Spotlight: Daniel Borzutzky and Chilean Culture

This semester I have been taking the US Latino & Hispanic Literature and Culture course taught by Dr. Kristin Dykstra. I have been introduced to many writers such as Ramón Emeterio Betances, Francisco Gonzalo, Lola Rodríguez de Tió, Bernardo Vega, Adelina Otero-Warren, and countless other amazing writers and artists. I have learned so much about the Latino and Hispanic history, which is in fact a big part of US history. I’ve also learned just how little our society acknowledges this fact. I am guilty of knowing little about their culture and history, as well as believing some of the stereotypes portrayed in our media and films. Recently we started working on a unit of works by Daniel Borzutzky. Borzutzky uses his poetry to portray what life is like in Chilean communities throughout the US. He shows his reader the depth of their suffering and mistreatment at the hands of our own society. Like the rest of the Latino community, the Chilean people are treated as products that were imported and exported whenever big corporations wanted. Don’t even get me started about their occupational wages. There isn’t much to say as they are non existent, unless you consider $2 a day to be a reasonable wage. If so, you may exit quietly.


I think the real problem in the US is that people don’t even think there is a problem. If a problem is not happening within one’s socioeconomic status, it’s as if it is a made up fairytale. Now more than ever in our country, it is important that we have a cohesive respect and understanding for one another so we are not torn apart. I don’t mean just saying ‘Hi’ passing by one other (but you should still do that), I mean really sitting down and reading and learning about all the different cultures and people around you. You will find such beauty and truth among these writers and artists that I myself wished I was exposed to long before my Freshman year of college. The time for change in our society is now and it starts by putting down the phone and the Juul and picking up a book, a newspaper, or even a conversation with your peers. It’s time to fill in the holes of our history books in our society and stand proud of our diversity. We need to stand united so that no one will ever have to question their worth or suffer at the hands of misrepresentation.





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