25 October, 2012
My Thoughts on Race and Cultural Diversity
“How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldua is an essay exploring the struggles that primarily Spanish-speaking cultures face when it comes to adapting to their current environments. Anzaldua is famous for writing books in English and all Spanish dialects, and in this particular piece, she identifies that “linguistic terrorism” has played a key role in the change her native language has undergone. I completely agree with Anzaldua and see where she is coming from, as I don’t see any place for discrimination against someone who is using their language to communicate with others, or connect with their history, ethnicity, and roots either.
I think one of the reasons Anzaldua has a good reason to defend her position of her heritage falling victim to “linguistic terrorism” is majority of the American population has placed more value on material things such as technology (tablets, cell phones, computers) and less on non-material values (history, ethnicity, relationships with those around us). I can’t speak for everyone, but I know many people personally who see accommodations for those whose first language is not English (for example, having to “press one for Spanish” and “press two for English”) as an inconvenience. Don’t get me wrong, anyone who lives in the United States of America should essentially know how to speak English, but I think it’s unfair to call it a “inconvenience” when America itself is supposedly this great “melting pot” that any race or language can thrive in.
A reason I can identify with Anzaldua is because I have come in contact with people like her, who are determined to keep her language alive even when others are trying to curb their tongues. About a year ago I was privileged to attend a Pow-Wow that Yakima Reservation Native Americans organized, and one of the striking similarities between Anzaldua’s testimony and these...