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Cover letter

My experience this semester to say at the very least; was an educational one. I have attained a strong familiarity with the cultural themes relevant to the social history of the “Latin@s” population. Along with this experience I have achieved an understanding of current events pertaining to the ongoing issues of integration among Latino immigrants. It was certainly more than a reading and writing class to me. The material was made intriguing in that the instructor extracted and compiled the influence of classmates which didn’t make this class (for lack of a better word) boring and dull. This technique that was precisely utilized by the instructor aided my personal understanding of the material. With this understanding I was enabled to develop a body of writing to sustain further analyses and development which I hadn’t been able prior to taking this class.

Cultural Tyranny

“Today some of us have a fourth choice: entering the world by way of education and career and becoming self-autonomous persons. A very few of us. As a working class people our chief activity is to put food in our mouths, a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs. Educated our children is out of reach for most of us.” (Anzaldua 1502)

Gloria Anzaldua is an example of how women writers would use their writing to be expressive towards the conflicts within society that people are generally silent about. Anzaldua was so strong in expressing how culture forms our beliefs its almost as if she maintained this rebellious tone. She’s rejecting the norms of society with hopes of liberating women from a culture that sees them as second class citizens. Anzaldua’s work just made me realized how literature had transformed. She beat the norm of the society just by expressing her feelings on it, being a recognized author in Latino Literature. Without a doubt her accounts are being told in memoirs, and this is what I was talking about how real and intimate it becomes when the author puts herself in the writing, where the emotions and experiences become so real.

Voice over Time

I wanted to write so badly it hurt.
All afternoon tied to a desk,
to a page flat out on a table—
i was getting nowhere,
just fending off failure and the darkening light.

I want to say hours passed,
then days: and how to grasp the essence
that came shimmering in air and the obscuring shade?
How exactly to say it, to get it laid out on paper
with my pencil or pen?
Slow, so slow, this process of clear recollection,
of sifting back through the shadows of memory—
there, too, is life.

Oh memory, my memory,
give me back what is mine and guide me
in the very telling of everything that stayed behind
—may my voice win out over time.

I love this poem. It kind of made me feel like this is my theme song..i mean my theme poem. This is how i always feel when writing so I can really relate. I’m not talking about school work by the way, I mean like writing poems and other writings of expression. i feel as though sometimes I have a book to write but i spend hours trying to figure out how I’m going to initiate, “slow, so slow this process of clear recollection…” My favorite part of the poem was the last line…”may my voice win out over time”. Its simple when considering the task of writing, (like I hope i recall my thoughts quick so I could get it down on paper) but when taking it to a broader sense, I took it as the race against time which is the nature of this life.


“Throughout its history in the United States, the Spanish language was in constant flux, adapting to new conditions. In the 1980s and 1990s, the mixing of Spanish and English into Spanglish became an increasingly important device in the Latino writer’s arsenal of expressive resources. The use of Spanglish was even more widespread in media such as television, radio, and music.” (Stavans 1465)

For me personally the Spanglish did make pieces of writing that much more real for me. In fact, its addition made the works more personalized and intimate because it enabled me to hear what it was like to be deficient in the language and still try to be expressive. However, put it under analysis, Spanglish does validate the notion that Latinos have not integrated into U.S. culture as previous immigrants did. Some argue it to be spoken by the lazy or uneducated who couldn’t really get a grasp on the English language. i personally lean towards the idea that its innovative and should be applauded because Spanglish is a symbol in itself of the struggle to integrating into society.

The Favorable Genre

“A favorite genre within the Latino literacy renaissance was the coming of-age story, delivered either as a straightforward memoir or as thinly disguised autobiographical fiction. Richard Rodriguez, Edward Rivera, Esmeralda Santiago, and later, Denise Chavez, Ariel Dorfman, Gustavo Perez Firmat, and Ilan Stavans would use the genre to reflect on the trials and tribulations of Latino life in the United States.” (Stavans 1465)

I think the “favorite genre” pretty much describes mostly everything in this anthology. The accounts that i have come across are mostly memoirs and stories that are fiction but are a representation of the lives of the author (autobiographical fiction). Despite the fact that this genre is recurring throughout the works I have read, i think they are the best forms of expression. It all sounds so real when its in a memoir and when its told as a story its appealing to read. Self-revelations is what make these writings..works of literature.

True Reform

“The new strategy was not to revolt and promote secession, as some revolutionary figures in the 1960s and 1970s had done, but rather to work through existing Latino organizations, increase lobbying efforts, and seek consensus on issues. As new laws granted both civil rights and equal opportunity, activism decreased noticeably. ” (Stavans 1463)

Now some real progress was being made. Its like you can’t do the same thing over and over and expect different results. This new strategy opened up doors for the Latino community. They were granted equal opportunities, so much so that Latinos became lawyers and doctors, which is a huge step up from the Bracero Program. So now we see that the minority is joining the middle class. Regardless of the issue that was raised about Spanish being a deterrence for integration, i think the Latinos did fine integrating given that they started to become the key players in society.

Spanish an obstacle?

“As the country recognized its linguistic diversity, however conservative forces pointed to the perseverance of Spanish as proof that Latinos were not entering the melting pot. Some Latinos sensed that Spanish was too easily accessible and was an obstacle on the road to cultural immersion, and thus that bilingualism was not the best course to integration into U.S. society.” (Stavans 1463)

Yes it was a great recognition to have Spanish be a dominant tongue as mentioned in my previous post, but it seems to be causing a conflict. Furthermore, the prevalence of the language being a means of utterance for integration is a valid point. Its as if now one can do without learning or grasping the English language just as long as he or she has Spanish because the communication barrier is deteriorating due to the prevalence of the language. That can be a good thing but also a bad thing as mentioned that the Latinos are not entering the melting pot. On the contrary the reality is that small communities are being formed where they’re secluded because of language thus the disability to integrate into society.

The Dominant Tongue

“Over the decades, El espanol gradually became the second language of the United States, ubiquitous in streets, schools, restaurants, and so on. The endurance of this immigrant tongue puzzled linguists and cultural commentators. When other languages had entered the United States, they largely disappeared among acculturated schoolchildren, but Spanish refused to vanish among the Latino youth.” (Stavans 1463)

How interesting that Latinos were initially regarded as the minority group in America. They were even discriminated against in society and put in terrible working conditions because they were seen as low class citizens. All the name calling the social injustice all resulted in recognition. What better recognition to give people when their language becomes one of the dominant ones in a land where they were once estranged. On top of that, the language is not only wide-spoken, but spread out through television, radio, and other media…definitely a form of recognition.

Convenience and not a Reality…

“It was indicative of the differences in outlooks among Latinos that the majority of foreign-born Latinos, and a substantial number of those born in the United States (on the mainland, in the case of Puerto Ricans), identified themselves by nationality rather than ethnicity. For the most part, they called themselves Colombians, Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, and so on, rather than Latinos.” (Stavans 1462)

Here’s another instance of a label has been slapped on for “statistical convenience”. Clearly Latino immigrants identify themselves as more than being a Latino, they ascribe to their nation from which they have come from. I was under the impression that Latino was a term adopted by immigrants who considered themselves unified from among the other nations. However, on the contrary I do feel like it does give a sense of unity to the immigrants because “Latinos” are no longer the newest minorities, and because they have become prevalent I feel as though using the term does serve to unite and create a sense of community.

Label Me Won’t You

“…the term Hispanic was adopted by the U.S. government when, on September 12, 1969, President Richard M. Nixon signed into law the celebration of a Hispanic Heritage Week. The term was then consistently used in government documents as an umbrella category for Spanish-speakers, regardless of their ethnic and national backgrounds.)”

So Hispanic became a convenient label for the Spanish speaking. Its interesting to see how rapidly something like that spreads when the U.S. government has anything to say about it. All it took was for it to be out there, and the likes of the media would carry on the term and make it prevalent. The term isn’t the point here, its about a principle. This is how stereotypes and discrimination spread so easily. It just takes that higher authority to slap the label on and then it gets manufactured. That’s like calling someone or labeling a group of people who speak for example English; and they’re all categorized as “Englics”…yes i just made a word up…


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