Scholar and author Gloria Anzaldúa would have turned 75 today (September 26) had she not died from diabetes complications in 2004. Google honors her contributions to Chicanx, feminist and queer scholarship today with its new Doodle.
The illustration centers Anzaldúa’s profile in a three-part image that depicts a river running through the desert. Google’s blog post describes the theme as follows: ”Today’s Doodle celebrates Anzaldúa’s ability to live across borders, whether geographical, social or philosophical.”
Anzaldúa first encountered borders as a child. Google’s post notes that she was born in 1942 to Mexican-American parents near the Rio Grande River in Texas. She grew up in Mexico-Texas border towns, where she learned to love art and endured systemic racism familiar to many Latinx people in border states (which, until almost 100 years prior, were part of Mexico). Anzaldúa recalls her experiences in local schools in her essay “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”:
I remember being caught speaking Spanish at recess—that was good for three licks on the knuckles with a sharp ruler. I remember being sent to the comer of the classroom for “talking back” to the Anglo teacher when all I was trying to do was tell her how to pronounce my name. “If you want to be American, speak ‘American.’ If you don’t like it, go back to Mexico where you belong.”
She went on to create a canon of poetry and prose that explored the isolation that can arise when Chicanx people feel pulled between Mexican and American identities. Anzaldúa’s most famous work, ”Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza,” pushed that concept to new creative heights. Her mix of narrative formats in both Spanish and English dismissed the idea of physical and conceptual borders while affirming a proud Chicanx identity that distinguishes itself from colonialism’s Whitewashing erasure.
“Borderland/La Frontera” also examined the oppression Chicanx women and members of the LGBTQ community endure, drawing on Anzaldúa’s experiences as a queer Chicanx woman. She paved the way for future scholarship at the intersection of post-colonialism, queer theory and feminism.
Learn more about Anzaldúa’s legacy via the resources on website for The Gloria E. Anzaldúa Foundation.