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Culture and Identity Essay

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Like everything in life, there is always a cause to something and with a cause come’s its effects. In the case of Gloria Anzaldua and Eric Liu we see that the cause of them having to assimilate is because they live in a dominant society to which their culture and identity do not meet the standards of the currents society. This causes them to have to assimilate so that they are able to fit in.

In the case of Anzaldua we see that she has to change the way that she speaks because she has been brought up to think that the way she speaks with her accent is not right, she needs to assimilate her ways by changing the way she speaks to be able to fit in and gain a sense of higher respect. With Eric Liu we see that he assimilates because he wants to. He welcomes the change of having to fit into the dominant society, he actually longed for it. I agree with both authors that the cause for assimilating has to do with having to fit into a dominant culture.

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I believe this because as humans it is in our nature to adapt to different settings, especially if it has to do with survival needs. To assimilate, according to Professor Lozada, is “to try to fit in” characteristics of those around you. Both Anzaldua and Liu go through a process of assimilation, they differentiate in the sense that Liu doesn’t mind having to change his ways, as were Anzaldua is against having to change the way she is to please the standards other people perceive to be appropriate about the dominant culture. Anzaldua has to assimilate her form of speaking.

We see this when she has to take two speech classes to get lose the accent. However Anzaldua disagrees with having to change her form of speech because she sees it as part of her identity. For Anzaldua to get rid of her accent would be to in some way deny her culture. Part of the reason as to why she changes this is because even as a child her own mother would tell her that she needed to speak perfect English to be able to partake in anything in the dominant culture. Liu assimilates everything that he possibly can from his form of looking to some of his traditions as well.

Liu tells us how even as a kid assimilation was at first something that he had to grow into, we see it throughout his teenage years, his college life, and even as an adult when he chose to marry someone out of his race, which isn’t a bad thing but its not something traditional either. I do not think that Anzaldua should have to had lost her accent, as long as she would have been able to speak the language is all that she needed. Even though she disagrees with the beliefs of the dominant society she vows to never lose her native language. Anzaldua states “I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing.

I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpents tongue –my woman’s voice, my sexual voice, my poet’s voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence. ” This is basically saying that she will not change herself to the point that she is going to lose who she really is, or her beliefs. Anzaldua is so against having to assimilate in any way that in some way it makes her seem really bitter about the whole situation. We also see that Anzaldua assimilates her form of speaking when she speaks the different types of Spanish, because not everyone that she comes into contact with might speak the same type of Spanish.

The dominant culture in Anzaldua’s case has an effect that even during her time of teaching, she had to fight for the rights to be able to teach Spanish material to her students, the effect of that cause was having to argue with those of a higher rank than her and even at times having to sneak around prompts and Spanish material because the school boards were very much against any other material that was out of place, according to them. In the case of Liu we see that he has a very positive outlook in assimilating himself.

And yet it is as though Liu never really had to assimilate because when he was born his parents were not traditional to begin with. We are able to see that Liu has accepted his form of assimilation because he refers to himself as a “banana. ” “Banana” being the term that Asian’s use to describe other Asian’s that “have moved away from the periphery and toward the center of American life. ” By moving to the center of American life I believe that Asians mean that it is an Asian who has willingly given up their cultural traditions to take on that of a western life.

Liu believes that he his Asian culture in some way holds him back from fitting into the dominant society and culture which is why he is willing to change. We see an example of this during his teenage years as he try’s to do his hair to fit in with what was trending at the time, it results in Liu shaving his hair off. In having shaved his hair he literally loses part of the Asianness in him. He shaved his hair because to him his hair was only a reminder that it would not allow him to fir into the “cool” crowd because it would never allow him too. We see that Liu changes once more to his environment when he goes off to college.

He does not fully avoid having Asian friends, but he sets certain ground rules for himself. One of the ground rules that he sets for himself is that he would not join any Asian only clubs. Liu tells his audience “I didn’t want to be part of a clique, that I didn’t want to get absorbed and lose my individuality- were the very development that marked my own assimilation” in this Liu is telling us that that is the reason why he chose not to be in the club, he did not want to be known for being only Asian, he wanted to be known or other things as well.

In a way regardless of everything an individual will always be part of a group. To assimilate can be seen as a good thing and a bad, but as humans we can’t help it. As people we are constantly changing, it is simply inevitable. Assimilation is important because it is part of a survival skill in some way. We change to adapt to our settings because we have a fear to stand out from the crowd. In a dominant culture whatever the dominant culture see’s fit, we do. Therefore that is what assimilation is all about. We change to fit the standards of what is dominating our every surrounding

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