I was editing a manuscript today, and I had a quote that I’d planned to use in it, but in the final draft I could not fit it in. Even so, I felt the quote far too interesting to disregard, so I decided to post it here as a reminder to myself to return to Gloria Anzaldúa’s work to inform my own future scholarship.
In Borderlands/La Frontera, Anzaldúa writes:
The other mode of consciousness facilitates images from the soul and the unconscious through dreams and the imagination. Its work is labeled “fiction,” make-believe, wish-fulfillment. White anthropologists claim that Indians have “primitive” and therefore deficient minds, that we cannot think in the higher mode of consciousness-rationality. They are fascinated by what they call the “magical” mind, the “savage” mind, the participation mystique of the mind that says the world of the imagination–the world of the soul—and of the spirit is just as real as physical reality. In trying to become “objective,” Western culture made “objects” of things and people when it distanced itself from them, thereby losing “touch” with them. This dichotomy is the root of all violence.– Anzaldúa (36-37)
Not only was the brain split into two functions but so was reality. Thus people who inhabit both realities are forced to live in the interface between the two, forced to become adept at switching modes. Such is the case with the india and the mestiza.