By Santi Rodriguez
This is a reflection based on a recent visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in Laredo, Texas as part of January Term.
I was not born at the border. In fact, I only came to the United States from Colombia at age sixteen. Moreover, after college, I moved in Canada. Nonetheless, I am acquainted with the realities of the borderlands. As an immigrant, I have lived and experienced the borderlands on a regular – if not daily – basis. As a person of color, I am often made to feel that the spaces I inhabit are not made for me. You don't look white, where are you from? Everywhere I have pitched my tent has become a borderland. My many visits to the U.S.-Mexico borderlands – in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California – confirm my status as a creature of the border. A creature abreast of the strangeness of longing for a home sin fronteras, while straddling two spaces – two cultures seemingly at odds. Pero no soy de aquí, ni de alla. I am not fully de este lado. I've never lived or belonged del otro lado. All I know is that I am a stranger. You have an accent, where are you from? I concur with Gloria Anzaldúa's assertion in her book Borderlands / La Frontera: identity is a state of soul not of mind or of citizenship. Nonetheless, both mind and citizenship afflict the soul.