“No Longer the Other”

Analyze the Poem
“Child of the Americas”

©1996-2013
womeninworldhistory.com

Objectives:

 •  recognize concerns of people of mixed heritage

 •  honor social diversity


 1)  Read the following quote by Wendy Willow, an American of mixed heritage, from her essay
     “No Longer The Other:

“There are millions of people of mixed heritage who have spent the majority of our lives as the quintessential ‘other’ in society. Not fitting into either of our parents’ cultural, racial or ethnic definitions we straddle the chasm that marks the two worlds to which we will never really belong...”

   Ask:

 •  Who might call themselves a person of mixed heritage? (Ethnic, racial, religious, national mixes?)

 •  Why do you think Wendy believes that mixed heritage people have trouble belonging to “two worlds?”


 2)  Read the following poem “Child of the Americas” by Aurora Levins Morales aloud, or students to
     themselves.

 Follow Up. Ask:

 •  What does it mean, “I was born at the crossroads?”

 •  Is she proud of her identity? Why?

 •  Does she represent the identity of the future?

 •  can anyone here claim “mixed hieritage?” (religious, ethnic, other cultural criteria?)

Students make up poem or short story about themselves - their cultural/ ethnic identities.

(find complete essay “No Longer The Other” on International Museum of Women website:
http://www.imow.org:80/wpp/stories/viewStory?storyId=1609


Child of the Americas
by Aurora Levins Morales*

(Note: the Taino were native peoples in the Caribbean islands who were decimated through war and disease with the arrival of Europeans. Spanglish is use of Spanish words mixed with English - used when speaking).

I am a child of the Americas,
a light-skinned mestiza of the Caribbean,
a child of many diaspora, born into this continent at a crossroads.
I am a U.S. Puerto Rican Jew,
a product of the ghettos of New York I have never known.
An immigrant and the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants.
I speak English with passion: it’s the tongue of my consciousness,
a flashing knife blade of crystal, my tool, my craft.

I am Caribeña, island grown. Spanish is my flesh,
Ripples from my tongue, lodges in my hips:
the language of garlic and mangoes,
the singing of poetry, the flying gestures of my hands.
I am of Latinoamerica, rooted in the history of my continent:
I speak from that body.

I am not African. Africa is in me, but I cannot return.
I am not taína. Taíno is in me, but there is no way back.
I am not European. Europe lives in me, but I have no home there.

I am new. History made me. My first language was spanglish.
I was born at the crossroads and I am whole.

*Aurora Levins Morales writes for those struggling to find their identities and their voices - and speaks on issues pertaining to history and the multicultural experience.


Link Back to the Essay:  Crossing Cultural Borders

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