Not from here and neither from there
Everyone derives from a family, culture, and race from which we begin to self-identify ourselves as being a part of a group. But even though we can call each other family sometimes it just doesn’t feel like that for the most of us. Especially if we are bicultural or biracial the pressure to fit-in leads into weaker social ties. In Toward La Conciencia de la Mestiza/Towards a New Consciousness Gloria Anzaldúa argues that the mixture of races provides a hybrid progeny that creates torn ways in between different groups and calls itself the Mestiza. An example of a mestiza(o) can be a Chicana or Chicano who tries to fit-in with his or her Hispanic culture and his or her American culture simultaneously.
Growing up in an American culture with an American society right outside your door didn’t seem like that big of a deal as a kid. But as time went by and we became more accustomed to cultural family traditions it then came to mind that there were different forms of living according to where your family came from. And that’s when I realized that I wouldn’t feel like I fitted in with my (white American) friends from school because they only spoke English and not Spanish, they didn’t eat tamales or pozole, and they sure didn’t pray to the Virgin of Guadalupe. Like Gloria states, it creates a collision when you have two or more different races head to head revolving around your world.
As a Chicana I feel as if nothing coming from me will ever come close to perfection in my Mexican or American culture. I have a “white-washed” accent when I speak Spanish and a slight Hispanic accent when I speak English. As a mestiza I continuously have to keep switching my gears from one culture to the other. And yes, I do eventually come head to head in between my two cultures, especially when extended family and education is involved under one subject matter. And most importantly because I am a women as well. I am a mestiza who sins in this country for being and physically looking brown as Andrea Canaan proclaims in her article titled Brownness. She argues that being brown is degrading and having self-oppression. And although us as Hispanics or Latinos do not label ourselves as being inferior to whites we already revolve in a world where our characteristics include being lazy, poor, dirty, and/or uneducated (Canaan 232). So no matter how hard I try just because I have a hint of brown tone in my skin, dark hair, and dark brown eyes I am still considered ignorant to the American Country and to the employees from retail stores that assume that my family and I don’t have a bit of understanding of the English language.
But don’t think it’s only a pretty picture within my Mexican culture side. It too has made me feel as if I should be degraded because I am not Mexican enough to understand the customs and traditions of its culture. When I had my daughter over the summer of 2015 there was an assumption that I wouldn’t be going back to school anymore and I was going to devote my entire self to my child, my husband, and the home, as did and still do most Mexican women who get married and have children because that is their “duty of life.” For my Mexican family I am seen as lazy and uncaring because I’m not home all day and everyday to cook and clean. They don’t see the importance of bettering one’s self with a steady career as Americans do because for them family and the home is your life job.
In the new consciousness of a mestiza Gloria argues that we need to first acknowledge the act that there are broken bridges between white and brown and we need to look at the problem with a different perspective, one which includes rather than excludes. As Chicanos we are part of this country because we were raised here and are also accustomed to the American Society. Our Hispanic culture also recognizes that we are also part of them because they know that we as Americans can make a difference for the Hispanic community as a whole. Between races we have bridges that turn into ties and it is up to us who are bicultural to decide how weak or strong we want those ties to be. Being a mestiza or mestizo can be hard because of the feeling of rejection but like Gloria states there can’t really be a change in how we value each other until there is an imagination in our heads (Anzaldúa 875).