Saturday, August 19, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Gloria E. Anzaldua (1942 – 2004)


Chicana lesbian feminist writer and scholar best known for co-editing the anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color.
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Gloria E. Anzaldua
Bridges are thresholds to other realities, archetypal, primal symbols of shifting consciousness. They are passageways, conduits, and connectors that connote transitioning, crossing borders, and changing perspectives. Bridges span liminal (threshold) spaces between worlds, spaces I call nepantla, a Nahuatl word meaning tierra entre medio. Transformations occur in this in-between space, an unstable, unpredictable, precarious, always-in-transition space lacking clear boundaries. Nepantla es tierra desconocida, and living in this liminal zone means being in a constant state of displacement--an uncomfortable, even alarming feeling. Most of us dwell in nepantla so much of the time it’s become a sort of “home.” Though this state links us to other ideas, people, and worlds, we feel threatened by these new connections and the change they engender.
Anzaldua quotes
Why am I compelled to write? Because the writing saves me from this complacency I fear. Because I have no choice. Because I must keep the spirit of my revolt and myself alive. Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it.
Anzaldua
Living in a multicultural society, we cross into each other’s worlds all the time. We live in each other’s pockets, occupy each other’s territories, live in close proximity and in intimacy with each other at home, in school, at work. We are mutually complicitous - us and them, white and colored, straight and queer, Christian and Jew, self and Other, oppressor and oppressed. We all of us find ourselves in the position of being simultaneously insider/outsider. The Spanish word “nosotras” means “us.” In theorizing insider/outsider I write the word with a slash between nos (us) and otras (others). Today the division between the majority of “us” and “them” is still intact. This country does not want to acknowledge its walls or limits, the places some people are stopped or stop themselves, the lines they aren’t allowed to cross. . . . [But] the future belongs to those who cultivate cultural sensitivities to differences and who use these abilities to forge a hybrid consciousness that transcends the “us” vs. “them” mentality and will carry us into a nosotras position bridging the extremes of our cultural realities.




Anzaldua Gloria E. quotes
At some point, on our way to a new consciousness, we will have to leave the opposite bank, the split between the two mortal combatants somehow healed so that we are on both shores at once and, at once, see through serpent and eagle eyes. Or perhaps we will decide to disengage from the dominant culture, write it off all together as a lost cause, and cross the border into a wholly new and separate territory. Or we might go another route. The possibilities are numerous once we decide to act and not react.
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