Power and standards: An emerging culture on the border and lost in translation

Rina Cecilia Grijalva, University of Texas at El Paso


Ralph Waldo Emerson noted "[o]ur modes of Education aim to expedite, to save labor, to do for masses what cannot be done for masses, what must be done reverently, one by one." In a culture as diverse as the American culture, this mode of education Emerson pointed out is problematic because it assumes that all individuals are the same. The standards of education are intended to help create the same education for individuals who are different. It does not account for aspects such as differing backgrounds, socio-economic status, culture or language. ^ In the border area of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico this becomes even more troubling as different cultures mix, intermingle, merge, and form a new emerging culture. The emerging culture on the border becomes faced with the task of passing a test and meeting standards that do not account for the unique eccentricities, gifts, and language of the culture. Instead, it must attempt to cross the border of its own identity to pass a test, meet the standards, and succeed in a burgeoning economy. The standards become a power and force the emerging culture to learn a new linguistic code and abandon its own, if only to succeed in society. The culture then becomes a kind of chameleon, owning neither one culture nor the other, and having no single linguistic identity, and therefore being lost in translation. ^

Subject Area

Education, Language and Literature|Education, Bilingual and Multicultural

Recommended Citation

Grijalva, Rina Cecilia, "Power and standards: An emerging culture on the border and lost in translation" (2007). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1449741.