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Response 5

Tatiana Shamash

Professor Alvarez

English 255

Response 5


Livingon the Border: The Question of Beliogning and the Hyphenated Identity in I am Joaquin

and Borderlands/La Frontera

What does it truly mean to live in the in between? For many Latinos, the term hyphen may be applied to this very situation where there has been continuing bouts of racism.  A division of lack of unison is created as the result of a polarization of two identities, or rather, being caught in the in between. The hyphenated identity may be defined as living in the in between or being referred to as the other.  For many Latinos, the hopes of the American Dream are but an intangible dream because they will never be able to fully conform and are thus seen as a molding of two cultures as opposed to fully American. One is diminished to a mere symbol of the results of hybridity and mixing resulting in the hyphenated identity. As a result, one may try to attempt to embrace the divided identity through language, while it may lead to a direct opposite effect where one does not know where they stand.

For my essay, I will focus on the text “I am Joaquin” and the piece by Anzaldua in an attempt to show both sides of the hyphen. The article by Stavans and Benjamin Bailey are both another form which depict language and its negative connotations associated with the hyphen. The article deals with the ways in which people are racialized due to language and livingon the hyphen. Language may be defined as a means of communication and viewed as crucial to our everyday lives and essentially what shapes our very existence. It allows for communication, a spreading of messages, and what separates human apart from other species. Without language, life would cease to exist and a way of transmitting information would be close to impossible. I am Joaquin by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales” examines the effect language has on those who live as
part of the hyphen.  Often times, ethnolingusitic terms appear in an attempt to describe the condition of hyphenated or double identity individuals living on the border. Many resent such stereotypical categories and aim to free themselves of all labels in an attempt to validate the self. Bailey argues that negotiating one’s identity remains so by the use of language. Dominican immigrants, in particular, remain part of the category in which the hyphen provides social classification. However, Bailey argues that the race of an individual seems situational. Gonzales
uses the term “grito” yet introduces a contradictory position by “turning his back by [killing] him”, depicting identity correlating directly with ethnicity and a rejection or acceptance deems the leading factor for individuals. Essentially, a negotiation of some sort results from the hyphen. However, Bailey makes note of the fact that the way this becomes a possibility, through


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1 Comment

One Comment so far ↓

  • salvarez

    Tatiana, this sounds great so far–I can really see the academic discourse voice taking hold. Keep in mind that you should refer to your “essay” as an article itself. So, for example, you should write,

    “In this article, I will debate . . . ” and so on. Pretend you are writing for the same audiences as in those journal articles. How can you sound like you belong? I think you do a pretty good job so far by showing the lingo.

    Keep it up, great choices in texts.

    Fix the spelling your title please. Be aware that you may have to think about Chicano experience and give a nod in your conclusion to a larger Latino experience of hypenation, and how this plays out with different immigrants from across the globe coming to the USA.

    5 out of 5 points.

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