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Cover Letter

University of Queens College

 Machismo and Assimilation: Racial and Cultural issues Latinas face in the United States.

Latinas assimilating to the American Culture

Jennifer Gallegos

English 255

Prof. Alvarez



In my paper I will discuss the struggles that Latinas face in the United States. I will discuss the problems and issues they face assimilating to this new culture. The different ways different races assimilate in the United States. The difference there is between Newyourikan Latinas and Mexican Mestizajes. Also the problem women face because of machismo. In most Hispanic families men have always been the head of the family and the leaders. This has affected many women for many years until today. Women have always been looked down at and categorized as objects. Latinas face many issues because they are females. Their culture influences men to have power over them. Both of the writers Nicholasa Morh and Gloria Anzaldua are figures of women who have lived their lives differently. Both writers express their feelings not only by trying to change the way they lived their lives but also through their writing. These women have made a difference in the Latino culture writing about their harsh experiences as women, and standing up for themselves. All of the readings I wrote in the works cited will focus on the issues that I mentioned in my abstract.

“At the Greyhound bus station, at airports, at silent warfs the bodies exit the craft. women, men, Children; cast out from the new paradise” (Herrera 1685)
In this quote Herrera States that all these people are thrown out of their native country and land in America. They seem to come from somewhere bad, where they have mistreated them. Most of these people probably didn’t agree with the government and refused to follow their rules and regulations. The quote states that  they have casted out from the new paradise. Which is contradicting because paradise relates to something positive. In this case it relates to people that have been casted out,  which means that they have been thrown there. These people were kicked out of their homes entering this new world. In which they are not familiar with and will face many obstacles. These new comers will have to try their best and assimilate to all these changes. Without a choice this is brought upon their lives, and are forced to change and become accustomed to this new world.

“Labyrinth of scarred hearts wounded in the sown struggle sproutings in the making of a historical leaf of radical movement a people powered in red clad faith en peitencia guerrera en revolucion morena grasp serene hands on the earth plowing, plowing” (1659)

This reflects on having power over those that don’t have Much power or any at all. Those with power will always have things go the way they want them to because
They have the last word. Poor people should be persistent in order to accomplish what they want. They should work hard and unite in order for them to help with change. Minorities will struggle a lot trying to change things. There are many things that influence the leaders that have power to maintain That position in this world. There’s racism which doesn’t allow those that are low class people rise but this shouldn’t be a reason for them to give up.

“time it shines with a bone in one hand strange jate dusty dreams of immortality of power omnipotent delusions test waves” (Alurista 1659)

One can think of power to be the most important thing in life. The bone in this poem signifies the power. Power can cause an illusion to ones mind allowing the mind to block everything else. Here being immortal signifies all the power one can have over everyone else who is mortal, this refers to the rich who have power and poor people that have to live under their rules and regulations. Allowing the mind to believe no one else can be on top or having more power then that person whose in charge. Or the social group that has all the power because they have money and riches in this world in which the poor would want to have or accomplish “The American Dream”. Power is also represented as a light when stating that it shines. Having someone superior to you demanding you to accomplish things can become very complicated. Having the power and strength to over come these problems will show how much power you have, even when you are not part of a high class society.

“I never dreamed existed, and the pull of the moon is stronger than usual, maybe I look like a bitch, probably because that’s what I am”( Villanueva 1608).

Alma Luz Villanueva sums up her whole poem in these last lines. She expresses her  feelings of how people portray her because of the way she is. They are judging her of being this bitch because she doesn’t give up. She fights for what she wants even when others have tried to put her down and trash her dignity. Life hasn’t given her the luxury of having things her way, because she was mistreated by her husband and family. She has had to fight for what she wants and believes is right, in order to survive in this world full of disappointments. Nothing or no one will put her down she will stand up and fight, even when they call her a bitch Villanueva does not let this interfere with her emotions ” maybe I look like a bitch, probably because that’s what I am”. Others might see her as a bitch, only she knows the truth and does not let these words change her attitude or persistence in life.

“In public, my father and mother spoke a hesitant, accented, not always grammatical English. And they would have to strain-their bodies tense- to catch the sense of what was rapidly said by los gringos. At home they spoke Spanish. The language of their Mexican past sounded in counterpoint to the English of public society. The words would come quickly, with ease. Conveyed through the sounds was the pleasing, soothing, consoling reminder of being at home” (Rodriguez 1577)

Richard Rodriguez describes the feelings not only he felt, but his parents as well when they came to America. They felt a disconnection at times with white people as they called them Los gringos.  It was hard for them to be able to understand everything that was said to them because English was not their native language. At times they had to try their best to speak English. Also understanding others when they spoke to them in English. Living in this country made them realize how different they were from Americans even though they tried to fit in, once they got back home they spoke Spanish. Speaking Spanish felt right and it reminded them of where they came from which gave them a sense of belonging unlike like here in America where everything was different. Where people looked at them differently and were not as welcoming as they would’ve wanted them to be. Assimilating is not always easy most immigrants have a hard time trying to change their lifestyles to feel like they are part of America. Even when they try sometimes it is impossible to feel part of this country because at heart they will always be Mexican or Latino.

“Ella [Background music begins.] Peceras. [Sits at her dressing table. Stares into the mirror. Gets lost in memories.] Las peceras me recuerdan el aeropuerto cuando me fui… los que se iban, dentro de la pecera. Esperando. Esperando dentro de aquel cuarto transparente… Una pecera llena de peces asustados, que no sabian nadar, que no sabian de las aguas heladas… donde los tiburones andan con pistolas” (1551)

Dolores Prida is describing this fish tank in great details. She talks about a fish tank being full of fishes and feeling worried, and compares it to the time she left Cuba. Prida writes about these fishes comparing them to people, she relates the feelings one can have when leaving their native country. All these questions arise to someones mind when they will leave far away from home into a new land. Leaving behind there family members or as she mentions here her close relatives. Prida states that a person will not know what they will have to face, that even though one can see what is outside the fish tank they might not know what is really happening on the outside. They might perceive it as one thing which can turn into something totally different. Being an immigrant in another country is the same. The image you might have of this new place you will live in can turn out so different then what one has imagined. All the tears mentioned in this quote symbolize the sadness and troubles many immigrants face when coming to America. Having to work hard and sometimes treated unfairly, not knowing English having to speak to others with out really knowing how to say certain things. This can cause a lot of humiliation and emotional disorder to a person who is new to a different world such as America.

“Electricity and water to the embassy were cut off, and for 10,800 people, 800 food rations were delivered. In addition, State Security smuggled in numerous undercover agents who went as far as to murder former high government officials requesting asylum. The area surrounding the embassy was scattered with Communist Youth Organization and Communist Party IDs, discarded by the people inside” (Mariel 1543)

This political asylum brought a lot of tragedy to Cuba. The government system was corrupt, Castro made the wrong decision when he decided to go against what the government from Peru wanted. After Castro’s decision to take his guards off duty and allow every citizen to do as they pleased. Everything became very chaotic and no one followed any rules or regulations. People didn’t even have enough food. Those who asked for asylum were killed because the Peruvian government did not want his country to get over populated. This was a serious conflict that Castro had to deal with after he had established to his people to do what they wanted. Castro did not accomplish much with his way of governing instead he had to deal with the huge mess he had made by trying to rule by his terms. Everyone wanted to be secure and stay in the US territory, no one wanted to be governed by Castro.

“Chicano Cutural Nationalism: A Critical Overview Before advancing to Anzalduas critique of nationalism, however, I would like to offer a survey of the Chicano cultural nationalist context to which Anzalduas addresses herself most immediately. In organzing people of Mexican descent in the United States against the historical forces of ethnic/racial discrimination and capitalsit exploitation that oppressed them, Chicano cultural nationalism created a politically oppositonal identity (“Chicano”) and developed a national myth around which to consolidate the resulting “imagined community” (Garcia 104)

Garcia states that since many Mexicans try to develop a new way of living in a different country. Many Mexicans are open minded to different lifstyles. They try to identify themseleves to this particular new culture and form an oppositonal identity. These people are oppressed and fight for their rights, going against what others believe. The rules and regulations that are meant to be followed in the U.S., make these people question their identity at times. The difficult part of this new identity that these mestizos acquire focuses on the different life styles they have created for themselves. Garcia states that the main influence comes from an individual looking for acceptance. They want to belong to a certain country not only live in it. Many people form a certain image in their minds which does not allow them to analyze what is occurring outside the box. Their thoughts are narrow creating a conflict for those that are different.

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