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American Culture - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Class 16 October 2011 American Culture from Different Perspectives This essay reviews several cultural concepts from different perspectives. It studies how some authors define and relate these concepts to law, citizenship, capitalism, freedom, geographic spaces, and welfare state…
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American Culture
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Download file to see previous pages Gloria Anzaldua defines the “mestiza consciousness” as the transition from “convergent” to “divergent thinking” (16). It means that the Chicana should stop accommodating and integrating the dominating languages and sets of thinking of the white people, which is a “converging process,” and instead, they should express themselves according to their own language/s and experiences, which concerns divergent thinking and behavior. Language is a specific indicator of the “mestiza consciousness,” because Anzaldua asserts that it is unnatural for Hispanics to be always interpreting or translating themselves in English, when they would rather take pride in speaking, and hence, legitimizing, their wide range of languages, including Chicano-Texas Spanish, Spanglish, and other forms of combined or pure Hispanic languages (9). Anzaldua is concerned that the law has not properly accepted these languages as legitimate, with the constant use of English in laws and social institutions. She mentions the difference between natural and unnatural geographic borders that impact Mexicans’ cultural development. The ocean acknowledges natural borders, while the U.S. has erected unnatural borders to keep out illegal immigrants. Unnatural borders intend to keep out the “other” race, which is an effort to maintain policing racial relations. Furthermore, as American citizens, who are supposed to be equal with the whites, Anzaldua emphasizes the importance of not allowing the state to dictate the Chicana’s linguistic and individuality development. Somerville and Discussions of Sexuality and Race Siobhan B. Somerville examines sexuality and race in light of the history of sexology in the United States and the rise of eugenicist and antimiscegenation attitudes and legislation in the essay, “Scientific Racism and the Invention of the Homosexual Body.” As the nineteenth century ended, sexologists wanted to define and examine sexuality using medical discourse, instead of legalistic terms, which was the practice during that time (18). Somerville emphasizes that from here, the discourse on scientific racism developed, where the “homosexual” body is invented based on both gender and racial lines. These studies, for instance, highlighted the biological, sexual differences between white and black women, where the latter were separated from the former through their “remarkable development of the labia minora” (26). This emphasis demonstrated how racial differences lead to “peculiar” sexual boundaries and that this peculiarity also affected attitudes toward the colored races (Somerville 26). During this time, eugenicist and antimiscegenation attitudes also abounded. Eugenics lamented about the rise of mixed races (i.e. mulattos) and immigration, because it diluted the white stock. Eugenics promoted “selective reproduction” (30) to purify the white race once more. Anti-miscegenation laws were then enforced levels of racial segregation at marriage and intimate relationship levels. Plessy v. Fergusson, for instance, is based on racial discrimination that focuses on sexuality, because it imposes racial purity through physical segregation of the races (Somerville 37). Hence, it can be seen that the state used the law to impose racial discrimination based on primitive assumptions about race’s impact on sexuality and human behavior. Alexander: Heteropatriarchy, Heteronormativity, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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