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Hispanic Great Debaters Profile: Gloria Anzaldua

Nov 30, 2017 9:00:00 AM Erik Fogel Gloria Anzaldua


“Who is to say that robbing a people of its language is less violent than war?”  ― Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza


Gloria Anzaldua would be celebrating her 75th birthday on September 25th, 2017. Anzaldua was an author, poet, and cultural activist who fought to understand and remedy the cultural marginalization that she often felt as a Mexican-American growing up on Texas soil.

Anzaldua spent the majority of her youth feeling ostracized from her classmates. She suffered from a rare hormonal disorder that caused an early development of puberty, which caused her to stand out significantly from her peers. While attending kindergarten in a segregated Texas school system, Anzaldua continued to feel the divide among her classmates, as she only spoke Spanish.  Anzaldua fought against these stereotypes to continue her education and excelled in her classes. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in English and a master’s degree in English and education.

Anzaldua’s career continually revolved around education and reforming the system for the Latino population through her writing. She used her writing skills to bring to light issues that she experienced as a Chicana growing up in Texas. She strove to educate the public on feminist issues from a woman-of-color’s standpoint. Anzaldua’s most popular work today is Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, a semi-autobiographical book of poetry that outlines many of the issues that she faced growing up in Texas. Her book was innovative in the way that she approached lesbian feminist topics that were not previously brought to life from a Chicana-Tejana perspective. She used her voice to highlight issues that had perhaps gone unnoticed by a large portion of the population. Her work received many awards and recognitions, and is still used to this day as an example of cultural, feminist, and queer studies.

Anzaldua passed away in 2004 due to complications from diabetes. Before passing, she continued to write biographical works, essays, and children’s books to help bridge the gap for Chicana/o youth. 

Gloria Anzaldua is an outstanding example of activism among the Latino population. By joining your school's debate team, you can also become a voice for those around you. 

Erik Fogel

Written by Erik Fogel