Ty Iwamoto, Martha Valles and Keiko Yoshioka
Latin American studies scholars Edna Acosta-Belén and Carlos E. Santiago argue an unavoidable interconnection between North America and Latin America, basing their ideas on 19th century Cuban writer José Marti’s vision of Nuestra America (Our America). Other intellectuals of Jose Marti’s time envisioned Latin America in an “emulation” of “civilized” European and Anglo-Saxon cultures (30), however José Martí’s vision constituted a multicultural society that promoted racial tolerance and harmony and eliminated Anglo-American ethnocentrism. Martí’s vision was not a “struggle of races,” but rather the “affirmation of rights” (30). In arguing the United States’ unavoidable history and cultural ties with Latin America, the authors discuss the Mexican-American War during which the U.S. seized half the territory of what was Mexico. They quote Chicano filmmaker Luis Valdez, “We did not come to the United States at all. The United States came to us” (32). The authors argue that the U.S. does not recognize Latinos in history like the Latinos recognize the U.S. Marti’s vision of Nuestra America is more pertinent today when technological advancements allow for unlimited networking and communication. A ten-year project called Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project strive to compile and annotate literary and historical writings by Latinos that reveal experiences of “border cultures” by Latin American immigrants. These writings play an important role in discovering and publishing “a chronicle of the past and in providing glimpses into the everyday life of the diverse Latin communities at different historical periods” (34).
That is why I will always remain on the margins, a stranger among the stones,
Even beneath the sum of summer’s day, just as I will remain forever a foreigner, even when I return to the city of my childhood, I carry this marginality, immune to all turning back, too habanera to be a newyorquina, too newyorquina to be
– Even to become again –
(Lourdes Casal, “For Ana Veldford.” P.40)