define what her identity is and the role of Mexican-American women who have survived and thrived along the border region of Mexico and America. The women who lived in that region were forced to adapt to new cultures and challenges, it was necessary for the “Mestiza Consciousness” to adapt as well to cope with the new challenges they faced.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely, Lucian. You're right to point out the emphasis on "new" in Anzaldua's rendering. What does she want to take from the historical, caste/class-inflected sense of the term and what does she want to do away with? How, for example, might her poetry offer a clue?