Friday, May 25th, 2012...2:30 am

36. Pachuco and Anzaldúa’s Borders

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“The U.S.- Mexican border es un herida abierta  where the Third World grates against the first and bleads […] Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe,  to distinguish us from them. A border is a dividing line, a narrow strip along a steep edge. A borderland is a vague and undetermined place created by the emotional residue of an unnatural boundary.  It is in a constant state of transition. The prohibited and forbidden are its inhabitants […] those who cross over, pass over, or go through the confined of the “normal […] Ambivalence and unrest reside there and death is no stranger” (Anzaldúa 1493)

In this excerpt, Anzaldúa addresses the idea of “borders” as both literal and metaphorical lines that work to divide two groups. According to Anzaldúa, these lines work to create and separate a specific “us” from a specific “them.” The two sides of the border work as polar opposites: “Borders are set up to define the places that are safe and unsafe.” Immediately, Anzaldúa sets up two binary’s, “safe” and “unsafe,” in general terms, “good” and “bad.” In this case, the Mexican side of the border identifies with the “bad,” “unsafe,” while the U.S. side of the border identifies as the “safe” side. Not only does the border separate, the border also “divides,” which implies a sense of a clear, defined disunity and split.  Anzaldúa uses words such as “vague,” “undetermined,” “transition,” and “ambivalence” to highlight the ambiguity of the identity of those who reside in the border or straddle in between both the U.S. and Mexico, both literally and figuratively.

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