In this world where image and identity play such a significant role in life it’s only natural that people fear being rejected; they urge a sense of belonging and so they conform to what is seen as correct in society. This is true for most but there are the occasional few who strive to set themselves apart from the rest and follow what they believe in. These individuals are considered to be different and because of it they are often alienated by society. Being different can be considered anything from looking a certain way, speaking a certain way, acting a certain away, and etc.
This demonstrates the relationship and clash between the individual and the community. In the essay “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, by Gloria Anzaldua, the author talks about her childhood in Texas and how she was restrained from speaking Spanish because it wasn’t seen as “American,” instead she was told to speak English. We soon learn that her actual language is Chicano Spanish, which is a cross between Spanish and English and because of it she is looked down upon by both English and Spanish speakers.
Throughout the essay she struggles with her own identity as she conforms by speaking a certain language in different situations to fit in but later in her life she takes pride in her culture as she discovers that that is the only way to take pride in herself. On the other hand the essay by Franklin Foer “How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization” he uses soccer as a metaphor about globalization and uses it to show the clash of cultures in America.
Soccer was seen as a threat to the American society because it didn’t originate in the U.S. and it threatens the popularity of baseball, “a true American sport.” In both essays there is a distinct relationship between the individual and the community and they show how the community will do whatever they can to repress those they view as different. Looking back at Anzaldua’s essay there were several occasions where she was discriminated against. One example of this happening is when she was in school and was punished for speaking in Spanish. Her Anglo teacher said to her “If you want to be American, speak ‘American.’ If you don’t like it, go back to Mexico where you belong.” (374).
In other words, the teacher is saying that just because she speaks Spanish she doesn’t qualify to be an American. To be an American you must speak English and that is what she is made to believe. When she speaks English the Spanish speakers say to her “Pocho, cultural traitor, you’re speaking the oppressor’s language by speaking English, you’re ruining the Spanish language,” (375). The Spanish speakers are calling her a traitor for speaking English and so she is alienated by both the English and the Spanish speakers.
Her actual language is Chicano Spanish which is a cross between English and Spanish. At first she is ashamed by her own language but later on she takes pride in it. She claims “I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent’s tongue-my woman’s voice, my sexual voice, my poet’s voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence.” (378). In other words, Anzaldua is stating that she will no longer be ashamed of her culture and that she will take pride in her voice. This demonstrates what makes Anzaldua an individual that stands out from the crowd and the community.
She doesn’t conform to how people want her to be and she sticks up for what she believes in. In Foer’s essay he uses soccer to demonstrate how Americans fear globalization. Allen Bara, a sportswriter for the Wall Street Journal, proves that Americans fear globalization. Bara believes that the people who support soccer want the U.S. to “get with the rest of the world’s program.” Bara sees the U.S. following suit with the rest of the world as something negative showing his fear of globalization. The U.S. is the only place where a large number of people actually campaign against soccer Many of the people who are against soccer are avid supporters of baseball.
Foer claims that “The United States, with its unashamedly dynamic culture, doesn’t have too many deeply rooted, transgenerational traditions that it can claim as its own. Baseball is one of the few.” The point Foer is trying to make is that because the U.S. doesn’t have much traditions of its own Americans praise the few that they have such as Baseball and attack soccer because they believe it is a threat to their beloved sport. The people on Foer’s side that are for soccer aren’t so perfect themselves on the other hand. Foer claims “I’ve been around enough of America’s soccer cognoscenti to know that they invite abuse.
They are inveterate snobs, so snobbish, in fact, that they think nothing of turning against their comrades.” (647). Foer is saying that there are some supporters of soccer that are rich and stuck up giving soccer fans a bad image. This demonstrates that Foer acknowledges that both sides aren’t perfect. The essays of both writers are similar in a way because they both talk about something that is repressed by society. In Anzaldua’s essay it is her own language that is being repressed and in Foer’s essay it is soccer that is being repressed.
In a way they are different also because Anzaldua’s essay is more personal whereas Foer’s essay is more about a clash of culture in America. Being an individual in a community means staying true to yourself and doing what you believe in instead of becoming what society wants you to become.
Courtney from Study Moose
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